Second week of the new year. It’s been quiet here, warmer than usual for a January, and generally peaceful. I’m in between a lot of things right now, still figuring out what I’m going to do next. I don’t feel rushed, though. For the first time in years, I think I can take a minute to catch my breath.Continue reading
The idea is to do a quick update, once a week, about the week that came before. The idea isn’t mine; it’s been a thing for more than a decade. I’m not even the only person I know to do it: Don started something similar last year and I’ve seen it help him get back into regular blog updates, something I need to do for myself.
I got into the habit of using social media, particularly Twitter and IG because while they both suck for passively allowing Nazis, incels, and President Tr*mp to say whatever to whoever, Facebook can outright go fuck itself for actively adding to the world’s problems. In the process, for reasons I’ll get into another time, I mostly stopped using my personal website. But this space, in as much as anything digital can be owned, is definitely mine, while Twitter and IG and Fuck-Facebook and all the rest are, depending on the day, very likely not mine at all.
I mean, I’ll still use them in a limited way to keep in touch with people I care about. I’m not a monster.
But this is meant to take some of what’s been in my head for the last week and put it into words that you, people reading this post for your own reasons (hey, I don’t judge – you do you) can put into your own heads.Continue reading
Diplomatic Relations With Angry Rabbits
“Sorry to disturb you, Mr. Mayor, but the rabbits are back.” At least Siobhan was kind enough to look sincerely apologetic about it.
Evan Mikumba smiled slightly. “Thank you,” he said. “You may send them in.” She nodded and left.
Easy for her to feel sorry for me, he thought. She doesn’t have to find a way for us to live together. He shuffled random papers on his table, trying to put the thought out of his head. Until the rabbit problem, his biggest concern was getting the half of his town that voted for the son of Indonesian immigrants to get along with the half that thought there was no place for a guy like him in Texas. Hell, they’d be happier if got “sent back”, even though he was born in Austin and graduated from good ol’ UT. (Go Longhorns!) Instead he had to worry about whether giant rabbits could read his mind. Continue reading
Started in 2013, recently revised, and finally (I think) just right. 1130 words.
Notes On My Recent Job Interview With Your Firm
Dear Nancy from HR,
I am writing with answers to the survey I found attached to your letter. I realize they were mailed to me several weeks ago, but I was unavoidably detained during that time, and unable to respond earlier. I have been advised by medical professionals that answering your questions in depth may only amplify the strong feelings of unease I have been experiencing since my interview, but lately I feel oddly compelled to complete any paperwork put in front of me.
Please bear with me, as your form has limited space for additional notes. Some answers continue on the back.Continue reading
This story was originally written for Southern Fried Weirdness: Reconstruction, an anthology to benefit tornado relief (2011). I later republished it in my 2013 short fiction collection, Women and Other Constructs. It remains one of my favorite stories, and the one I’m most often asked to read at events. (I also haven’t quite gotten through a live reading of it without tearing up.)
The tree grew up around her as she sat at its base, day after day. It had been a sapling when her parents bought the house by the creek, and it made the perfect backrest for Annabelle-the-child. She sat very still, her chubby three-year-old hands clasped together, arms tight around her knees, as her father sat alone on the creek bank. He waited for a fish to appear on his line, and she waited with him.
“I don’t want you sitting all day out on the ground,” her momma had said after the second day faded into evening and Annabelle once again walked into the kitchen with a dirty bottom.
“Yes, Momma,” she’d replied quietly as her momma brushed her off with a hand broom and quick, hard strokes. Her momma sighed.
“There’s no use. That dress is ruined.” Annabelle was given a hot bath, a cold supper, and sent to bed without a story. She wrapped her arms around Mr. Bunny and listened to her parents’ raised voices float up through the floor boards until she fell asleep. The next day Daddy couldn’t fish because he had to work on the house, as it was “in no fit state for people to see,” Annabelle’s momma had said, and there were church people that wanted to come over for a house warming. Annabelle liked the church people, who’d come over to their old apartment with ambrosia salad and fried chicken and Mrs. Cramble, who wore flower print dresses and had thick, soft arms, would give her great big hugs and extra helpings on her plate, and Momma never complained. Annabelle followed her Daddy around all afternoon, holding the tin bucket with his hammer and nails in it, and when he needed one or the other, she’d lift it up as high as she could, and he’d reach down into the bucket and take what he needed. Sometimes he’d smile at her too. Continue reading