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 one-lane road in the blue evening in Tennessee. A crescent moon hangs high in the sky. A porch light shines mid-foreground.

On my residency in Tennessee.

Last month I attended my first in-person writing residency in Knoxville, Tennessee. On my way out the door, I told my spouse that I wasn’t interested in updates while I was away. During the few trips I took pre-pandemic, I would begrudgingly spend an hour on the phone listening to him detail the minutiae of what chores were completed, which kids had a tantrum, and other everyday mundanities. Now it was my first time out of the house in over a year and the thought of these calls strummed the thick bands of tension around me. I didn’t care what happened while I was away, short of death or explosion. I didn’t want anything to detract from the little sliver of freedom I was claiming for myself.

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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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Person wearing a golden yellow sweater holding a bunch of sunflowers

On Leaving Some Things for Yourself

This is the third draft of this blog post.

Halfway through the first, I realized it was getting a bit too personal and its proper place was in the journal I have yet to write in since late September. The second draft turned into a great essay idea for a parenting journal or magazine.

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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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