Category Archives: in other news

On how to decorate in an egalitarian household

Last week I bought a house.

No, really. I (and, I suppose, the husband) bought a house, on Thursday. I suppose it would be more accurate to say we bought 30% of a house, which, I think, means we own the bedroom, part of the hallway, and at least half of the staircase. Given that I’ve never owned more than a car, and a large number of Benihana mugs, I’m going to say that’s pretty impressive.

It was our ambition to own a house by the age of 36. We started poking at the idea this summer and, this fall, started reading a few house listings here and there, checking out neighborhoods we liked, looking into the price ranges we could afford.

I don’t think anyone would be surprised to hear that, naturally, the most we could afford was a place with a door. Most of a door. The NOTION of a door.

We’ve lived in the same house for 7 years now. My parents bought it as a sort of investment property: i.e. investment in us not paying some random stranger rent for a house entirely too small for 4 people. The house, as it is, has served us well, but it is not our ideal. Being a spoiled only child, and my parents having absolutely no intention of dying in the next few years, they offered to help out.

It totally looked like we could afford a whole door.

Image

No shit! A real door!

In the end, we found a lovely house, newly remodeled, in the neighborhood I’d spent my first ten years and to which I’d always vowed to return (the neighborhood, not my childhood though, at this rate, I’m going to say that would not be a poor idea, either). We put a bid on the house December 27th. Haggling commenced, and a contract was drafted New Year’s Eve. Inspection was January 9th, and we closed on January 30th. 

We do things fast in this family. The husband and I were dating a mere year before we moved in together, another year before we got married. I was knocked up before our first anniversary. Waiting is not our forte.

Owning a house seems like a massively grown-up thing to do. This is difficult, because the husband and I have a combined maturity age of 25 on our best days. On our worst, it’s also 25, but I account for something like only 6 of those years. I am completely untrustworthy. I like glitter too much.

Given the husband did the majority of the loan handling, and freaking out about said loan handling, our combined maturity age has been somewhere around 32, where I behave like a seven year old. I love packing, but I also love planning and plotting. I also have several large collections, including, but not limited to, the aforementioned Benihana cups, 80s Happy Meal toys, and knee socks. I am, in essence, an elementary school student with a broad vocabulary of curse words. 

As the husband’s maturity age is currently hovering in the very adult category of mid-twenties, he is hoping for an Adult House. I have repeated to him that owning a house does not change my personality. I planted my skeleton flamingos in the front yard the day we closed. I have plans for the arrangement of my Russian premiere nesting dolls. I named our house The Silver Devastation on Foursquare.

Yesterday found us with a hammer and nails for mounting artwork. I pointed at my favorite tile in our bathroom, a piece we bought in Taos years ago, of a skeleton on the john, reading a newspaper. I have a large collection of Day of the Dead artwork, in the range of “cute” to “outright tacky.”

The husband shifted uneasily. “Are you sure you want that in the upstairs bathroom? What about the kids’?”

I huffed. “You can’t shunt everything I like to the basement!” *cue foot stomp*

We bought a lovely, hand-woven rug. We bought a couch, and curtains. We put up shelves. Today, I carried around my tea cups from the 70s, emblazoned with stoned-looking animals. It hasn’t come to pass that my husband has broken my cherished items “on accident” to save himself from their presence, but I’m keeping an eye on him.

He will never lay hands on my glitter “ho” sign.

 


Ms. Writinglove or: How I learned to stop procrastinating and just write dammit

I write this with a sore wrist and a body rather severely lacking sleep. I am not sure where the former came from, but the latter seems to be my condition the older I get. It’s genetic, to a degree, but also the inability of my brain to just shut the F up and let me sleep already.

Being as it is the end of the year, sore wrist and sleepiness aside, I thought it appropriate to do a bit of a recap of the last year – or, at the very least, a bit of waxing on months past. I have a rather poor memory, so I may rely heavily on poetic license. I promise I’ll try to avoid claiming a close friendship with Beyonce.

I wrote a lot this year. Given the current status of my publication career (read: very small), I know it is difficult for people to see, let alone understand, the sheer amount of writing I’ve done this year. It’s a little frustrating to know the number (that’s right, I went and totaled it*) and have people still need to ask “Where have you been published?”

The truth is: this is my reality. I’m not going to claim that it hasn’t been a hard slog this year. I did not have the kind of success I would have liked (and maybe, in my wilder “interviewing myself while showering” fantasies) once I really buckled down and made an effort in my writing career. Submitting my work had mixed results, most negative. I have, for the first time in my life, earned some version of an income from my writing, as small as it is. I have seen my work in print, and had readers give me good reviews.

Still, it’s hard. This year alone, I’ve gotten around 50 rejections, most of them form, and completely unhelpful. The few times I (and often in conjunction with Laila) received a rejection that strayed even slightly from form, it was rarely anything concretely constructive – for the same manuscript, different reasons for rejection were given, and none of them were something necessarily fixable, like style, like setting. There is a sort of burning that comes with multiple rejections. You start to chafe a bit.

Still, I wrote. I had a spate, here and there, where I would double down, hide out, and refuse to write, like a child who thinks refusing to do homework will punish her teacher. I contemplated giving up, finding a career that involved leaving the house – or just moving to the mountains and becoming a goat herd. I pouted, I tantrumed, I berated myself.

I went back to writing. I say that it’s the only thing I’m good at, but it’s also the only thing I like doing. Writing is a joy, and writing is my job. It’s difficult to escape either, or give them up easily.

This year, I wrote collaboratively with Laila and, together, we wrote one novella, and three full-length manuscripts, including one that we are furiously editing as we speak, in order to release through independent press means next year. On my own, I wrote two full-length adult fiction novels, one young adult magical realism story, and nearly two dozen short stories, both mainstream and erotic: one, “Steps,” appeared in Anything She Wants; “Invincible” was included in The Dying Goose Fall edition. In the next year, I will be appearing in (among others not currently listed): Best Bondage Erotica 2014, Book Lovers: Sexy Stories from Under the Covers, and A Princess Bound: Naughty Fairy Tales for Women.

I suppose the biggest, most important lesson 2013 taught me was the thing I’ve been saying all along: write. You have to write. There is a success in writing despite all odds, and there is a success in believing in what you are doing, despite any concrete, sharable outcome.

And, really, when you do finally have that outcome, it is all the sweeter.

2014 is already setting up to present new challenges and opportunities alike. I’m excited, even as my more negative side already wants to hide under the desk. I’m setting myself some new goals, and looking forward to the many plans I’ve made.

I hope your last year was as bizarrely enriching as mine was. Or, at least, that you got to drink a lot during it. Peace out. I’ll see you next year.

*In totaling my word count for the year, I only included finished pieces. This excluded a half-finished novella, the start of two different sequels, an abandoned novel, and at least 6 unfinished short stories. Taking that hit into account, my finished work, this year, totaled 465,455 words. BOOYAH.