New poem, “Letter to the Editor,” in The New Yorker

I’ve got a poem, “Letter to the Editor,” in this week’s New Yorker. No one’s more surprised than I am.

You can read, and hear it, at this link.

When I was a kid, I’d lay under our dining room table and read The New Yorker. For a kid in a small southern town, it felt like a missive from outer space. Just the reviews of restaurants and films were overwhelming. Cuisines I’d never heard of, independent movies that never, ever came to my state. The magazine showed me there was a larger world, and yet, oddly, because it was so very foreign, I never thought I’d possibly be a part of it. And I suppose that’s played out, in that I never had a dream to run off to NYC and try to make it. But having a poem in the magazine — well, that feels even more improbable. I laughed out loud when I got the acceptance, because it was so very bizarre and unexpected.

Doing all the things like some kind of wizard

Oh god, the end is in sight! I’ve almost completed new syllabi for the coming term. It’s not as ironed out as I’d like, and maybe I don’t know what the final project is yet BUT it’s mostly laid out! It was a real challenge to try and figure out how much students could read a week of this material. I think I’m going to do a check in with them periodically to make sure it’s reasonable, since this is my first time teaching graphic novels. Still, I’m starting to get actually excited about the class rather than just hating my life, so that’s a positive!
I also just got back notes on a teaching article and it’s overall working! Yay! And I’m reviewing two books, of which I’ve read one and begun the review, and haven’t read the other yet (eep), both of which are due April 1. And screening for a contest.. and need to do taxes…..and…what was I thinking?!
Did I mention our spring break is inhumanely short?
Anyway, I’m hammering away at all of it, bit by bit. I’ve been using Trello the past few weeks and the GTD (get things done) method to keep on top of tasks and break them into smaller pieces — I really recommend this program, if you’ve never tried it.
Here’s a song that captures me working. I look just like this:

andrew bird and fiona apple? swoon

A new Andrew Bird track, featuring my girl, Fiona Apple.

Guys, I got my hair cut today. This wouldn’t be such a deal if it hadn’t been almost six months from my last haircut, and if I didn’t look so much like a witch of late. But now my hair is soft and swingy and pretty and I’m no longer fantasizing about hacking if off with a knife and stuffing it into a little doll of myself that I give to the first person I see on the street, yelling to them, “take it take it stuff it with pins!” See? Better.

Things I’ve been up to — oh, I’ve applied to ever so many grants, local, national, all of them. Ok, three. But it was a lot of work and I’m thanking past Becky for that because present Becky is giving the very idea side-eye.

I’ve been working on submitting work too, which is hard because I don’t have as much work as I’d like to send out. Which means I need to write more. Balancing a new job with creative output will be something for me to work on in the coming year, I see.

But, I got some pretty amazing news yesterday. The kind of news that warrants this:

(I did look for a cover, since my blog’s been a little Queen heavy lately, but it turns out no one does this song justice but them)

BUT I’m not going to tell you the news yet because SECRETS (no, it’s not a book). So stay tuned. You’ll know more in…ok, I don’t know. Months. Many or few. In the meantime, just drink in Freddie Mercury’s amazing outfit.

hop hop hop!

A lot has been going on! Did I tell you we lived in Illinois now? We live in Illinois, in a Chicago suburb actually. It’s hard to believe but we’re actually living in one of those towns that end up on all the 100 best places to live lists. And so far? It’s pretty great. Summer here was gorgeous and fairy tale like. Now it’s winter and  everything is white and sparkling. The slightly less beautiful part is that I have to shovel the drive and sidewalk on the morning.

Normally Mark takes care of those things, but he’s just had surgery and isn’t allowed to lift anything for six months. Having your partner have surgery is a great way to learn about just how much they do. You’ll definitely appreciate them afterward. On the plus side, I’m getting extra buff doing all these additional chores. 😉

I’ve been hard at work on The Manifesto Project with Alan Michael Parker. We’re deep in the nitty gritty of permissions and wrangling. It’s a lot but the end is near, I know it. This summer The University of Akron Press was cut by the University, and a number of authors and myself did everything we could to raise a ruckus about how wrong that was. You can read about that process here, in an article by Phillip Metres. It was a lot of work (I actually talked to the school administration on the phone more than once, which if you know anything about me, strangers, and phones, was a huge deal!), and exhausting and stressful, but of course even more so for the staff whose jobs were cut. It was incredible to see actual change come about through action.

I’ve got a new manuscript that I’m just starting to try sending out, which is a different kind of bravery for me. I think it’s good, and I hope someone else will think so too.

I’ve got some poems coming out too — Poetry took “The Good in the Evil World,” a new online mag called 45th Parallel took some work, as well as 32 Poems, and Upstreet. I’ll let you know more about those when they appear! I got nominated for a Pushcart, so fingers crossed. 😉