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.
Creative pursuits are a practice, and you have to show up for them or they won't show up for you. Last month, I made sure to answer a writing prompt every day in June. I showed up, even when I really didn't want to, because the next couple of months might mean a step back from creativity in favor of wedding and grad school preparations. Of course, the second you release any expectations on your creativity, story ideas flow, so we'll see how I do. After all, a novelist haunts these bones.
In 2018, a doctor moved into the Bond House. As fiery Southerners, we had an immediate kinship. She had moved to Boston from New York to start her OBGYN residency program. Four years. Four years is how long it would take to get the stamp of specialization approval. Four years of late nights, no sleep, cups of coffee, missed holidays, painful evaluations, surgeries, births, deaths, social work, relationship strain, love, despair, learning, teaching, and many, many sketches of vaginas. On Friday, at last, she was 1 of 4 residents to graduate from a prestigious program. On Friday, the United States Supreme Court stripped women and people who can become pregnant of their right to bodily autonomy. Fifty years down the drain. Our grandmothers’ legacy? Forget about it. The states decide. Because that always goes so well.
For the month of June, I've challenged myself to answer one prompt out of 642 Things To Write About. So far, so fine. Writing short form is hard for me, so I've focused instead on imagery and making interesting word connections. Only one of those things has happened so far, but the rest of June lies ahead. Thanks for being a part of this accountability project.
Nothing is more expensive than being poor. Those who engage in social medicine and social justice scholarship know this to be true. For many of us who grew up in those impoverished settings written about in journals, it is a lived experience that has made us crusaders for change. Perhaps what we know most deeply is that poverty is a choice. It is not a choice of the impoverished but a choice made and perpetuated by a capitalist society interested in our bodies for as long as they can perform “essential services.”