A view of the woods and hills in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Lush green leaves frame the photo and there is a rolling field of grass, which ends in tall green trees.

On balancing isolation and community

Last month I took a trip to Arkansas for a writing residency.

The thing about writing residencies is that you’re often in community with other writers while there. You share living quarters or a common area. You attend each other’s workshops and public readings. You bump into each other while navigating the town surrounding your residency space.

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A swath dried flower heads and tan, brittle petals.

On Accepting Rejection

As I write this, I am waiting for resolution. That is: final judgment on a residency application, judgment on a fellowship application, a response from a literary agent, and the reveal of a major publication. All of these should be coming to some sort of conclusion within a few weeks. Even though I have a rough idea of the timeline, I still feel as if I may fall apart while I wait. There is so much to lose.

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On What to Do Next

During a job interview in 2015, my future manager asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I gave a detailed answer that demonstrated my ambition and familiarity with the job’s hierarchy, but basically I said I wanted to be an editor in their department. Truthfully, I wanted to be an editor elsewhere. Perhaps for a magazine or website where I could mentor others and have more editorial freedom. I achieved that in 2019 (The Tishman Review) and then again in 2020 (Linden Avenue Literary Journal). And now in 2021, I am an editor again three times over (Raising Mothers, wigleaf, and Shenandoah). It’s like I hit the bell and then kept ringing it.

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Shadows of flower bouquets cast on a white door.

On Inhabiting Uncertainty.

As 2020 wound to a close, I had hoped to write an end-of-the-year sendoff that would propel myself and you into the future on an upswelling of hope. But I didn’t because I was exhausted by the unrest and calamity from the year. It was impossible to assemble words together with any relative meaning when the future seemed more uncertain than it had ever before. So, I waited for the new year to guide me.

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Photo of a prickly pear cactus

On Making Space for Joy and Pain

Before heading to bed last night, I read a tweet from comedian Ron Funches that said: “Am I still allowed to tweet about wrestling or am I supposed to remain terrified 24 hours a day. It’s difficult to know right now.”

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On…Just a Few Words

This year’s events have wrecked my creative thought. Writing is labor most times, and my words are cinderblocks that I heave from my tongue. All that is to say, I have mangled many a blog draft and conversation these past few weeks trying to say something like it had to be magical.

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