I admit that I don’t know what I’m doing, and in some, maybe most ways, I just don’t belong in this “writer’s group.” I read amazing short stories and novels all the time, and I just want to quit. Maybe I should, and here are a few reasons why. Prepare to be shocked:
- I’m not the brooding, artistic type
- I don’t remember how to diagram a sentence
- I never learned the aspects of a novel
- I haven’t read Borges
There. I said it. It was killing me to hold those inside. The festering guilt and unmitigated impotence I felt! read more
(Editor’s Note: Next month we’re reading Jazz, Toni Morrison’s stunning novel of life in 1920s Harlem. Check out the reading/discussion schedule here. And now, let’s talk about José Skinner’s “Qué Será.” As usual, discuss this story in the comments section, and click the “Notify” box to stay current with the conversation. DD)
Okay, honesty time: I ran from “Qué Será.” For weeks after skimming it, I ran. I gleaned that it deals with heavy themes: unplanned (and partially-unwanted) pregnancy, starving children, abused animals, etc., and I ran. Much like I do when I see an impoverished child from another country on TV. Pathetic, really. This story, with its brutal honesty, forces us to face these issues.
As part of my moderation preparation (modprep, if you will), I prodded a mentor to read this piece and give me his insight. He happened to read another one that I posted on Facebook, and said he preferred the latter, “pretty” one. I was determined to delve into “Que Sera,” whether I personally found it “pretty” or not, and find the merit. Boy, did I.
Straightaway I was caught off guard by the title. It seems like a portent of “what will be,” and accomplishes this by leaving off the last portion of the saying. How is this significant?
The piece begins with an American couple, staying in an upper-class cabana in Mexico, who have recently taken a pregnancy test they purchased from the local farmacia (pharmacy). read more
Writing Tactics for Parents: How to Quiet the Little Anklebiters for Five Minutes So You Can Write a Few Words on This Blank Page Goddammit
As I begin this blog piece, my 5-year-old sees that I’m typing on my laptop, skips over, looks at the screen, and says, “Mama, whatcha doin’?” Irony? In the truest sense, no, not irony. But if Alanis Morissette can get away with pissing on Webster’s Dictionary, so can I.
Parenting two small children is not the easiest task in the world. The constant noise, peanut butter hands, snotty noses and “poop bonanzas” (what my 5-year-old calls messy diapers) means you have to be Mother Teresa just to deal with it all. And if you don’t happen to be Mother Teresa, then you need alcohol. Lots of it.
Convincing the scrawny carpetbaggers to be quiet so you can type words—well, it is a near-impossible task. But I have developed the following tactics that I will now share with the rest of you bleary-eyed parental battalions: read more