Of course I forgot to post in the month of January, when the hairline fissures in our universe began to widen into dark gaping crevasses, and freedom started to look like a quickly fraying thread. And politics turned to much more than just politics as usual, turned to a question of basic human rights. The right to exist. The right to be seen and heard. To sit at the table that belongs to anyone called human.
It’s strange: there’s one part in my book when everything in the world looks like it’s shattered, breaking apart. But it’s either magic or illusion or hallucination (the reader, I suppose, is the one to decide), and by the end it’s mostly fixed. I had no idea, back when I was writing those words, how things in the real world would feel in 2017. How badly I would long to fall into a fevered dream and wake up with it all restored.
These days I walk around sleep deprived (who can sleep when the world is breaking?) with a bright band of pain coiling tightly around my head. I wear it in the shape of a scowl, even when I don’t think I mean to be scowling. A few years ago I thought this same tension headache I had was brought on by a prescription medication I was taking for my stomach…but now I wonder if it all just comes down to stress. The weight of our shattered world, crushing us, crushing me–and I’m not even near the bottom of the pile.
I worked with that constant band of pain right through the latest round of revisions on my book, and sent the draft off to my editor in a haze of uncertainty. My brain was melting the sentences, my eyes couldn’t see the words well enough to sharpen them anymore, and I was beginning to doubt everything. Sometime next week I’m supposed to get notes back. I’m hoping this headache fades a bit before then.
Oh, I also finished my 300-hour yoga teacher training, and immediately dove into an aerial yoga teacher training. Anything to keep my body and mind occupied. Anything to help me grasp at a few more strands of hope.
This week I’m heading off to the AWP conference. This year it’s in Washington, DC, and god, was this not the mood I had expected when I was planning for this trip. I’d envisioned myself taking an extra day or two to visit museums, to stroll around imagining I could hear the crunch of a shattered glass ceiling beneath the heels of my boots. There were 65.8 million of us ready for that. And 65.8 million was not enough.
Here’s hoping that being surrounded by fellow writers for a few days will shake some optimism back into me.
I’m on two panels at AWP:
— So You’re a Writer Looking For a Publishing Day Job
Friday, 2/10/2017, 3:00–4:15pm
Supreme Court, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
with Sona Charaipotra, Rhoda Belleza, Preeti Chhibber, and Eric Smith
— The Book of Your Heart: Ignoring Market Trends and Writing the Novel Most Connected to You
Saturday, 2/11/2017, 4:30–5:45pm
Liberty Salon M, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
with Nova Ren Suma, Brandy Colbert, Bennett Madison, and Amy Reed
I’m also reading from my book for that second panel. I haven’t given a reading in a while so I’ve been practicing a bit, and it feels so strange: my own words heavy on my own tongue.
If you’re headed to the conference, I hope to see you there. Swing by the Bodega Magazine table (#447) at the bookfair and we can chat.