Friday, June 17, 2011
... but what I don't know and am too lazy to figure out is how to fix it. Sorry!
I am really going to miss editing the SHIT out of each other's words. If only our Hawaii Women's Journal authors could have seen the bloody mess we rendered onto each other's words, I think they might have felt better about the process. LOL!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
This is my second day in a row of involuntary morning pages. If it isn't my mom talking with her roommate out in the kitchen where I'm sure they don't know the sound gets sucked, osmosis-like, through the bedroom wall against which my head rests, it is the birds right outside my window, as insistent as cocks crowing or an alarm clock making its particularly bloody and stabbing noise. Another way to say it is if it isn't birdsong, it's mothersong. My airport-employee-grade earplugs seem to do nothing here.
Today it was the birds.
First, there was a soprano kind of bird, doing her trilling aria at top octave. I could nearly see this bird's braided blonde hair and viking helmet, her big bosom heaving.
Next up was a bird impersonating a frog with a low-pitched kind of croaking. But the croaking too was a song, and it did not apologize for its musical unconventionality or high volume.
The last was a warm rumble, like someone clearing his throat over and over again, but doing so while hitting actual spots on the musical scale.
It was interminable, insufferable. Mostly because my alarm was set for 7am, and the birds were going off at 5am. Maybe because I hadn't gotten to sleep till past midnight. Maybe because I am a total grump in the mornings.
It sounded more like cacophony than opera. A resented symphony. I was not charmed. I actually stood at the window, staring out into that gentle pale blue of dawn, hearing these individual voices, these soloists, as well as the twittering chorus backing them up, and tried: SHOOOOO! And when that didn't work, SHUTTHEFUCKUP!
The birds, though ... they were not moved.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Nothing is more TRIBE than when you are settling into the deliciousness of chewing on your friend's words/thoughts and writing back right when she is serendipidously doing the same for you.
While I wrote "Boxes and windows and doors" in response to Suz's "When one box closes," she was writing her post "Death by Pufferfish" about my Hunger Mountain publication.
What TRIBE means is that often warmhearted hilarity ensues.
Yesterday, my dear friend Suz, over at Cat Fidelity, wrote elegantly of the doings of the head and heart during times when many things seem to be ending. She writes:
It's complex, and since I haven't yet worked it through in language, I can feel it all pulsing through body parts. For example, I just washed my hands, and rather than press the soap pump with only enough power necessary to get some soap out, I jammed it down so hard the liquid Method spurted pretty far, like, all over my hair and dress. While bent over the sink rinsing soap from clumps of hair, I recognized what was going on. But I still don't really know what to make of it.
Man, do I feel her right now.
Hawaii Women's Journal is inching closer toward its final issue, although of course it's been such a long mourning period for me that I feel, in some ways, that it is already over. But the final issue is coming out this month, and I am sure I only think I have celebrated and mourned and when I see the final issue online, I will feel it all over again.
Then I just got news yesterday that another gig on which I collaborate, the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus newsletter, is having some staff-shifting, which seems to mean the end of the newsletter, at least in its current incarnation.
Add to all of this the fact that I am still home in Hawai'i, living this strange existence of being home but also being not-home at all. This is my home, I love it here, I breathe and write easier here. But my husband is not here, and my dog, and my books, and my things. Also, you know what else is not here? My solitude. It sounds spoiled and stuck-up to say I am overwhelmed by people, but there it is. There are just so many people. And I want to see them, and they want to see me, but I'm definitely rusty at it and have to sort of ramp up my courage, to try really hard not to let pauses sit awkwardly between us, and to not occasionally throw hissy-fits about not having the silence of real solitude, where no one is about to come home, you have no plans for days, and you can actually hear yourself think. Maybe the bad thing is not that I lack the solitude but that I've allowed myself to grow so rusty at being-with-people. I don't know. Everything is so confusing.
Because of course the other place my mind is going is that, yes, there are so many people and it's exhausting but also THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE and this is a lucky thing. I don't feel this yet about California. Everyone is exasperated when I say this, because it's only been eight months! I can't expect everything to align right when I say so. I can't expect to land and be surrounded by a community of like souls. I know, I know. It's OK to be exasperated with me, but then again you do know me and voluntarily come to this blog, so you must have known what you were in for. :)
But still, it's something to note that I allowed myself to forget: there are so many beloveds here. And the chance to meet or reconnect with so many more. For example: diaper-days reunion led to me seeing one friend I hadn't seen for years! We used to look like this:
But now we look like this:
And on another day, I met a brand-new friend--a friend of a friend--who wanted to pick my brain about editing. And it was one of those lucky instances where you are sitting with a stranger and they already feel like a friend. And it was such an honor to be asked to contribute my mana'o--albeit a little nerve-wracking to hope that I had something to offer. But boy, once she asked a few questions, she couldn't get me to shut up. I was filled with more tips about the editorial life than I even knew I knew. And it felt so right, it felt back to the best moments of HWJ, where I really felt the groove of right-place-right-time-right-everything.
Of course, I am always happy when something wonderful happens to me, like that unexpected gift of Hunger Mountain publishing "Death by Pufferfish," but I have to tell you what feels even better to me: feeling like I am contributing toward something else. As an astute hanai-sister of mine wrote recently about herself, as a child growing up in HYOC, I too was no soloist; I was happiest when being an integral member of the many necessary working parts of the chorus. And that's still the life I am trying to make for myself today. The dreams I had in my twenties of living in exciting cities of exotic countries far away have faded into the desire for connection, for roots, for real relationships with people with whom you can always share the truthiest truth about yourself ... and they don't run away. :) The dreams I had of fame and glamorous publication-cum-being-listed-at-Oprah's-Book-Club and making some top something under some age list has been replaced with the same desire for connection, for community. Not to be known for myself and my own accomplishments as much as to be known as a working part of projects toward which I contributed.
What all of this brings me to is windows and doors (or in Suz's parlance, boxes) and openings and closings. Although I do see the wisdom in getting paid for work, I also cannot help myself. For many reasons--the sanity of my head, the need of my heart, to avoid overfocusing/stressing about fertility bullshit--I need a different focus, reframing, projects, creativity, collaboration in my life--whether I am paid in dollars or just love.
So, close the HWJ door. And shut that HYOC newsletter window. I can promise you that despite all of that closing, my imagination will stay open, will find a way through.
Monday, June 13, 2011
File under "Published, YAYYY": my short story, "Death by Pufferfish," is now live at Hunger Mountain.
Here is the link to the short story, "Death by Pufferfish."
Here is the link to the author visit (interview).
I have talked before about why the publication of this story in this journal is so particularly thrilling, but I will say it again: I. AM. THRILLED.
Not least because the editorial process at Hunger Mountain is the kind that as an author I enjoy as well as the kind that as an editor I want to create and be a part of for other writers.* Now some may balk or disagree, but I strongly believe that the editorial process should be a collaboration of equal partners. Thrusting aside egos as much as possible, the point should always be: What is this work doing and saying? What is best for this work, not this author or editor? Hunger Mountain's fantastic editorial staff absolutely collaborates and makes the whole process both enjoyable and instructive.
In my case, I owe a heartfelt thanks to Fiction Editor Barry Wightman and Managing Editor Miciah Bay Gault for fantastic line edits; The Writing Life Editor Claire Guyton for guiding me through my Author Visit; Assistant Fiction Editor Ross McMeekin for laying it out and getting the links live and making it all looks so pretty!; and definitely and deeply to all the fiction readers on staff who ushered me through the gates rather than closing them. (Read about these awesome staffers here.)
* This is especially poignant right now as Hawaii Women's Journal draws nearer to its final issue, which will be released later this month. Collaboration was absolutely the project on which HWJ editorial staff embarked, and it is sad to lose that chance to work with others toward their own greatest greatness.