Approaching normal?

Atlanta never really quarantined for COVID, but some things shut.

After the second week of school in August, I drove home and my gas light lit up. I pulled into a gas station, but I couldn’t figure out why I never used to get low, or where I used to fill up.

It took me two days before I remembered that I used to go to the Humane Society every weekend, and I’d fill up at the gas station beside it, so I never went below half a tank. But when COVID got bad here, the Humane Society closed the campus.

This weekend, for the first time in about a year, I went back to the Humane Society. They’re not reopening yet, but they’re murmuring about it, and they had an adoption event. 

Atlanta Humane Society

I spent time with a few dogs including Alan, a spectacular, gracious older gentleman. 

And then I filled up my tank.

Wherever you are on the planet, I hope you can start doing the things you love again, too.

In writing news, some of you have read drafts of what I’m now calling A Killer Melody and sent feedback, which I really appreciate! I’ve incorporated your thoughts, and I think the manuscript is much better for it. It’s very different than what it was in November or December.

I’m currently researching a lot about self publishing, because it’s what almost all the authors I admire are doing, and I’ve gotten advice to head that way. Like most choices, it’s both exciting and frightening. I’ll keep you updated, and thank you for all of your help!

Mountains Beyond Mountains

Hey y’all,

It seems stupid and frivolous to be talking about made-up stories when there is so much pain right now. Atlanta has been under curfew for days, and my sister-in-law shares videos of protest marches on the street outside her home. Hopefully the powers that be will take note this time… (PSA: Elections are happening in a lot of places right now. Vote!)

But this morning, I went walking, and one of my neighbors set two buckets of sidewalk chalk in their driveway, with rhyming instructions to brighten our city. And when I shared my latest story with a friend yesterday, she said she was glad for it. So I’m putting it here.

Jolichanga’s Fury doesn’t really have anything to do with what’s going on now, except in that it’s about courage, and love, and change. It takes place in the not-quite-Himalayas, and it’s on the longer side. It is, I think, mostly happy, but you can decide that for yourself.

I hope you’re all doing well — even (especially) if that means a little civil disobedience.

Get out there!

Hey everybody!

I hope you’re doing well in this surreal, scary time. I never thought the pandemic apocalypse would have such nice weather and reliable Petco delivery. Hats off to healthcare workers on the front lines of this, and essential workers, and my Petco delivery driver. We’re thinking about you.

If you’re like me, excited for the next human interaction via Zoom, and fantasizing about your next great adventure, you should watch an episode of “The Horn.” It’s about Air Zermatt’s search and rescue team on the Matterhorn. The heights make my palms sweat, and the rescues they pull off may just make you forget that you’re supposed to stay six feet away from everyone!

In writing-related quarantine news, the magazine fresh.ink is worth a look. It’s free, and you can read online, download the app, or subscribe and get a story to your inbox every day. They curate stories that have already been published, so they’re only sharing the best. (Exciting disclaimer — if the internet doesn’t collapse, fresh.ink is publishing a story of mine at the end of April.)

And when you get sick of watching, reading, and boredom-eating, the 100 pushup challenge is both entertaining and painful! I did the Day 1 workout yesterday, and my upper body is very sad (yet getting so swole). Anybody think we’ll all stay out of trouble and be able to do 100 in a row in 6 weeks? My dogs are skeptical, but at least they have a variety of dog treats to nibble.

Stay safe & well, everyone!

Other People’s Clothing

BorrowedStyleMaudlinHouse

Happy leap-year weekend, everyone! I hope the end of February is good wherever you are.

In Atlanta, we’ve got America’s best marathon runners racing tomorrow in the Olympic marathon trials, and I’m psyched to go cheer on some of my favorite athletes. I’ve also been watching Netflix’s “Love is Blind,” which is eye-bleedingly trashy and delightful, and ordering face masks on Amazon so I can ward off COVID-19.

In even more exciting news, the underwear story is out at Maudlin House! It’s wacky, weird, and fun, if I do say so myself. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Learning to Count

Hey, y’all!

It’s February, which can be a kind of cold, dreary time, but so far we’ve had lots of Valentine’s Day candy, snow in Atlanta, and I’ve got two stories coming out! I hope your February is at least as good.

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“Counting to Sixty” came out today in the Eckleburg Review. Issue 21 (filled with stories that are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud while you also feel a little nostalgic/heartsick/bruised) is available for $5 with the coupon code “ContributorXO!” (If you’re looking for a hard copy because you’re old school like that, they’ll be available on March 1.)

Expect another email from me in a week or two. Maudlin House is publishing a crazy little story featuring an underwear thief. I honestly don’t know what to say about it, except that you’ll be able to read it yourself.

I hope you’re finishing the last of your Valentine’s Day chocolate, because the Easter Bunny is coming with more!