Showing posts from February, 2014

nap in peace, tracy kaply

1. homie down There was a girl in my high school Spanish class, Jayne Milton, who was always running out of class in tears, often about some boy. I found it kind of braggy, like she was trying to show everyone how exciting her life was. I was always the Quiet Girl with nothing going on. Until I became the Jayne Milton of P&W’s California office and discovered that being the Drama Girl is no picnic either. Apologies to Jayne Milton and to Jamie. I wanted to work at Homeboy partly because it’s a place where even the hardest and quietest people cry, and it’s okay. But I was also hoping that I could take a long hiatus from Jayne Milton theatrics. Then I got Sizzle ’s email, subject line “news.” Tracy passed away. Her brother called me today to tell me her parents found her in her bed this morning. This Tracy . Photo by Robert, known on Tracy's blog as The Hotness. And even though she blogged on this blog about having terminal diseases, I thought they were t

magnetic poetry, zine fest-style

I spent a piece of Sunday afternoon at L.A. Zine Fest, primarily at the urging of Brodie and his friends, a cadre of friendly ladies with punk hair and vintage clothing. It occupied a big garage/warehouse-type space at the Helms Bakery Building, and it was a little overwhelming. I’m not well versed in the zine world, and I wanted to read everything with a funny title or a cute cartoon on the cover or an interesting binding or a friendly person selling it. Which is to say, pretty much everything. That would have made it easy to get a kind of quick, general shot of inspiration and leave having purchased nothing. But I reminded myself that staying part of the literary community means diving deep and being at least a little bit extroverted. So I made my rounds and ended up with a handful of awesome-seeming zines. Aurora Lady's zine from Fair Dig Press . I heard her read Wednesday night, and she was funny and vulnerable and great. Because I like to draw, I am so tempted to

desire as victimless crime

1. swimming with sharks When I was a camp counselor, we had to pass a swim test in order to get a wristband that would allow us in the deep end of the pool. I dog-paddled the length of the pool sloppily and then treaded water for five full minutes. I got my wristband. I was proud of myself for being less tired than the counselor who chain smoked. So Diana Nyad—the woman who swam from Cuba to Florida on her fifth try, at age sixty-four—and I don’t have a ton in common. But I cried when I read this part of Ariel Levy’s New Yorker profile of her: “My journey now is to find some sort of grace in the face of this defeat,” Nyad told an audience a month after her third failed attempt. “Sometimes if cancer has won, if there’s death and we have no choice, then grace and acceptance are necessary. But that ocean is still there. I don’t want to be the crazy woman who does this for years and years and tries and fails and tries and fails, but I can swim from Cuba to Florida and I will swi

who is your rival who doesn’t know they’re your rival?

I’m sitting at Swork right now, trying to start Draft 3 of my YA novel. The good news is that my agent liked Draft 2 and gave me some good notes, and Swork has almond milk. The bad news is I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write. Maybe the new job is filling my brain with Grant Voice, or maybe I’ve just been in nonfiction mode for too long. To get some of the right kind of voice in my head, I Googled Andrea Seigel, whose blog and novel The Kid Table are wry and well observed. I think I’m aiming for a voice adjacent to hers. I hoped she had a short story or something online to get me started. Once I saw her and her cute BF in South Pasadena while I was on my way to a particularly grueling couples therapy session. That was a bad idea. Because what I found instead was this interview , in which she discusses her anxiety about growing old alone and childless while engaged and pregnant. She says: Our discussion about the baby, was “Maybe we should stop using protection.

it hasn't come to jalapeño poppers yet, or: what i read in december and january

The other day a Facebook friend of mine posted that she was excited for the lunar new year because she needed a do-over on her resolutions. I’m always angling for the same. I’ve been doing okay with my resolutions (although how can it be time to wash my car again ALREADY?), but January left me ragged and exhausted. With my brain attending to two different jobs—and certainly not my writing—I had newfound sympathy for AK, who’s been dividing her time between her paying gig and her therapist hours for almost two years now. I experienced that constant shifting of worlds when I was a working grad student, and it’s a bit of what I was getting at with The Commuters, but back then I had more energy and lived off jalapeño poppers from Jack in the Box.   I think jalapeño poppers might be some kind of official rock bottom in the self-care department. Official handing-off of P&W office keys to new assistant Brandi. Jamie put together a lovely sendoff for me on Wednesday, with as m