Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You're a gentleman and a scholar.

1. I interviewed Eric Papenfuse, owner of the Midtown Scholar and editor of Midtown Scholar Press this past week. The Press, which swung out the gate this winter with City Contented, City Discontented, a history of Harrisburg, is bursting with life. While they are wisely approaching the publishing of titles on the intimate basis of one title every other year to afford maximum promotion-time, Mr. Papenfuse ecstatically expressed his desire to see manuscripts. Fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction are very much of interest to the Press. Although you could mail your mss to 1302 North Third Street, Harrisburg PA 17102, you would be cheating yourself out of an opportunity to visit the most gorgeous bookstore on Earth (and the biggest between New York and Chicago).

2. My boyfriend and I were getting coffee and the barister and I got into a conversation. He asked me what I do and I said, I'm a writer. This may have been the first time I've done that. I tell people often - virtually as often as the subject of vocation arises in any context - that I write. But I don't think I've ever done that in the sanctified noun-way. It felt good - reactionary, defiant-good. I was beating up myself earlier in the week for not achieving enough, which is stupid. I did the old spiel that I have to do like Franny does the Jesus prayer, about how achievement is a totally subjective thing (some days I hear a crowd and there is no crowd).

The impulse to do this came after re-watching Kicking and Screaming, which I could barely watch in college and have avoided since graduating. For all the parts that I enjoy - like the completely literal innuendos - watching all that inertia in the wrong mood is pulverizing. I've been in the wrong mood for inertia for three years and counting. There is a scene when, after lamenting that he wishes he was going off to war after a lifetime of hard work, Chris Eigeman's character addresses himself in the mirror and declares that mere weeks ago he was Max Belmont, philosophy major, and now he is Max Belmont who does nothing.

I am grateful that the experience of college reasserted to me how in my basic state I do nothing, and since graduating I have managed to only do nothing for about two days, both of them lately. I am really busy, my life is very full, I write and edit every day, and the only thing that makes me very sore is the idea of not being able to work any harder. Despite conditions I persist in working harder, though, and this coming year will make last year look like a nap. This year will be a nap on the bus - mouth open, slumped against the window: total defiance.

3. The new issue of Anomalous is out and it features Joanna Howard and I am so awestruck. I adore her work so madly and I am so overwhelmed to be in the next issue! I have to record my piece before leaving for AWP, to which I will travel with my friend Maria, herself a brilliant poet! I have never been to Chicago and plan first and foremost on going to Intelligentsia Coffee. Then doing a windmill high-five at the Anobium table. Speaking of which, Anobium is looking for new contributors to the new website! It will be radiant. I have a Vision stockpiled on one of my favorite contemporary artists who I found through tumblr.


  1. oh exciting, you will be at awp too! and we will all be cold together.

  2. That's amazing!!! I'm so excited to meet you, Gina! We will be SO COLD! I'm having nightmares about it now! I can't wait!