Sunday, September 16, 2012

Is it hubris to say

that I'm annoyed by a rejection?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fortuitous is

waking up one minute before your alarm on a teaching day, and as you roll over to shut it off, not needing that noise to herald in your day, you realize that you'd never set it to begin with.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hands down

It was as good as a day with your best friends, except you're alone on the bridge with your music and your neon shirt and the cars that drive up, drive down.

There was so much light that maybe some sort of photosynthesis filled those legs, sped up that old rhythm. You came to a stop at the ocean because that's what everyone else did, too: stood and stared at the thick volley of white crests. A respectful vigil.

And for once, you allow yourself the credit of making a good decision. Of being in the right place.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Link and unlinked

Goals for the next year (starting today; December 31 isn't the only time to make lists):

1) Embark on a full court press to
2) obtain an agent;
3) if the second doesn't pan out, I will at least know that 1) did the most that it could;
4) be established with life plans for the subsequent year (PhD or job, or both, knowing me);
5) in order to do so, apply to those entities (1 PhD in the bag, but how about the rest? And that expired GRE & damnable critical essay, taunting me when I just want to run around in fall sunshine);
6) and relax a little, maybe, sometimes.

Friday, August 17, 2012

additional notes 2 self


And to all, a good night!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The 18-yard drive

It's a sunny day and I'm inside on the computer. Not so unusual from my teen years onward. But my focus is sharper than normal days, reminisce of the lock-yourself-in-the-library-and-finish-this thesis afternoons. I keep going today because I'm afraid if I don't, the wheels will slow and I'll be aimless again instead of pushing ahead.

As my emotions have calmed down in recent months, years, even, we haven't met much, Word is Bond. But I always come back for you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

notes on a novel

Summarizing scenes in my manuscript:

“Marcos is like, WTF is your deal? with Juliana joining in, and Savannah’s all, STFU, you don’t know my life.”

Friday, June 08, 2012

To your pre-dawn running and writing sessions:

We might as well accept now that for all my efforts to be a "real person who maintains the schedule of such a personage,” I will always prefer to run in the evening and write in the night. Two a.m., and this is the best I've felt all day.

Friday, May 25, 2012


The sky’s brooding over something that it’s not ready to talk about. It’s done this all week. I won’t prod, though the night is windless and I dangle one leg up into the air to keep it from sticking to the other.

“You’re good with people,” one of my gymnasts told me tonight.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

She shrugged. “You just are.”

I appreciated that, especially on a day when I felt like the sky: sometimes a crack of light, other moments eyes squinted shut.

Monday, May 21, 2012

the word & the right word

Seeking: a noun for accident, neither good or bad.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

esperanza, like rain

Winter mornings spent saying, What are you doing with your life? turned to spring nights of I'm getting there. 

I've pushed the pieces into position. Some point in contradicting directions.

Now, we wait.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

excerpts from the notes on my computer

  • Amazing realization: I’m only 28:10 into this thunderstorm. 
  • I’m afraid that if I sleep, I’ll miss Flo’s play-by-play of 50 Shades of Grey.
  • my psychic stomach 
Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 27, 2012


That's the way of luck, isn't it? Sometimes the splash of water over the side and then other times you're the one leaning over, tipping the boat, looking for your reflection in the waves.

The ship rights itself.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Life advice from my father

"You could buy cheap houses and become a slumlord."

Monday, April 16, 2012

deep thoughts on campus

Student walking ahead of me: "I can't wait for the day when talking shit is going to help me resolve things."

Sing it, boy.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

the georgia mud

In an ongoing extension of Bold Moves 2012, I have decided to "real"-ify my website with blog posts about writing. So if you've any interest in my writing life, you'll want to take a gander/follow me over there.

This space, up on the second shelf, will remain what it was always intended for: life, in whatever form.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

many mountains moving


  • Driving through a missile range
  • Frolicking in the dunes of White Sands
  • Seeing a camel, a roadrunner, and a vulture
  • Inadvertently running through a triathlon
  • Hiking a mountain
  • Visiting a beautiful gym
  • Eating delicious sour cream ("Las altos mexicanos," as Tony would say)
  • Finishing Game of Thrones and hovering in the local Barnes & Noble, reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone at a kiddie table hidden behind a fake tree
  • Finding time for blog posts with Flo


  • Sporting a sweet sunburn on one arm post-White Sands
  • Stepping on cactus while hiking
  • Falling down trail
  • Breaking camera while falling

I'll take the mountains.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Give me the beat, boys, and free my soul

After a few years, I'm back in the southwest today. Incessant sun and cracking skin. Pale winter limbs that will never take on the smooth brown of Italian ancestors. So be it. Few trees, no grass. Nothing to bind me to the ground.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


"That woman has brought me to dark places," she said.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fire is catching

As Flo would say, it’s like Christmas, my birthday, and Lord of the Rings all at once.

(Yay for being at least ten years out of the target audience! Hey, haters gonna hate and all of that.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

That’s why they call it the blues

Last night, I came home from work a little cranky. In the mood to hide out. You know those nights. The query and writing blues kicked in, which of course led to, “And what am I doing with my life?”

Thanks to the power of social media, I learned that my favorite collegiate gymnastics team was streaming its competition online.

As I watched, continuing to feel glum, a girl from the opposing team fell off of beam. She was clearly rattled and climbed back up, only to straddle the beam on her next skill.

Suddenly, my night didn’t seem so bad.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

the bailout

This is what we call a life post:

I know how to flip out of the boat. No, no, thanks. Sudden change of plans. Different order of operations than anticipated. So sorry. I roll into the water and swim for the shore.

I can tell when others will do it. I hear the splash before they've made a move for the side. I imagine the hasty excuses.

But lately I want to take that waterlogged vessel out farther. Sit with bare feet as water rises over my ankles, over the bench. Take my chances. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

It was a tricky day to wear a dress.

February ended up dedicated to the querying/synposing/revising/sending/crossing fingers for the YA nov. Truth be told, it was a fun ride. And there's more to be done.

In terms of new material, though, I'm stepping back to the screenplay. That old chestnut. We've made it to Act III and now the two men are in the same room, and one has murder on his mind.

I write it one line at a time, very carefully.

I know that I can go back and take out all of the stupid stuff, revise the heck out of it, make it shine. I don't have to get it right on the first try. But I want to. As close as I can. The words might change, but I want the tone and the tension to be just right.


Read: Kayak Morning, Roger Rosenblatt

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Crossing

When those eyes and the nation to which they stood witness were gone at last with their dignity back into their origins there would perhaps be other fires and other witnesses and other worlds otherwise beheld. But they would not be this one.

One thing I admire about Cormac McCarthy: he writes on his own terms. Punctuation, dialogue tags, sudden large words--they're all used at his discretion. It doesn't matter what everyone else is writing. It doesn't matter what's trendy. He writes the way he chooses to.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


On the radio: something worth loving.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The heat and the sauce.

Today’s revision goals: Turn up the heat.

There’s sideways love in the YA nov. “Sideways” in the sense that it’s not in the driver’s seat, but it’s certainly in the backseat leaning forward. Though the character has a hot streak that’s crucial to the story’s climax, he’s fairly laidback.

And so he should be. I don’t want him running the show. But I’d like him to be a little saucier. Make moments a little more tense.

Connor McDermott, help me to channel your unending hots.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Note to self:

Editing is not merely the elimination of words. I tend to do that: strip down until the sentences are clear and bare. But I have to not be afraid of expansion, though I worry it will appear meandering and fluffy.

The story begins to feel like a body patched together. A snip here, a new layer of skin there. Blazing pink lines and soft white scars.

Additional note to self: putting in thirteen miles over two days after weeks of not a whole lot leaves one’s legs tender. Very tender.

Copperhead Road

Firing new synapses is one way to turn mental traffic from one direction to another. Like teaching yourself this dance last night when you saw the way everyone else kicked, and you felt your toes start to tap.


Read: The Fault In Our Stars, John Green

Friday, February 17, 2012

may the odds be ever in your favor

February has been a month of bold moves.

The only way to better the odds is to give yourself enough options. Within two days, I had entered five different lotteries: a writing contest, two movie premieres, a marathon, a concert. The first was most important. The marathon, well, I could live without gaining entry. In fact, I probably have a better chance of living if I don't participate.

I tend to lurk. Not in the back alley way. More like quiet reading and research without raising my voice. Or without saying anything at all. I wait. And wait.

Until now.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

104 meets 24.

I thought it was a river, but it turned out to be a road instead.

self, meet self

I have to accept that some days (and, sadly, weeks), I am not going to run. I will try to wake up early, but it won’t be enough. There will be something else that I need to do. The voices of so many children who all need something immediately, hands reaching for me.

Soon, though. A time for black and electric blue sneakers. The hiss of cold air on surprised legs. The old slow way of rebuilding.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Real people, fake arms

The prompt: Rewrite "The meal was tasty" with a sound.

The response: "The morbidly obese man grunted as he bit into his eighth cheeseburger."

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


We sat the kids down today for an inspirational talk. At one point, my fellow coach compared the practice and time required to be a successful gymnast to the preparations needed in school to attend a good college. “In fact,” he said, “gymnastics is harder. Fear, pain, injuries.”

I used that same logic when I had to make a long drive by myself at night several years ago. I was afraid that my Internet maps and mix CDs and ice cream that I promptly spilled on the seat wouldn’t be enough. I’d wind up lost or struck by another car or just…I didn’t know, but just worse off than I’d be if I’d stayed put.

When I sat in the driver’s seat, I thought back to practice. Anyone can drive. Not everyone can do aerials on beam, I told myself, and turned the ignition.

After the talk today, I thought about my present fears. About how reluctant I am to press “send” on an email and receive no, thanks, not right for us or silence.

Anyone can click a mouse. Not everyone can turn upside down and back up again.

Here we go, February.

Friday, January 27, 2012

the fangirl riseth

Whilst sitting maturely in the office at my computer, looking all important-like, I'm reading this.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Did it. Wrestled down the query. Started from the heart and worked outwards.

I entered the problem-solving zone. Noise became too much. I could hold conversations, but I didn't contribute much. I could sense where the soft areas were and had to figure out the way to navigate through them.

I wouldn't sleep until I did it.


Read: Divergent, Veronica Roth; Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Saturday, January 21, 2012

the ice will do it to you.


Someone to write this query for me. Dear Lord. Nothing is working!

La historia proxima

Can't you see it? Noon on the town square, boots kicking up the desert dust. Here she is, girl and pistol. Stranger comes to town.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


What's the difference between a deadline and a live wire?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Instead, freezing rain.

They say it takes one week to adapt to a new technology and I wonder if that science works for situations. To the left a bit, that's right, there you go, get a look at that view. Feel the skin crack in snowless winter air. Remember that.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I float through the past three days. Blink to wake up, shake my head. It's not enough. I have to remind myself to look before I move across the dotted yellow, exaggerating the twist of my head as I search for nearby headlights.

Yesterday, between sessions of coaching, I walked through a mall both with purpose and no plan. Nobody bumped into me. Nobody looked at me. I didn't want either. I walked into one store, thought it was too hot, and circled back out.

Some things cause sensations, like the fall of a single snowflake on a bare foot. The cold metal chair on a colder night. A high score, yes, we'll take it.

Back on the highway, I wonder how to make these things last.

everybody's working for the weekend

Thursday, January 12, 2012

dream dwellers

I want to hide in fiction. But there are voices above me. Break out, break out. Come to the surface. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Will you please be quiet, please?

Blogger is so very silent.

Is it time to seek out other blogging lands?


1-11 always makes me think of:

It was a pleasure to burn

I don't want the music. I need it. I consume it like it might disappear somewhere between green exit signs or under the root that catches my sneaker. There's always the warning: Don't exhaust it or else you'll never love those songs the same way again and I listen, but not always.


Read: Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton

Sunday, January 08, 2012

When seven eight nine

Eight miles is much different than seven, or maybe that's the effect of having run the day before. Either way, at the end of it, I feel that same wobbly sensation as the spring. It's not in my head, necessarily, but in my entire body. The feeling that I could drift off at any moment. 

I run for time, not distance, and at fifty-seven minutes, I inexplicably began to run the way I would to finish a race. There were twenty-three minutes left. I don't know why, but I followed it. I followed myself over the roots with rapid steps like football players pummeling through tires in training and around this bend and that bend and it felt like it never really slowed, the feeling, until the clock hit twenty and I ran an extra ten seconds and stopped.

I steady myself with music. No, I am not ready to leave this world yet.

I can't believe that we would lie in our graves

"I don't want to sit here a year from now having the same conversation," she said.


To reInvent fire

Separation brings out the best on me.


So does a good writing partner.

Lena encouraged me last night to dust off the old screenplay. I have 53 pages and the journey plotted out. I just need to get there...which I've yet to do in two years.

I've had a few excellent friends over the years with whom I have collaborated. We understand each other's beats and build off of each other's rhythms. Lena is no exception. Moments after reading, she was already roasting the main character in a Michael Scott fashion. We threw a few ideas around. She understood the heart of the story and her suggestions reflected such.

Now, I just might finish it.

Friday, January 06, 2012

el dia de los reyes, and a forgetful sandwich

"When you weren't here on Monday, Rob and I got into a fight about him spotting my back handspring on beam," Sarah says.

"Why?" I say.

"We have trust issues," she says.


I've gained a certain kind of resolve since the beginning of November. No need for a new year. In my mind, there's an estimate of how many days per week I should run. Sometimes I meet it and sometimes I don't. No matter. The bigger matter is that each time I run, I do no less than four miles.

For as long as I've been running, I've been the queen of small runs between the tougher workouts. Twenty minutes, thirty minutes. Break a small sweat and call it a day, hit the showers. But I realized in November that instead of saving my body for those longer runs that happened sometimes, the small runs were just boring.

No more.

There's a difference between three and four miles. Three miles is just about a 5K, a distance most people can show up and run. Four miles requires a bit more concentration. A little more commitment. It's a look toward longer races.

I figure: four miles becomes the new twenty minutes, six miles becomes the new thirty minutes, and now we're building to something.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

something, something about this place

You find it charming (and, though you'll never admit it, probably a little weird) that I read the same stories over and over. The hero reminds me of you.

I think we make a good team, you and I. I think we have the right kind of magic.


Read: Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card

Monday, January 02, 2012

"To fly is to be perfectly ourselves."

No vertigo from these heights. Rolling hills keep me grounded, make that burning almost too much. I bear it.


A new year, a new lack of resistance for a list.

Read: The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman; Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling; High Fidelity, Nick Hornby; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick. Many rhetorical questions to be answered in these titles.

Seen: Winter's Bone; The Kids Are All Right