Friday, February 27, 2015

Never Email Unless You Are in a Hurry for Rejection

I emailed to ask if, although I knew, given the time that had past, that I hadn't won, to ask if I had. Never do that. They'll tell you 'no' and add a little extra information about how much they do not want you, just for you. Merely asking seems to tip the universe against your favor. You would think that perhaps you'd get points for being proactive: "Now here's a real go-getter." But you'd be wrong. You'd look like a sucker who spends too much time refreshing her gmail, which you are. 

But having internalized a solid 'no,' I have now moved on to thinking of the good week news. I have finally been published in a magazine you can get at the grocery store. Well, Whole Foods at least. This makes my day. Also, the piece is about my mom so my mom can get it at the grocery store. Well, Whole Foods.  You have to buy the magazine to read it, but I'm pretty happy to be all glossy-like. It's a short essay and some short essays won Best of the Net for 2014 which makes two years in a row which (you have to read Keise Laymon's which is a much longer and better description of how it seems to go in the don't-email-if-you-don't-want-a-"no" department), and Justin Hocking's essay on Bending Genre went Freshly-Pressed viral (meaning I get 100 messages a day telling me my blog has a new follower--not this one!) makes me feel like I have won the internet, at least for the day, even though we all know there is no permanent winning. Scott Walker will show up in my feed for the next four years, I fear. I thought Arizona had the worst governor, but I might be wrong. 

Speaking of bringing money to Arizona! (segue? Like a cop!) I have, after four months of trying, made my fundraising goal for the NonfictioNOW conference. This is exciting because I love to raise money. I should have maybe followed my sister Val's footsteps and gone into sales. The adrenalin is almost as excellent as getting an acceptance in a lit mag and the rejection much less personal. Plus, now I can host a party for 450 people. Like a wedding but without so many flowers. Maybe a few flowers. 

But the bad news was also bad enough to make me want to quit and become a maker of kombucha and charcuterie. A little homemade pancetta with your probiotics? I got a rejection for an essay I wrote exactly for a specific editor/magazine and I guess it was too depressing even though it IS THE LEAST DEPRESSING ESSAY I ever wrote. Maybe it is depressing, talking to Zoe about climate change and the end of the world, but there is the excellent bright spot when I think I see a sloth hanging out in a ponderosa tree. That is as good as it gets, isn't it? I worry that I sound a lot more depressed than I ever actually am. In actuality, I am the smilingest person I know. Zoe and Max's taekwondo tells me every day that she likes my smile. And then she turns to the kids and says, "Did I hear a yes, ma'am?" "No, ma'am." "Then get to the back wall." She's tough. Like the smile I make when I think I'm funny when I'm not. 

But if there's one thing that's important to win it's sabbatical because you only get one (or maybe 2 or 3 but at the rate Arizona's going, this could be it) so today I took Zoe and three of her friends ice-skating. We skated for an hour and they who were just learning to skate stopped holding onto the wall and they who are practicing skating backwards skated backwards and I went around the rink 147 times and I'm having a hard time standing up to answer the door now that the parents are coming to pick up the three girls who came over to our house after skating to play with Zoe and try on her every dress and ask Max to marry them but he says, "no" even though he did put on his tuxedo. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It Would Be More Fun with Pictures

At some point, I will find a perfect definition of sabbatical and then I will perform it. In the meantime, I will cobble together a semblance of an idea and then wish I posted minute by minute what I did on my sabbatical but will instead post month by month.

  1. Imagine this picture. Hike. Mt. Elden. Fat Man's loop. It is January on a Tuesday. I think I'll have the whole trail to myself but as there are on Friday there are again on a Tuesday runners and dog walkers and fast hikers hiking straight up 1.5 miles and then straight back down. It's slippery walking downhill. Be care. 
  2. Trip to Oregon. Saw Misty. Gave a quick talk. Came back. Portland, as much as I don't want to love it, is still lovable. I went to Laurelhurst Deli and picked up charcuterie to take home. I ate it on the drive up from Phoenix. I also found a beer I like. It was sour. It tasted like kombucha. I wish I'd stayed longer to see more people but seeing Misty was rejuvenating. 
  3. Book book book book. So I have been writing. 7 new essays since the end of last semester, all in an attempt to tie the book together. Narrative is a lie though and I write nonfiction so no narrative, baby. It's OK. I can live with that. 
  4. I submitted one of those essays on Monday. It was rejected today. So maybe not OK. 
  5. Conference, conference, conference. It's OK, in some ways. I mostly work on getting sponsors and responding to email and planning social media pushes on Mondays but that bleeds into Tuesdays. Budget budget budget. No sleep at night. But then, by Wednesday, I usually get it out of my head, at least for a few hours. 
  6. There is a lot of cat in two kittens. 
  7. I have done something so terrible to my hip that I can hardly run. I've been doing strengthening exercises and using the IT roller but it still hurts. If I have to see a doctor for my hip, I will resign myself to old age. I think I'll see an acupuncturist first. 
  8. I might make kombucha for the CSA. 
  9. I have field trips. Did I mention? Water treatment plant, recycling plant, ice cream cone factory, toilet paper factory, Grand Canyon? Also, where is my butchery apprenticeship? Where?
  10. I went on another hike to find the heart rock behind Zoe's school. I found some rocks and a cave and got kind of lost but I just ended up in a neighborhood. I had to sneak through someone's back yard to get back to my car, but no one shot me. Yay Arizona!
  11. I'm going to volunteer at the CSA. I fear I will regret this. 
  12. On campus. Only twice. Not too bad. 
  13. Great Narrow Chimney Series Readings. Have been to them all this semester. I'll see if I can keep it up. 
  14. Planning trips for March and April. Tucson, Torrey, other places that begin with T. Minneapolis does not begin with T. Not looking good for AWP. 
  15. Facebook. Problem or friend? Who else am I going to talk to? 
  16. It's pretty easy to get used to talking only to yourself, your cats, and your computer. 
  17. Taekwondo for Max and Z. 2 days a week, each, different days. 
  18. Cheffering up a little bit. Made a good mole amarillo although I added a few mole verde ingredients (pumpkin seeds, mainly). I think it was pretty good but not spicy enough. I made curry last night, having finally found garam marsala. It was excellent. Also could kick the spice notes up a notch. Fajitas instead of tacos one night. Ground breaking! 
  19. Birthday parties. Ice skating. Trip to Jerome. 
  20. No snow. Mostly I spend none conference thinking time thinking about how fast the forest can go up. Don't read Timothy Egan's "The Big Burn" if you live in a forest in the middle of a drought. 
  21. Microfilm! First page written. 50 pages to go. 
  22. Egg. Book. This week. Proposal forthcoming
  23. Next book plan. Running even though it kills you? Well, I'm off for a 3 mile walk/run. I'll let you know if I survive. Next month.