I am moving to Pittsburgh in less than two days. Whoa. I am very excited, but must also confess a bit of apprehension. I suppose a little anxiety is always normal before an adventure begins. I hope to keep you all posted with the cools sites and people I get to meet there, as well as some of my thoughts and writings and such.

This last week, I've been working on a story for the Esquire Fiction Contest. It's a pretty cool idea. Writers have to choose from one of three titles and then write a piece to fit it. I am very excited about the story idea I had. Really, I haven't been this excited about a story in a while--then again, I'm sure I say that about every story I write. ;-)
Even, my little brother, Drew, got in on the action. He chose the same title as me: "Twenty-ten". I gave him my old laptop, and you should have seen him! We were sitting together on my bed, with our laptops balanced on our thighs, typing furiously at the keys, both writing our stories. I was so happy.
I hope to make a writer of him yet. Or at the very least, another creative mind for this world. Lord, knows this world needs them.

Another snippet of a flash

Here's another snippet of a flash fiction I've been working on. I think it's about ready. For those of you who aren't familiar with my family, it's more or less autobiographical.

The Molten Core

My father was a man of stone and earth. His figure and face seemed square or rough as if chiseled by a sculptor only half done. Even his nature was quiet and steady, preferring to reflect before acting, growling before barking. He was a geologist, and I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t dirt beneath the crescents of his fingernails or mud tracing the treads of his boots. We spent family vacations visiting canyons, geysers, and mountain ranges. “Look,” he would say, directing our attention to a valley formed by the creeping movement of glaciers thousands of years ago. “Isn’t that amazing?”

New look

I'm trying out some new looks for the blog.

We'll see what works.

A month?

Wow. How has so much time passed already? My diligent blogging has fallen to the wayside after only two posts.

Well, Pittsburgh is amazing. It is about the same size as St. Louis and just as intimidating as I imagine St. Louis would be to an outsider. I don't know how I'll ever find my way around, but I also don't doubt that it will happen. Our taxi driver told us that Pittsburgh actually has more bridges than Venice if you can believe it! It is also so hilly. And so many trees! Chatham's campus is small--that being said it is still larger than any other school I've attended. It is actually situated on Andrew Carnegie's one time estate. His house is even the administration building!
There are beautiful gothic cathedrals, whose stones have been stained black from the young days of Pittsburgh when the steel mills sent smoke into the air. Not three blocks from my campus is also a strip of shopping and eating of the finest caliber--Apple store, Gap, Banana Republic, cafes, Peruvian restaurants, Thai, Chinese, Sushi, and gelato! Not to mention the coolest bookstore I've ever been into.
I also recently found out that I did get my awesome job that I went up there to interview for. You are reading the blog of the new Gate House Assistant Coordinator! I am very excited about the opportunity as I will be able to have an excuse to leave for the city a little earlier than expected so that I might learn her secrets to share with other travelers as they come my way.
I have been reading bits and pieces of this and that. Mostly required readings. They are all beautiful, but I can't seem to focus on any one of them for too long. I think I have grown more ADD with age. I like short story collections for this reason.
I have been writing as well. I have news about the book for those of you who have been eagerly awaiting the last thirty pages so that you might read my first full length novel:
I'm starting over. From scratch.
I know it sounds crazy, but I think it really will be best this way. It's good right now. It's fine. But it's not amazing or breathtaking yet. There may be exquisite passages, but not every word sparkles yet. Plus, I've decided to switch POVs so... yeah.
But here is a snipet of a short story I just finished for those of you who are curious. It doesn't quite have a title yet, but it is about a woman who discovers she has a parasite (tapeworm) growing in her intestines. If you're interested, let me know, and I'll email you the whole thing. It's only a page and a half--officially the shortest thing I've ever written!
Love to you all.

Snippet of a parasite

Still Untitled

Grace put Doris in a large, empty mayonnaise jar, the kind they only sell at the bulk stores where everything is cheaper, but more than you ever wanted in the first place. She had cleaned the jar out a week before the procedure to be ready, and now, Doris sat, or floated rather, in the cloudy water of the mayonnaise jar on Grace’s bedside table. Grace liked to watch Doris drift in the soft light of the lamp behind the jar that illuminated the milky water as she drifted off to sleep.

Grace’s doctor had advised her against keeping Doris.

“It’s a cestoda, Miss Henry. A regular Taenia saginata. Do you understand?”

Grace understood. She understood very well. It was a tapeworm. A common tapeworm that ran through over fifteen feet of her small intestines and had grown inside of her for almost three years. It was the parasite that had made her sick. It had made her nauseous in the mornings and just before bed. It had robbed her of so many vitamins and calcium that the doctors warned her of early osteoporosis. It was the doctors who didn’t understand.

Grace had come to them because she thought she was pregnant.

On the Horizon

Today, I am searching for apartments in Pittsburgh.
I am, however, very excited about the city itself. This weekend, my mom and I will be heading there to scope things out. And I will be having my final interview for a position at the bed and breakfast on Chatham's campus called the Gate House. Wish me luck! I will give a full report of the city, its oddities and its loveables when I get back. Although I doubt it will be as well written as Michael Chabon's report in "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" which is next on my reading list.

A Beginning

As my world continues to grow, I find it impossible to keep in touch with all of those people that I've met. Particularly those who I wish to remain close to. Like butter over too much bread, there is only so much of me. I hoped though, that in this age of technology and advancement, I might find a way to keep you all close and meet more friends in the same way. Hence, the blog.

I want to use this space to talk about the things I'm working on and reading. Ideas still half formed and polished products alike. And like poetry, I write this for myself, but to you. I hope it will be a conversation.

To get started (and explain the meaning of the title of the blog), I will quote Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, which I am currently reading and loving: "In any war story, but especially a true one, it's difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen. What seems to happen becomes its own happening and has to be told that way...when you go to tell about it, there is always that surreal seemingness, which makes the story seem untrue, but which in fact represents the hard and exact truth as it seemed."

I like this quote. As a writer of sometimes magical realism or speculative fiction, this quote rings true for me in so many ways. Seeming is a way of metaphor, not actually how it was, but as close as can be imagined. In this way, seeming is sometimes even more real than the truth. More accessible, more human. Even more so, no story is what it seems. As O'Brien goes on to say, "A true war story is never about war. It's about sunlight. It's about the dawn that spreads out on a river when you know you must cross the river and march into the mountains and do things you are afraid to do. It's about love and memory. It's about sorrow. It's about sisters who never write back and people who never listen."

Maybe I'll put some of my own work on here too. I just submitted a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood to the Fairy Tale Review (for those of you who are interested). I am pleased with it as a whole. Even more though, I am proud of myself for writing and sending in a story completely out of school. Yay! The first step towards becoming an "official" writer...

About Me

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I graduated from Knox College with a BA in Creative Writing and Psychology. I currently attend the Chatham University MFA program in creative writing. Right now, I am trying to discover how to be a writer even outside of school.