Outstanding submission: 17
Rejections: 1, personal
I received a really nice, really personal rejection from Puerto Del Sol. It is always nice to see an acknowledgment that my work has been read and considered by a human. The phrases “great intensity” and “impressive style” were used and let’s face it. I love compliments so I will be sending them more when submissions re-open.
You may notice I take a lot of pictures. I do so because I’ve lived through some hard things and the past few years have been the best of my life and I don’t want to forget any of it. I’m going to brag now.
On Friday I received a little recognition from the university and was named a woman of promise (?!) and there was a fancy luncheon and I got a gift bag. The gift bag is cute but I forgot to take a picture of it. Trust me on this. The food was, of course, terrible. I pretended to be a vegetarian. I had to get my picture taken. I had to stand up in front of a room full of strangers so that was pretty traumatizing. I got through it by thinking about my cute gift bag and how excited I was to get home and see what was inside. I didn’t want to be tacky and do that like right there in front of everyone. As I sat through the lunch and then lots and LOTS of talking, I kept thinking, maybe there’s something magical inside that bag. Maybe there’s a little tiny baby inside that bag. Maybe there’s money in that bag. You will be sad, perhaps, to know that inside the bag was a program, some promotional items from the university like a pencil, a very nice glass object that I will use as a paperweight in my new job and a university-branded water bottle that I will use at the gym. Below you will see the empty room. We were all standing awkwardly in the corner waiting to be told what to do.
Below is what I ate for lunch. The theme was Asian cuisine, approached with a broad, industrial culinary stroke. It was sad. You can’t see my face here, but after I took this picture, I dejectedly moved food around the plate and thought that this was good for my weight loss project. I mean really. The food had a disconcerting gray pallor to it.
I was cheered by tulips.
For dessert, we were served a mystery substance. I was very frightened by this. I asked the professor sitting next to me, who is on my committee, “What is this?” There may have been panic in my voice. I worried that the substance might morph into a terrible alien creature and attack us. Then I poked at it with a spoon. It was cold and congealed and shifted slightly when it came into contact with pressure.
I eventually learned that it was some kind of sorbet. Terrifying.
The luncheon itself was quite nice. A bunch of fantastic alumnae who have accomplished awesome things where inducted into the President’s Alumni Council and then the women of promise students were recognized and we got certificates. Academia loves to bestow certificates. You are excellent! Here is a piece of paper to commemorate that excellence! I keep all mine in a folder not because I don’t care but because I don’t want to be obnoxious and get them all framed. I have a mother for that sort of thing. In all seriousness, I was very honored to be recognized. Only one person from every department is selected. I felt special on Friday. I’m not done bragging, I’m afraid.
That night, my department chair and his wife threw a lovely reception for the five of us in our program who are completing our PhDs this semester and moving on to tenure track positions this fall. Look at this fancy spread in their terribly fancy home.
I am, believe it or not, a very picky eater so I murmured pleasantly and just admired the display and thought about hotdogs. The universe was determined to make me lose 7.1 pounds that day and it’s for the best.
We are blissfully removed from lots of nonsense up here in the UP but the Tea Party has managed to find us up here in the North Woods. The good thing about this sign, I suppose, is that all the words are spelled correctly.
The books I ordered from AWP finally arrived, my having shipped them. I am pleased but have had not the time to really enjoy my loots. See how I pluralized loot? That’s a quirk I get from my parents who butcher English in ways that keep my brothers and I endlessly amused–I mean, we’ve basically re-enacted my dad’s NPR interview about 511 times. My dad calls rubble rubbles so now I try to pluralize everything. LOOTS.
Ummm, how cute is that bag, for reals? PLURAL.
I was feeling pretty good over the weekend and J was craving something sweet and I was feeling like baking only I had to bake something I would not eat. I said, if I do this you have to worship me all week and do as I say and he said, how is that different from other weeks. Sassy. I made fudge. I admit I tasted it. It was awesome.
On Tuesday night, I taught my last class at MTU. Around half an hour before class one of my students stopped in and asked if she could borrow my key to get into the classroom. She wanted to just sit there and study quietly. I said sure, no problem. I continued grading until class time, gathered my belongings, and went to class where I saw my entire class, there, on time, in a room filled with balloons and cakes and cupcakes and other treats. They threw me a party, y’all. I was so shocked I had to excuse myself. I ran to my office, cried a little bit, grabbed my camera (of course!) and then we partied. I can complain with the best of them but at the end of the day, I am truly blessed. No matter how much I bitch, please know, I recognize my blessings.
So yeah, that happened. And it happened at the end of a really hard day when all I wanted was to do something violent or run into a wall or lose some teeth so it meant that much more. I’m still overwhelmed by the gesture and the elaborateness of the festivities and I’m humbled to know that maybe I’m a good teacher and make an impact once in a while. Seriously! They baked those cakes. They used fondant. They made little frosting flowers. OMG.
I have a story in Sententia #1. You should buy Sententia. The issue is stacked with talent including work from Mary Miller, who is like my favorite writer behind the woman of my dreams who is the alpha and the omega of my favorites. I would like to talk about this more but I don’t want to make things awkward. Just understand that there’s writer crushes and girl crushes and then there’s THIS and I’m all about THIS.
Here is an excerpt from my story in Sententia:
Ever. Happily. After.
This is a fairy tale. There is a princess who is not a princess but we will call her a princess because every fairy tale has a princess. Her name is Tanya. She’s the daughter of a mechanic and a housewife. She has two brothers and two sisters. She is the middle child. She works at the JC Penney’s hair salon. She has a pretty face. she is often told because she is pretty face fat, which is not to be confused with Discovery Channel fat, but she is large enough she can’t buy clothes at Old Navy. Tanya is not unhappy. She stands on her feet for eight, nine, ten hours a day listening to old women gum their way through their sentences because they left their dentures at home. She rolls their thin white hair with tiny rollers even though she thinks putting a perm in someone’s hair is a crime, a real fucking crime. Still. There’s not much she can do about it. Old women want what old women want, and at the JC Penney’s hair salon, they want their hair tightly coiled to their dry scalps so when they wake up after falling asleep in the oversized chairs in their living rooms, their hair still looks freshly done. Other women come to the salon too. They come to get their nails done or to get cheap A-line hair cuts or blow outs and it makes them feel, for an hour or two, like they’re not in a small town at the end of the world, which is the edge of Northern Michigan. The salon is brightly lit with shiny faux-marble floors and mirrors lining three walls and in the middle, rows of sinks abutted by hair dryers. There’s something fantastic about the lighting in the JC Penney’s salon—no matter what her physical flaws, the warm lights and the reflective surfaces make a woman glow and look like the most beautiful woman in the world.
This is a fairy tale. There is a prince who is not a prince but we will call him a prince because every fairy tale has a prince. His name is Elmer. He’s the son of a drunk and a coward but it could have been worse. That’s what Elmer tells himself when he thinks about his life. He works at Applebee’s and he loves his job. He tells himself that too because the work is steady and there’s free food to be had and because he has a small weed habit and his dealer lets Elmer pay for product with Applebee’s gift cards. The dealer, whose name is Tommy Tommy though no one knows why, loves Applebee’s because he sees the restaurant for what it is—a place where you can have microwave-prepared food brought to you. Tommy Tommy recognizes the hustle and he appreciates it. Elmer also loves his job because every time a member of the wait staff leaves the kitchen, they have to say, “walking out.” Elmer amuses himself by saying “walking out” in a different voice or intonation each time. This habit does not endear Elmer to his coworkers. Elmer has long hair. It is long and thick, hangs well past his shoulders. He is very proud of his hair. It makes him feel like an outlaw, especially when he’s biking to work on his ten-speed. When Elmer was in high school, he dated a girl named Cindy Daavettilla and she always tasted like mouthwash and even though she wouldn’t have sex with Elmer or even give him any head, she did brush his hair every afternoon after school. As she brushed his hair and worked product through the long locks she said, “No matter what happens between us, promise me you’ll never cut your hair.” Elmer’s heart pounded fiercely when Cindy said such things and the hairs on his arms stood on end. Her words sounded a lot like love so he promised and even after they broke up only seven weeks after they started dating, he continued to keep his word. Now, nine years later, Elmer’s hair is so long the weight of it makes his neck hurt, but he remembers Cindy sitting on the edge of his bed, his head in her lap, her skinny knees pressing against his shoulders. The memory of it makes the pain go away.