Pitching and writing and impostor syndrome, oh my!

How pitching an article works.

Step 1: Have a thought.

Oh! That would make a really good blog entry or article or something. Let me make a note of that to myself for later.

Step 2: Evaluate that thought.

What’s this note? Huh. I thought that was a good idea? I guess it’s OK. I’ll come back to it.

Step 3: Research.

Didn’t someone else write a thing about this? Let me check. Quick! To the Googlemobile!

Step 4: Outline? Maybe? Mostly just sitting on it.

I should start off talking about the beginning. Or maybe I’ll just play a video game. Yea, let’s do that.

Step 5: Fight with impostor syndrome.

Ugh. What was I thinking? This idea is terrible. Everyone else has better thoughts and words and ideas and notions than I do. What made me think that I could get anyone to read this? What a boob I was back one or two days ago. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Step 6: Pitch work somewhere while impostor syndrome is distracted.

Fuck you, impostor syndrome. This idea is pretty great and I just emailed it out! Muahaha! Take that!

Step 7: Become overcome with impostor syndrome once again.

It’s like it somehow knows that I snuck an idea out past it. The uncertainty! The suffering! Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Step 8a: Pitch accepted.

Oh. I guess I was right. It was a pretty great idea.

Step 8b: Pitch rejected.

Resume process from step 5.

Next time: The tyranny of the blank page.

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a galaxy that’s full of dust and light

a galaxy that’s full of dust and light
whole worlds concocted from another’s detritus
and man, so small, eyes closed against the night

a collapsing star, a chasm built in space
bodies far bigger than the mind can hold
a galaxy that’s full of dust and light

the solemn edge of routine morning coffee
an afternoon commute, traffics frustration
and man, so small, eyes closed against the night

the footprints of ancient giants, gods almighty,
crafting universal causeways with a gesture
a galaxy that’s full of dust and light.

the incessant, tender buzz of summer insects,
the long awaited smile of a friend,
and man, so small, eyes closed against the night.

the pure attraction of a sheltering sky
its depth, an inescapable allure
a galaxy that’s full of dust and light
and man, so small, eyes closed against the night

Winter Moon

She mounts the heavens nightly in the cold.
In her curving orbit stately, ancient grace.
She eradicates the day, brings forth the night.

I never feel so loved as in the night.
Surrounded by her light, her gaze so cold,
the stars surrounding her with twinkling grace.

No lovers could compare to her in grace,
the way she carves out pathways in the night
and bathes me in her nimbent light, so cold.

Cold and full of grace, the moon appears
and guides me gently through each winter night.


Featured image found here.

On the Revisiting of Feelings

Every once in a while, someone from my past will creep up into my mind and I will find myself scouring the internet for references to them.

Where are you working now?

Who are you loving?

The question that I always want to answer is a simple one.

Did I matter?

I find myself poring over the faces of people they have chosen in the years intervening. In the parenthetical space between knowing and unknowing. In the time it takes for a person to become emotional research rather than emotional expenditure.

There is a dusty old feeling to this motion. This knee jerk response. Something in my emotional DNA. Like whales migrating, I walk the pattern that is the cyclical absence and return of thoughts and feelings.

You come to mind.

I Google you.

I look at old pictures that show up. Sometimes I’m in them. I reflect on whatever masochism drew me to do this to myself.

I think about who I was when I was with you. I wonder who the people you are surrounded by are. What they are like. I wonder about the person you are loving the most. How they shift and change themselves to fit into the nooks and crannies of you that always need filling. How they pour themselves over the mold made of your flaws.

Do they thrill you?

Are you happy?

I worry my old loves like old wounds. Bruises that never get the chance to heal because of continual pressure. Blood that never dissipates. Scars that never lose their angry redness.

After I have looked at the last public picture. Perused the last blog entry or Facebook status, I sit back. I log out. And I let you fade.

Sometimes that makes the bruises look less angry. Sometimes the opening of old wounds relieves the tension.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

My questions never get answered, no matter the case. I want to know if I mattered. And I know it’s irrelevant. I know that, in the years that have passed between the first uttering of that question and this last riotous uprising, all the weight of whether I mattered has gone out of the question.

But I want to know.

So, when the mood strikes, I Google you. I search. And I find. And I wonder.

Love in a Time of Bleeding

I think I must be lucky
as you lay me down
blankets soft and warm
eyes heavy.
Our dog breathing in
the space between us.
I will not feel it
when you come to bed
hours later, or minutes,
I’m never sure.
But I will wake
in the night
and you will be there,
as you always are.
Soft and warm
hands reaching out for me.

I think I must be lucky
as you feed me.
Turning out healthy food
in our small kitchen.
Dragging me into a world
full of flavor.
Sometimes I want to buy you
a chef’s hat. And I know
that you would wear it
at an angle, jaunty,
dapper, as you feed me.
Feed my heart alongside
my stomach. Feed my joy.

I think I must be lucky
as you take my hand
beneath the din of the city
and lead me on adventures.
As we enter new dance floors
discover strangers and cocktails,
bar rooms and restaurants,
craft shows and wineries.
My gorgeous sojourner.
I see the eyes that
follow you, as I once
followed you. I smile
in the faces of those admirers.
They so wish they were me.
But I am me. And I know
I am lucky
every time you grace me
with your kisses
every time you show me
I am loved.
I know.

Pet Poetry

I have been writing a lot of things that are not this thing lately. And I feel kind of guilty about that.

Mostly what I’ve been doing is working on a new project over on Instagram. It’s called Pet Poetry and I’m pretty excited about it. I had been writing pet poems to myself for a while, but now I’ve got people submitting photos of their pets for me to write about. It’s super fun!

Here’s the installment from this morning:

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The poem that accompanied it:

From time to time
the servants
bring me food.
They bedeck me in
flowers of unknown origin.
They bring me meat
hewn from the flesh of my enemies.

From time to time
I deign to let them
scratch me behind my
delicate ears.

It’s good to be the queen.

What’s crazy is that the photo from today was submitted by a person I don’t know at all. We weren’t connected on social media or through meatspace in any way before I created my new twitter account for this project. She found me through there, submitted a photo of her lovely Princess Yumi, and I wrote her a poem.

I feel like I might be on the cusp of something kind of big with this project. My friends are all raving about it. And I feel super good doing it, more importantly. I have 9 submissions in my que already, with 4 poems written for them.

I’m loving doing this. I hope it gets as big as people seem to think it will. I would love to make it into a book or something, when I have enough poems brought together.

Between the pet poetry thing and the gaming book I am working on, blogging has taken a back seat for the past week. Which I’m super bummed about. I have some drafts of blog entries and I promise to pump out more content this week, regardless of my poetry demands. I at least want to do a couple of things for Yeah, Write, which I have also been falling behind on.

Ah, the life of a budding writer. I feel like I’m too creative for my own good at this point. Like there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to get the writing done that I want to get done. Which is a weird thing to me. I’ve never been this productive before. Maybe I was just focusing my attention in the wrong directions, up until now.

So yea, this has been my most rambling blog entry ever? Sorry about that. I’ll get more on point soon. Promise.

Dear Writers: Monogamy is Boring

Ok, not entirely. But hear me out.

I’ve been watching Scandal on Netflix. Binge watching season four. Without giving away any real spoilers, one of the chief issues dealt with by Olivia Pope in the show is how to choose between Guy #1 and Guy #2. No matter what else is going on in the show, the pressure to make That Choice is omnipresent. When she is on the phone with one guy, you wonder why she didn’t call the other guy.

At one point during this past season she announced that she wasn’t going to chose. She was going to be free. She was going to dance. And Guy #2, who was there with her at the time, could either dance with her or get the hell off her dance floor.

I admired her in that moment. Of course, with three seasons already under my belt, I knew that her refusal to make a choice wouldn’t last long.

And it didn’t. Within a few episodes we were back in Choice territory.

I have a couple of feelings about this. The chief feeling among them is that I’m sick and tired of that story arch of That Choice between one partner or another being used over and over again. It’s played out. I am no longer invested in it. I do not give a single solitary fuck which person’s genitals you decide to play with forever, Protaganist. There is nothing less interesting to me than That Choice. I think that limiting characters to monogamous relationships makes it so that choosing on partner as opposed to another is almost inevitable. I could list a gagillion shows and books and movies that do just that. But instead, I’m going to talk about one that doesn’t.

Lately I’ve been watching Wentworth. I talked about it in a blog entry last month. One of the things I have realized that has been so refreshing in that show is the sparsity of romance. Franky Doyle fucks a couple of people, yes. There is sex in the show. There is even a mini love story between an inmate and another person. But there is not, among the main characters, a distracting and overwhelming story arch involving That Choice between one person and another. And the lack of that particular trope is glorious. It is entirely freeing to see characters passing across the screen with motivations almost entirely separated from those of romantic love.

And honestly, who needs more of that story line, anyway? I’ll give you the run down. It goes something like this:

Oh, I have to Choose. I’ll Choose this person.

Oh no! It didn’t work out! I wonder if I can still have my Fallback person?

Oh no! Fallback doesn’t want me! And now I’m sad and my life is over because romance is the Only Thing That Matters and the people I want to fuck won’t talk to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

*cries forever*

Fucking. Yawn.

Another aspect of That Choice is the tired leaning upon of monogamy as the only form of romantic attachment.

It should be said that yes, I am monogamous. I have also had non-monogamous relationships. Monogamy works better for me. But how amazing would it be to see a triad play out on screen? A relationship that contained more than the usual two people looking to each other at the exclusion of all else? Even if it wasn’t a major plot point, it would be delightful to see different relationship models play out on television.

Of course, being in a non-monogamous situation would be pretty novel. As a major point of plot, it would bring up all kinds of interesting conversations and situations for the characters to work through. If they live in a small town, things could get interesting when people wind up becoming interested in the partners of other people they are close with. Clear and honest conversation could be a serious thing that characters need to learn and exhibit. I mean, the topics and plot lines that open up are endless. For me as a viewer, the idea of this gets me excited. Because honestly? I am tired of being able to predict all of a character’s choices from the jump based on some writer’s use of Every Trope That Ever Was.

As a writer… the possibilities for my characters that arise simply from me opening their relationships interesting ways excites me more than words can really express.

But Hollywood? TV people? Get on this shit. Because the stories that surround monogamy and the choices that surround it really aren’t interesting anymore.

Censorship, the New Statesman, & Loving Complicated Things

I used to joke when I was younger that all of the things that I love have something like one degree of separation from each other. When I stop to think about it, it turns out that the whole flow chart of my fandoms centers on one dude: Neil Gaiman.

When I try to explain it I wind up sounding like a rambling lunatic, so here’s a quick flow chart I did on computer paper to make sense of it if you’re interested.

You see, Neil Gaiman was best friends with Tori Amos and they include nods to each other in their art. And Neil also wrote an episode of B5 for Straczynski when he swore no one else would. And he's friends with Amano who drew for FF and he did the English translation for Mononoke Hime and... you get the idea. You see, Neil Gaiman was best friends with Tori Amos and they include nods to each other in their art. And Neil also wrote an episode of B5 for Straczynski when JMS swore no one else would. And he's friends with Amano who drew for FF and... you get the idea.
You see, Neil Gaiman was best friends with Tori Amos and they include nods to each other in their art. And Neil also wrote an episode of B5 for Straczynski when he swore no one else would. And he’s friends with Amano who drew for FF and… you get the idea. 

Anyway, for years I joked about my one degree of separation with all of these wonderful humans and then, a few years ago, the whole thing got even more complicated when Neil Gaiman married Amanda Palmer. Because the conjunction of the two of them drags in a whole other slew of artists from Palmer’s fabulous (and wide!) circle of people. So now my flow chart is basically undrawable? But that’s a good thing.

Amanda has had a rocky go of the media generally. From the overwhelmingly criticized success of her Kickstarter back in 2012 to her marriage to Gaiman and her badly received Poem for Dzhokhar, she has caught hell basically every time she turns around in the world.

I, personally, have always found her to be a beautifully genuine person. As well as complex and problematic one. But who among us isn’t problematic, right? I don’t really think that the things we love should be things that we do not also feel free to criticize. It has always been my motto that you cannot truly say you love something unless you feel like you can poke it until it cries (I would be a great roast host!). And I stick to that belief. The world is a problematic place. And nothing in it is ever going to be 100% fine and acceptable.

I am totally open to criticism of things that I enjoy. I have heard it said of Gaiman in that he tends to write from the perspective of white everymen. I have heard that Amanda is a narcissist. There is some truth to both of those things – and more, I’m sure – about these two people who I admire. But there is some serious beauty that has come out of this pairing, not the least of which being their artistic collaborations. Their Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer tour was brilliantly conceived and the recording of it is just… a delightful way to spend several hours. It’s not something that Neil would have done without Amanda. And it remains one of my favorite ideas of ways to spend time with an artist or a pair of artists.

This past week, Neil and Amanda guest edited an edition of The New Statesman. The idea that they decided to tackle was “The Unsayable.” They asked artists and writers and critics for their thoughts on what they are not allowed to talk about and received really interesting responses.

The topics that arose ranged greatly in scope. Stephen Fry talked about legalizing drugs and the continued strife in Israel and Palestine. Erika Moen spoke out about the ways in which progressives dogpile on one another when we make mistakes. Laurel K. Hamilton talked about her polyamorous relationships. Some of them I had difficulty agreeing with, while others seemed so vital. And that’s the thing about the Unsayable Thing, it is Unsayable because you cannot predict the reaction of the public. It is Unsayable because you do not know whether you will be censured for it. There are times when saying the Unsayable Thing means that you will be shouted down by those around you. And then there are times when saying the Unsayable will lead to an ocean of “yes” that lifts you up above the morass of chatter around you and validates everything that you have been feeling.

One example of an Unsayable Thing that resonated deeply with me was by Rose George, a British writer and author of “The Big Necessity” and “Deep Sea and Foreign Going.”

…For something so red and vivid as menstrual blood, it is very, very quiet.

Behind the silence where menstruation lives are some other figures: the 23 per cent of girls in India who leave school at puberty because they have no toilet or privacy; the countless rags, newspapers, straw, dried leaves, ash or old socks that girls use because they can’t afford sanitary pads; the girls who prostitute themselves for sanitary protection (it’s called “sex for pads”); the many schoolgirls who start bleeding and think they are dying because they have been told no differently.

Menstrual Hygiene Day is 28 May: laugh at that, by all means. At least laughter is noise. The quiet has gone on too long.

For me, and for many women living in countries where our menses are at least somewhat acceptable if still broadly shamed, speaking out about the realities of what happens to our bodies in the process of menstruation is a topic we can easily embrace. But it is one that is hugely taboo to talk about openly with anything resembling joy or directness. I, personally, have had a complicated relationship with my period. But that is a topic for another time.

I think that the conversation about what is taboo to discuss is a deeply important one. What we consider off limits and what we are afraid to speak of are vital parts of who many of us are as artists and writers and people moving through shared spaces. I think the fear of retribution and censorship is a very real fear. And I think that having these conversations in a safe space like the one that Gaiman and Palmer created in the New Statesman is a great way to generate those conversations and to work through our fears of speaking difficult things aloud.

Like the topic of Unsayable Things, Neil and Amanda remain complicated, problematic people. But I love them anyway. Or love them because of their complications and their problems. Which is really why I love anyone. Or anything. Because nothing is perfect. And I truly believe that what they add to the world is big and important and, for the most part, good.