Showing posts from March, 2016

low residency

I’m writing this from the floor of the L.A. Convention Center, looking out on a grid of trade-show booths draped in teal nylon. The hall is full of people in interesting eyewear, wearing lanyards advertising the University of Tampa Low Residency Program. I wonder how many jokes have already been made about how minimal residency is the only kind you’d want to have in Tampa. This is AWP , a conference where introverts come to get drunk and hook up. Or so the party interns at Red Hen Press always claimed. I’ve been to two other incarnations of the conference, and I never ended up anywhere more exciting than the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, the year it was in Denver. I’m feeling overwhelmed, and excited, and a little bummed seeing all the presses I’ve never heard of, let alone sent a manuscript to, and sad about how much my so-called writing career has shrunk in the past couple of years. There is a panel here called something like “Everyone Else Belongs Here But Me: AWP a

we swam across a sea of snot, puke, tears and sticky medicine to arrive here

Yesterday was one of those days that left me wondering How did people ever cross the continent in covered wagons when giving my kid 5 mL of amoxicillin is taking every last ounce of mental and physical energy I have? How did they do it? They smelled bad and a lot of them died, that's how. Then I checked myself: Why do you think crossing dangerous territory with very few provisions is an old-timey thing, Cheryl? Hi, Syrian refugees. And the answer is what it always is: People do what they have to. At this moment, my “have to” isn’t the world’s biggest, or even close to the biggest in my own life, but it’s enough. Dash was sent home from daycare Tuesday afternoon with a low-grade fever. Even though he’s gotten approximately 400 colds since starting there almost a year ago, this was the first one he got sent home for. (I guess he usually gets sick on weekends and vacations, which is total parenting karma, since I was that kid who had perfect attendance during the sch

yay, it’s a they! (some thoughts on gender-neutral parenting)

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in internet groups devoted to progressive parenting. Sometimes I read and post comments when I should be actually parenting. Hi, irony. I’ve encountered a couple of moms who are raising their babies gender-neutral. I don’t mean that they dress their kids in yellow and let them play with whatever toys they like (spoons, ballpoint pens and live animals, in Dash’s case). I mean these families have avoided telling anyone whether their children are boys or girls, and they use the pronoun “they” instead of “he” or “she.” This white onesie is a completely non-gendered blank slate on which to smear bananas. My first response was to quietly roll my eyes. Why? Because it seemed straight out of Portlandia ? Because it seemed like a parenting project you would undertake only if you’d run out of regular projects, like feeding “them”? Because it seemed hopelessly contrarian and slightly immature? It does touch all those nerves for me, althoug