5 Best Things from 2015

Holy crap, guys, is it seriously 2016? Oh God, I typed 2015 there originally. It’s already too much for me. But don’t get me wrong, 2015 was kind of crazy. Here are the big five awesome things that happened to yours truly this year. My Five Favorites of 2015 (in no specific order) are…

2015 copy

  1. The Travel Weekend, in which I went to Bard to see Neil Gaiman and then drove to DC to see Amanda Palmer the following night. She signed my hippo. It was magical.
  2. My First Book Event, in which I read from my poetry chapbook, Pickled Miracles, at Rickert & Beagle in Pittsburgh. I also sold custom poetry.
  3. Our First House, in which my husband and I bought a house in Pittsburgh. It was one of the most stressful processes I’ve ever gone through, but now…we own a freaking house.
  4. Ask Me Another, in which I was a participant on the NPR quiz show. Such fun. I didn’t win, but it was totally worth it.
  5. Crafts, in which my visual art game became stronger. I did monthly doodles, photography, felting, papercrafts…it’s been fun to have something more tactile to balance my writing.

Honorable mentions: The Chuck Palahniuk and Rainbow Rowell events, Picklesburgh, Welcome to Night Vale, Mudderella, the Priory Hotel, the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden, NaNoWriMo

Has this year been a journey? Absolutely. But even though that was my word of the year, it’s not over yet. Is it ever?

Tomorrow: the word for this year and what I have planned.

How to Have a Day Job/House/Life/Everything in 3 Lessons

Hi. Hello. Yes, yes, we’re here. We’re alive. We are in THE HOUSE. I’m sorry you all were left under radio silence for a while. Getting the technologies to coexist in the titanium dome that is obviously hiding in the attic has proven difficult.

How are you?

Owning a house – I almost wrote possessing, but that didn’t exactly feel right – is unlike anything I could have thought it to be. The first time something went wrong, I stormed up to my husband and asked, “We should call them back and tell them that we didn’t sign up for this shit!”

“Tell who what?”

“Everyone! Everyone else should fix this! I don’t want to fix this! Do you?”

And that was when my husband walked away. Not really, but he told me that there was no one to fix it. We had to fix it. Or call a plumber, electrician, carpenter, or handyman to fix it while we pay them. And I knew that. I just didn’t want to.

Lesson 1: There’s no one to place blame on, or ask to take up the burden. You only have yourself to rely on.

We were scrambling with the last of the detritus and flim-flam of our old residence. We had just barely gotten everything out the last day, in the last hour. Suddenly, faced with the closed, locked door, I started choking.

“Are you okay?”

“This is it,” I said. “This is it. Like…it’s happening right now.”

He headed down the stairs, and slowly I followed. There was no last big hurrah, no ridiculous Polaroid. Nothing. Except the ting of a key at the bottom of the mailbox and salty, stingy tears from the driver’s seat.

Lesson 2: Make the memories while the thing is happening. They will hold on longer than last hurrahs.

I’m sitting in the eating nook adjacent to the kitchen. It has been cleared of most boxes, and I can look out over the table to the rats that are playing in the cage against the window. I can watch as little birds eat the neighbor’s wild grapes.

In the corner of my eye is a black and white animal. Despite our keeping the gate closed to the back yard, the checkered Maine Coon is utterly undeterred. It pauses momentarily, giving the metal obstruction barely more than a measured look, before squeezing under it. It doesn’t even run. It saunters to the next gate and is gone.

Lesson 3: Life is full of wonder. Just wait. You’ll see.

Poetry: Always Helps

My husband and I bought a house.

It’s something I’ve heard other people say in passing. “We just bought a house.” “We’re moving into our new house.” “They’re trying to buy a house.” And to me, it always seemed like something that people did, like buying a phone or groceries or even a car.

Y’all. I had no idea what I was getting into.

It’s moving day and I’m sitting in the stairwell of our apartment while men load my life into a truck. It’s all sounds of things going and coming, against a backdrop of birds and rain.

So I wrote a poem on my writing site you all might like. I love you, and I’ll be back soon.

https://bohemianonrye.com/2015/06/27/twister-sister/

Writing About Buying a House About Writing

boxes

Recently, life has been a lot about breathing.

Stopping and taking long, deep inhalations. Drawing out heavy, whooshing exhalations. Saying, “Yes, I will freak out for this few seconds, and then I’m going to get back to work.”

My husband and I are buying a house. They tell you about the money part of it, how you need to have cash that will sing, that will tell people, “How about this guy? She is ready for this piece of property to be hers.” What they don’t tell you, though, is how much time you need.

How did people buy houses before smartphones and text messaging? Did people have to actually spend as many hours as I have just in text dialogues alone stepping away from their lives to get all this down? I have thanked a lucky star every time I’ve been able to sign a document electronically because if I had to actually go somewhere and do it in person every time I would have already lost my mind.

Getting overwhelmed has been easy. Casting one eye across a home that has been my hidey-hole, my magpie nest, my asylum for eight years…I can’t even believe how much can be accrued in that long. But here it all is. And it needs to be processed, looked at, decided upon, weighed, judged, tossed, packed, rehomed.

And I have to stop, take one of those breaths, and say, “Just one box. One box at a time.” And that’s made it easier.

When taking up a writing project, it’s easy to only see the sprawling expanse of words, letters, and keys. You start to go cross-eyed considering how many paragraphs are going to go into it, how much time it’s going to take just to get through a chapter, let alone a whole damn part of the thing. How are you going to get all the stuff that’s mashed into your brain compartmentalized enough to get on paper? You start reconsidering your life’s journey. Maybe information technology¬†should¬†have been your major.

Stop.

Don’t do that to yourself.

You can’t pack an entire house in the blink of an eye. And you can’t write a book in one sitting. You are both the person eating the elephant and the elephant itself. Take one bite at a time. You’ll be okay.

You are the king of time. Rule.