We started the day earlier than either of us wanted because the train to Munich left at 7:15. Apparently, this didn’t matter to anyone else because there were so many people at the station. Our car was jampacked, too. For breakfast, we had schnitzel sandwiches (I get the appeal) and some shitty hot chocolate. I did too much office work, which led to a lovely guilt cycle. Why not write? Why not talk to my new husband? Why not read? Why not stare out the window at snow-laden mountains and trees? Oh, well. There’s no one way to do things, though going on vacation without bringing your job with you seems like a simple equation.
In the interest of full disclosure, I forgot that I’ve done a yearly wrap for many years. It’s strange to think that some of you have read those wraps. Some of you may know me better than my family. It’s special to me, so thank you for being here. This year, more so than any other year, was busy. In 2021, I asked for a powerful transformation, and, honey, I got it.
I fell from a dock in the summer, / split my hand open like a ripened fig, /blood drip-dropping to ruddy the waves / while I gulped down salty red
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.
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.
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.
It’s easy to be happy online. You work to put together the filter, the caption, the hashtags, the everything, and the end product is this shiny version of you. Don’t get me wrong, life has been good to me these last few years, and so it is always with no shortage of guilt that I present a version of myself that is less than happy. But I don’t want to lie to you.
When I moved to Boston in 2017, I wanted to be a clinical psychiatrist. After working as a therapeutic writing facilitator, I was so intrigued by the thought of helping people heal that it became more important to me than being a novelist (plus no one was interested in a fictionalized account of the French Revolution, despite its cultural and political relevance). Add in my new job with Harvard Medical School, I realized there was a lot of growing I still needed to do before spending any more time as a student. My life had to start, so it did.