Sunday, April 30, 2017

my other baby

On Friday night I put the final period on my first novel. I have written a book. An entire book.

Three years in the making (but four months of highly concentrated working). This semester, I submitted fifty pages of my novel for each of my four packets. If you remember, last semester I only wrote eighty pages toward my novel. This semester, 200.

Part of what I'm paying for in pursuing my MFA is deadlines requiring me to write. I don't know how much I would've gotten done if I hadn't had to do it. And in not writing, thoughts I was having then would've been left out, things that were important to me. I would've written a different story, or never finished a story at all.

Steve has been calling me an author now which feels bizarre. A novelist. I think I can call myself either one, even if I'm not published (yet). I have put in the work. I have sweated my emotions and experience and thoughts out into words over many pages. I understand when people call things like this their "baby." There is a pride and joy in it, an I made that. 

With my final sentence, I finished the semester. I have a two month break from school that I will use to comb through this book, revise and edit it. Then I will have someone else do the same. And then I plan to start my second half of grad school with a story I am unwaveringly proud of. 

My thirties are teaching me that I am capable of more than I once believed.

Monday, April 24, 2017

whites in waves

All we do is hide away
All we do is chase the day
All we do is lie and wait
All we do is feel the fade

I can count on one hand the people I know who aren't fading. People who are vibrant: not resigning themselves hopelessly to roles and ruts, to pessimism.

In a longer video for this song, Oh Wonder asks filmmakers what it means to be human. One replies, "Find yourself, lose yourself, and then find others." I love that. That is what the story I'm writing is about. That's what I'm learning myself.

So I am trying to live the life I want, not the life I know. I am taking it one day at a time. I heard once acting brave is as good as being brave because in acting brave you actually become brave. So yesterday I lived a day as the person I want to be. And today I plan to live another like that. And in living days acting like the person I want to be, I will become that person.

All I wanna be is whites in waves

Thursday, April 20, 2017

oh hill

 Oops, I did it again.
That hill half marathon.

When I told my brother about it he said, "why did you do it again?"
I did it again because it is an amazing feat. An accomplishment. A real pushing-my-body-to-the-limit.

Steve did it with me this year. It was nice to have someone know the pain and agony but also the feat and the victory. 

And this year, although I was ten minutes slower, I placed third.
I'm a year older, I'm not training for a marathon.I'm more sleep-deprived. But I can still conquer that fucking hill. 24 times. But this year, I didn't go into work afterward. I took a bath and a nap.  Gotta know your limits. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

old mom

My little sister has birthed a baby.  
A little girl named Aviana Jaye. She is so tiny, so loud. 
 I never worried once about getting Baby Fever. Unless it is meant in the literal sense of a fever, accompanied by a headache and fatigue. Babies are not my jam. New moms have it really rough. Those first few weeks and months are pure hell. 
But being a relative is nice. A relative with her own house to retreat to, with a whole night to sleep through. 
My sister arranged a Sip n See--something like a viewing party of the new baby. It was a dry party, but somehow people still came. I don't know how moms manage without booze but apparently it is possible.
And even though I wasn't the focal point of this trip to Portland, I managed to still make it about me and drag everyone along with me to Powell's. I thought I was doing well, only carrying books: no cart, no basket. But I still managed to spend two bills. Me and bookstores don't mix. Or mix too well.
Amber and I walked around the mall and had puzzle races and played Sequence and got a little tipsy on screwdrivers made with the most disgusting ice cubes. So maybe moms can't actually manage without booze.
It was nice to be near my family again, these people who have always known me. From the airplane, I saw two rainbows. I told my sister it was my promise to never have a baby again. Literal Baby Fever and all that.
And I returned to my own two babies, bigger now, thankful that those baby days are behind us.
I am an old mom, not a new one.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Brandon Jude,

Somehow or another, five years have passed since the day you made me a mother. A different one this time: a mother with a child to care for.

You changed me, as I suppose everyone I know changes me, but in a different way. In a more intense, permanent way. You taught me sacrifice and patience (some - you're not a miracle worker). To love completely, to feel it back. To be stubborn, to give in. You reminded me of living in the moment, something I had lost. You replenished me.

Three years ago, when you became a brother, you showed me a new side of yourself. You are caring and kind and patient and helpful. You always pay attention to and take care of your brother, even when he hits or scratches you. You told me yesterday you will let me hug you until you become a daddy, but then I can't hug you anymore. You've always wanted to be a daddy. To take care of people.

On Sunday, we went to a birthday party for one of your preschool friends and Holden came along. You looked out for him, told everyone he was your brother. You danced with a girl, your girlfriend, you said. You are a popular boy with lots of friends and without an enemy. You are theatrical and happy, except when you're mopey and whiny. You feel intensely, not just with emotions, but with your senses too. Sometimes you can't stand the smell of your brother's sucker: you tell me your head will explode if I don't roll down the window.

You are a problem solver. Just today the doctor told you this monkey didn't work anymore, but you found the on switch and proved him wrong. You put together a complicated Lego dinosaur nearly all by yourself yesterday and you told me, "now that I'm five, I'm even smarter." You tell me how big your brain is getting inside your head. Your memory is uncanny. People marvel at all you know, even though they only know a sliver it. You help out around the house most of the time, but sometimes you say, "I just want to relax."

I feel you, kid: you and me both. I haven't relaxed since you were born, but I have hopes of it in the future. Because you are my oldest kid and you will help me out so I can relax. You will keep an eye on your brother and clean up messes and make me smile. You turned me into something I wasn't--a mother--and I know it is you that will allow me to slip back into myself along with this role I've never conquered.

I'm sorry I haven't been the best mother. It hasn't come natural for me. But as you say, "we can just try our best." That's what I've done. I've given you all I have to give. I know you will see that one day. You probably already do, with that big brain of yours. You are my sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you.