Each year, Salem, Massachusetts, puts on “Haunted Happenings” to celebrate Halloween all October. More than 500,000 people visit the tourist town. Given that this year is the 40th anniversary, the numbers are expected to increase. As a tarot reader, I dole out readings from 35 to 48 people on any given Sunday.
This year has already been so busy. Marriage. Grad School. Research Project. Promotion. And now, at last, I can put my dream on that list: Novel Publication. That's right, ladies and gentlethems, my novel, A Lot of People Live in This House, is coming to bookshelves around the world in May 2023. I will be, at last, a novelist.
This morning, after my alarm went off at half past six, I went back to sleep. Thirty extra minutes, just for me. When I woke up for real, I nudged my husband awake, and we spent the next hour talking about the one thing both of us are very good at: worrying. If worrying was a sport, I think we’d each have a shot at gold in all three events: past, present, and future.
With school in full swing, creative writing has taken a back seat outside class. However, readings about illness narratives have translated into some interesting exercises. In honoring this blog, I want to share with you what's going on because it's the right thing to do after all this time. Also, I want you to know that I have some colossal news to share in November when the madness of October has passed. And after I've recovered...let's call it mid-November.
I work 40 hours a week at my desk job, at least 20 hours at school, and at least 20 hours as a tarot reader in Salem this October (I’d work more if my schedule allowed). While lugging my laptop across a classroom yesterday, colleagues gasped in horror when they saw the color-coded monster that is my Google Calendar. “How are you doing that?” they asked. The secret is suffering.
Having a best friend is a gift. Having a lifelong best friend is a blessing straight from the heavens. Longtime readers of this blog, and there are a fair few of you at this point, will recognize Harriet here and know how much she means to me. For those of you who don’t know (or don’t necessarily care), I hope you someday feel the deep love and affection of real friendship. If you have that love, I hope you celebrate it. Allow me to go first.
I’m bad at being an invalid, so I keep / angel teeth in my pocket and crunch / them up into dust
I used to waste a lot of paper in notebooks—like, a lot of paper. Whole book butts were left blank, half a sheet of paper used, chunks ripped out and discarded. In retrospect, it was wasteful, but I also understand that version of myself: the one who desired clean lines and spaces above all because it felt like control. Now, though, I write until the book is full, even when the spine is broken and the cover is stained with coffee. I hate carrying it around when it looks bad, yet I must admit that the books represent a chapter of my life. As I finish one notebook and open another, a new chapter begins.
She’s waiting for spiders to crawl / from her fingernail ridges and ride / into battle, feeling their history / as they mutate into something new / then forgotten.
As I prepare for an incredibly busy September, my anxiety has been creeping up...a lot. I mean, there's a fine line between anxiety and excitement, but my body is very good at being anxious. To cope with getting married, taking on more responsibility at work, and going to grad school, I've definitely been flexing the organizational skills. Thanks, past me, for having on eye on the future.