Surprise! I Got Married! …Six Months Ago

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Come sit down, deary, and hear a love story full of mishaps and matrimony.

It starts a little over nine years ago, when Dan and I started talking on AIM, became MySpace friends, and eventually more than that. We had at least two classes together junior year that I can remember–English and College Chemistry, the latter of which still makes friends giggle because chemistry. For our first date, Dan took me to see Stephen King’s The Mist, an adaptation that neither of us enjoyed, which was a shame because I adore the short story and had been reading it in my spare time not long before. We were actually supposed to go out the night before, but it was late, it was dark, and it was December in the middle of nowhere, so Dan wasn’t able to find my house. The next day was much luckier, it turned out.

We went to college together, moved into our first apartment (along with Dan’s future best man) our junior year of college, and now here we are. He was my first serious boyfriend, and in all that time I didn’t need to bother with another.

A little over two years ago, we went to Boston Comic Con for the first time, and the whole time leading up to it Dan kept telling me about these really good tacos that he’d had in Boston and how we should go. Silly me, I agreed to it before we even got to BCC, so by the end of the afternoon at the con, I was feeling gross in the early August heat–but I let him drag me around because a. I love tacos and b. he swore they would be worth it. He got us a water taxi, which was also very cool and a good bit of relief from the heat, and I felt a little better, until we got off the dock and back into the summer heat. Then the sneaky bugger begged me to make a pit stop in some park “over there” because it “looked cool.” Please imagine me, dragging my feet around oceanside Boston because Dan wants to go sit in a park for the view, and he couldn’t even figure out where the park entrance was. I just wanted tacos! And home!

Now imagine Dan as we’re finally in the park, walking toward a bench, when a wedding party walks by us and the first thing out of my mouth is, “Ew, a wedding.” Not because I meant it, mind you, but because I’m an asshole.

Well, we got to the bench, I finally got to sit down, and it began: Dan started saying sweet things (sweeter than usual, I mean) with his hand in his pocket (which I promise wasn’t inappropriate), and in what felt like two seconds he was kneeling, and asking me to marry him. My response?

“Duh.”

Because I am a woman of many kind words.

From there, it was about two years of surprisingly simple planning. We always hear horror stories about wedding planning disasters and day-of dilemmas. Well, I only dealt with one of the two. The planning itself went smoothly, from finding my dress two months after our engagement to finding a venue we could easily afford to rent for two days (a prep day and an event day). I even found two bridesmaids dresses at the mall during prom season that were less than $100 combined and were damn near the same fabric despite being from different stores. My attitude through most of the planning was very, “Whatever,” because nothing seemed worth stressing out over, and most things came easily as a result.

And then the wedding day came. Strike that–the day before the wedding came. I had taken the day off from work to help prep our venue, a little pond-side cabin rented from our college alma mater, and on my way there I received a text from Dan: “There’s someone here with Connecticut license plates and I don’t recognize them but they seem to know me.” I didn’t even respond since I couldn’t be of much help while I was in the car on my way there. (My mom was driving, don’t worry. Don’t text and drive!)

As we pulled into the parking lot, Dan came over to meet us, and I have this memory of him starting with, “Don’t freak out,” though I don’t guarantee he did, before telling me that we’d been double booked. My wedding venue had been double booked. I looked around, put up my hands, and said, “I’m just gonna sit in the car for a minute.” And that’s exactly what I did. Even then I managed not to yell or anything, as tempting as it was, because while it would have made me feel better, that’s about all it would have accomplished.

When I finally got out of the car, Dan told me it was just that day that had been double booked. That was fine; we could find a work around for the prep day. The other group was only having a rehearsal dinner anyway. Dan went to the booking office to figure out what the hell had happened, and I went to Walmart to escape for a while and look for a cheap garter. (Fun fact: I found none and ended up just going without.) Walking around Walmart, I was texting a friend, telling her it was just the one day, it was fine, but what the hell? Because someone had made a pretty serious mistake.

As I was walking around Dan called from the campus office and while he started with, “Everything’s fine,” he went on to tell me that our actual wedding date had also been double booked. Honestly, how was I still not screaming at this point? He told me that the office had found the other group (a birthday party) a different venue for the next day, and that our wedding was fine. It was all going to be fine.

I self medicated with Taco Bell.

The next morning, I woke up at my parents’ house with my maid of honor, only bridesmaid, and my parents, though my dad left early to start setting up to cook with Dan. We did a little getting ready, my mom got gussied up, and the four of us ladies piled into my tiny car. There were no real disasters on the drive, until about fifteen minutes from the venue. Something in the universe made my mom look into the rearview mirror at the girls and ask, “You grabbed your dresses, right?” We got one affirmative and one, “Shit.”

Can we please just take a moment to appreciate the fact that I still didn’t murder anyone?

My mom called in reinforcements (her best friend) to try and pick up the dress on her way, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Our officiant had another ceremony to cover after ours, so the dress just didn’t make it in time. My bridesmaid walked down the aisle in a black shirt and black shorts, plus the gray sweater that I had gotten her and my maid of honor as gifts. Thankfully, she didn’t look too out of place, and the dress did arrive in time for photos.

The rest of the ceremony was relatively smooth. Apparently there was a mass of birds above our heads, but I was a little too busy staring into Dan’s beautiful face to realize it. We did a handfasting ceremony, which was nice because it not only took the pressure off of us both to write our own vows, but it also provided us with a beautiful, if messy, set of knotted cords to hang in our house.

Everything after the ceremony is a blur of photos, a quick bite to eat, a bouquet toss, and then everyone leaving. To be honest, I hated most of the experience. I’m ecstatic to be married to Dan now, but I don’t much recommend a wedding to people. It felt like more money and more hassle than was necessary, and thankfully I don’t plan to do it again any time in the future.

March 24, 2017
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Project 365: Days 74-80

I have to admit that there are a couple of days (mostly over the weekend) when I was absolutely exhausted and struggling to get photos because my mom was visiting and she stays up very late and we kept busy each day. Overall, though, I’m really happy with what I came up with, especially the food photos. Now that the kitchen is coming together and cleaned regularly, it’s not the worst thing to get photos of finished baking projects.

cinnamon raisin bread74/365: Last Wednesday as part of my bread project I decided to whip up this cinnamon raisin bread from The Joy of Baking. I’m really trying to utilize that cookbook the most lately because I’ve had it for a long time but always seem to use the same three recipes. (Fun fact: The day after I made this, Lexi ate all but the first two slices Dan and I got. She’s just awful sometimes, but I guess I still love her.)

guinness stout chocolate cupcakes with bailey's irish cream frosting75/365: To get festive, I also ended up making these Guinness chocolate cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish cream Swiss meringue buttercream on Thursday. I’d never made a Swiss meringue buttercream before, but it was a first-time success and my new favorite type of buttercream. I’m also in love with my new, proper piping bag and coupler, and I love the tip (1M) that I picked out. It’s such a beautiful swirl!

honeycomb shelves corner76/365: My favorite view into our living room. I love this corner so much, especially now that the little black bookcase is better organized than it used to be. Fun fact: Dan built those honeycomb shelves, and he’s had a couple of requests from people to make them some, but he always says he’s not good enough yet. I think he’s wrong. I think they’re fantastic.

wooden address sign77/365: Dan’s sister got us this sign a couple of years ago, shortly after we moved into our house. We’re planning on moving in a couple of years, so we’ll have to get a new one because it’s pretty darn cute, and it definitely fits my homey country house aesthetic (if not my personal weirdo goth-punk one).

cactus plant78/365: My one and only cactus in the house. I’m not sure if I want anymore, but I do like this one a lot–even if Home Depot thought it was a good idea to hot glue a fake flower to the top. In fact, my plants collection hasn’t grown at all over the past week or two, which is a little sad, but maybe I’ll indulge again after Dan starts his new job next week.

green day shirt79/365: I got this shirt at the Green Day concert in Worcester last Friday, and I’m absolutely in love with it. I saw it back in October when I saw them at the House of Blues but didn’t get a chance to grab one, so I made sure to pick it up as soon as we got into the venue.

small parts 004 zine80/365: Small Parts. I’ve been struggling to work on some of the zines I have in mind right now (which is a lot of them), so I spent yesterday picking out some finished pieces to throw together a new issue of Small Parts. I haven’t published one of these in a few years, so I’m excited to have a new one to put out. I’ll be spending today cutting, assembling, and stapling the finished issue.

March 22, 2017
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I Am More Than My Brand

Posted in Personal by
i am more than my brand header

I shared a tweet recently that asked, “Do you think our obsession with personal branding accounts for our inability to understand that people can be many things at once?”

For years I’ve struggled to wrap my head around the idea that I can be a multifaceted human being. Most often this applies to my sense of style, which I only began to understand last summer, but it applies to many things in my life: the number of hobbies I indulge in, the weird interests I take up. It so often feels like I can’t be these things or like these things all at the same time because baking for a week straight means I’m not writing enough or writing in too many genres doesn’t let people know what to expect or indulging in TSwift makes me a fake goth.

I don’t think branding is solely to blame because I’ve felt this way since before I understood the concept, but it does contribute to the issue. “You have to have a blog niche.” You have to play to your audience, rather than your strengths or personal interests. Who you are has to be distinct. It not only echoes the teenage need to label everyone around you–goth, nerd, punk, slut, jock–which already ignores the beauty and depth of individuals at times and pits us against each other, but also can come off as more acceptable because it’s in the adult world, it’s for business, it’s necessary.

A lot of us are feeling disenchanted with the blogging landscape, and I think this is a big reason why. People get so focused on niches and branding and being one thing to their audience but I believe that for the majority of us it’s unrealistic, it’s unfair, and it’s inauthentic. We’re all more than just what we can offer to others. We’re real people with real feelings and a vast range of interests, thoughts, and dreams. Why should we ignore any of those for the sake of popularity, SEO, or personal branding? At worst I think we should learn to allow these things to work together, and at best I think they shouldn’t be a concern at all. Don’t let the endless blog how-tos that ultimately all say the same thing get you down.

If focusing on brand works for you, go for it. I’m not at all saying you’re not allowed to worry about it, but don’t let it get so deep that you drag yourself down and find yourself drowning in the “rules” of being a successful blogger.

This is my declaration that I’m going to be who I am, and sometimes that might not have an obvious benefit to my readers (a product, a how-to, whatever), but I’m okay with that because we’re not just our brands.

We’re ourselves.
We shouldn’t forget that.

March 20, 2017
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A Quick Contemplation on Comparison

Posted in Personal, Writer Life by

Comparison is the thief of joy.
Theodore Roosevelt

Since I’ve started putting so much of my time and energy into writing, running my distro, and doing things that make me happy, I’ve felt so much better about…everything. I’m writing and mailing out more zines than ever, it seems, and I’m getting so much support and enthusiasm from everyone around me. I’m not boxed in by routine but still producing so much great stuff every day. Life feels great.

Why, then, is it still so easy for me to look at the life and work–the Instagram, the writer’s website, the published works list–of a woman I went to college with four years ago and have barely spoken to since and get so down on myself? When I look at her posts, it suddenly feels as if I’m not doing enough or not doing things “right.”

The list of questions that run through my head looks something like this:

Am I less legitimate in my work if I’m not submitting all the time? If I don’t have a list of links to web publications who have accepted me, then am I really doing anything worth bragging about? Should I be spending less time posting and even more time writing? Should I be writing different things? Why don’t I have as many followers as she does? What am I doing wrong? Am I not (cute, quirky, smart, stylish, etc.) enough?

All of this occurs in a matter of seconds, of course.

It gets my head all muddled, and I start to feel like what I want is wrong or isn’t what I really want. I wouldn’t call it jealousy because I like that she’s doing well–I want us both to be successful–but it’s also far from confident or secure. I just can’t help wondering if that’s what I should be doing; maybe there is a right way to go about this writer thing.

It’s confusion and self-doubt, and I’d like to think it will go away with time and more hard work, but I know there’s almost no chance of that happening for good. If it does, then I’ve probably gotten overly confident in myself and turned into an asshole. We don’t want that to happen.

In between all of the good days, the ones when I get compliments from friends and strangers who have just finished reading a new zine they got from me or the ones when I’m just happy, there will still be the ones when I’m asking myself if I’m doing this right or why things seem so different for me compared to others doing this. While it gets old and depressing, maybe it’s not the worst thing. Maybe it keeps me on my toes, self-evaluating and evolving over time as we all do (and should).

It’s a bummer to think that maybe someone is doing it better and to know it’s not worth fretting about but being unable to stop yourself.

What do you do when you get down like this? Let’s chat about it and lift each other’s spirits!

March 17, 2017
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Project 365: Days 67-73

(I guess this week’s theme was cats and food.)

My photos are all over the place this week skills wise. I could sit here and pick a part a good number of not just these photos but a whole handful I took over the weekend. Some of the ones in my folders actually are better, but they’re already being used in other posts. I think I’m most disappointed in the photo of the babka filling. I could not for the life of me figure out the best way to photograph it, so I think I’m going to need to read up on food photography over the next couple of days–especially with some St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes on the docket, along with cinnamon buns for my mom on Friday–and take a look at how other people style their own food photos. (That, or I should just wait until I’m finished cooking to take pictures.)

Ugh, guys, I almost don’t even want to share these…

67/365: Yawning or eating souls? Photos of Charlie yawning are some of my favorite, and I’m seriously considering using one as inspiration for my future Charlie tattoo. I was originally planning on a handsome, stoic photo reference, but part of me thinks this is a little more reflective of his true personality.

68/365: Chocolate babka. I made this as the second in my twelve breads project, and I have no doubt I’ll be making it again. I used this David Lebovitz recipe, and while I think I’ll make a few changes (nixing the cinnamon, mostly), it was a very good bread experience.

69/365: Chocolate babka, completed. The cross section of the babka is absolutely beautiful, right? I love that you can see not only the chocolate swirls but also the pieces of chopped pecans. I can’t recommend this bread enough, and I’m already looking forward to another batch!

70/365: My nephew Kenny. Over the weekend Dan and I visited our friends Katie and John (Katie was my maid of honor last year!), and one of my favorite parts of visiting is always their cat Kenny. Dan was determined to fix one of their broken stairs while we were there, so I caught a snap of Kenny supervising the project.

71/365: Life goal: Achieved. I promise I’ll be doing a post on this soon, but here’s just a small peek at the unplanned trip we took up to Lincoln, NH with Katie and John on Sunday to see the marker for the Betty & Barney Hill Incident. It even inspired me to write up a mini zine on it, which I hope to have finished in the next week or two.

72/365: What’s a bed? We bought Charlie a new cat bed because I thought he would like one for lying in the sun in my office when we’re in there together. I should have known better. (Meanwhile, Lexi has tried to claim it on her own because she doesn’t realize that she’s a bigger dog.)

73/365: Snow day. I feel a little badly for enjoying snow again, but since I’m working from home, I get to enjoy it solely through observation without having to, y’know, engage with it. I can understand why yesterday’s late-season Snowpocalypse was a huge mess and frustration, though. Soon…Spring will be here soon. I promise.

March 15, 2017
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Chills and Thrills: 9 of My Horror Favorites

Posted in Bookish, Horror, Pop Culture by
favorites of horror

I don’t know if it’s much of a secret that I’m a fan of horror. Am I the biggest fan? Probably not. But I am writing my next issue of Whatsername about it in part, and I do spend a lot of time trying to scare the shit out of myself. My horror fandom doesn’t lie strictly in the obvious–gore and the like, and in fact I’m not much of a fan of gore and torture porn-style horror, though even those have their exceptions–but I’m open to just about anything that could be enveloped by the horror umbrella. My favorite things are ghost stories, the occult, and extraterrestrials (think Close Encounters or Fire in the Sky), but I’ll try just about anything that looks like it’ll keep me up at night. As a result, I’ve racked up a somewhat staggering number of favorites over the years, and I’ve decided to share a few in the hope of connecting with someone–anyone–over our heretofore unknown mutual affection for being terrifyingly entertained.

Some of these favorites are pretty popular, but hey–that means we’re more likely to bond over them, right?

reading

  • Rue Morgue magazine. / This is a relatively recent discovery for me. Last October I did a browse through the entertainment section of Barnes & Noble and spotted Rue Morgue in the racks. The alluring shade of green on the cover of their 19th anniversary issue–a Frankenstein special–caught my eye, and I snatched it up. They specialize in all things horror, from the classics, like Dracula and the just-mentioned Frankenstein, but also new work coming out of the genre, like The Girl With All the Gifts (both the book and film, which I am dreaming of devouring asap), Split, and 2015’s Krampus.
  • Locke & KeyLocke & Key by Joe Hill was my first horror comic series, and there’s a reason I’m still obsessed with it years after my first reading. Not only is the story itself perfectly terrifying, but the art takes everything to an even greater level of scare. Gabriel Rodriguez’s skills are astounding, and I am so happy to have this collection in my bookcase.
  • Basically anything by Stephen King. / Okay, but really–if you know me at all then you know by now how much of a Stephen King fan I am. I’ve still only read a handful of his books relative to his total repertoire, but I’ve got a few favorites already, and I have yet to be disappointed in anything of his. I’ve read Carrie the most times, I assume because it appeals to my young adult/coming-of-age tale sensibilities, even if it’s not strictly described as such. I’d also list It as a favorite because it’s the only one of his novels thus far to truly terrify me.

Honorable mentions:  The Shining. Horns. 20th Century Ghosts. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Afterlife with Archie.

listening

  • Bizarre States podcast. / I’ve been listening to Bizarre States for about two years, and it is hands down my favorite podcast. It’s not always the most organized–no matter how hard Jess and Bowser try–but it’s great entertainment, and they are so genuine in their love for all the weird, spooky shit they talk about each week. Plus, they never fail to have me laughing my ass off in the middle of my Thursday night bubble baths. (They literally have an episode titled, “Can you shit out of your mouth?” So there ya go.)
  • My Favorite Murder podcast. / While this one is relatively more professional than BStates, it’s still kind of a hot mess at times, but that’s part of what we murderinos love about it. Karen and Georgia may take nearly an hour to get to talking about that week’s murders, but it’s another podcast full of authenticity. They make no habit of faking tight-laced professionalism and instead produce the podcast like two friends, just chatting about murder–which is exactly what they are and exactly why I like it.
  • Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls by Murderdolls. / A little different from the other two of this category, this album by horror-punk band Murderdolls is so much hardcore fun. My favorite tracks include “Dead in Hollywood,” which makes reference to an array of classic Hollywood horror icons (Dracula, Norman Bates, and actor Vincent Price, to name a few), “B-Movie Scream Queen,” and “Love at First Fright,” a love letter to The Exorcist’s protagonist Regan. The references have a hilarious creativity to them, and it’s just a fun album to listen to for a horror lover.

Honorable mentions:  NoSleep podcast. The Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold. History Goes Bump podcast. Welcome to Night Vale. The Horrorpops.

watching

  • House of 1,000 Corpses. / Something of a “modern classic” for me, and my favorite so far of Rob Zombie’s film work. While its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects, is a great film as well, it’s a little glossier than House of 1,000 Corpses, and I think half of what makes House so fun is its lack of frills. While it’s not as strictly campy as other horror selections might be (like Bride of Chucky, below), it has some darkly comical moments to it–at least if you have the right twist to your sense of humor. Plus, it has Chris Hardwick and Rainn Wilson, so it can’t be bad.
  • Crimson Peak. / I’m honestly obsessed with this movie. I saw it in the theater with Dan when it came out, and I straight up fell in love with the aesthetics and the beautiful way that it was a ghost story without being only that. I’ve always heard good things about Guillermo del Toro, and while I never doubted any of them, I also had never really experienced them for myself until this film. Now I want to go through every other film he’s ever worked on and thoroughly acquaint myself with his mastery.
  • Bride of Chucky. / While I like the original Child’s Play films well enough, and they’re closer to the serious horror end of the spectrum, I can’t deny my love for the camp that is Bride of Chucky. Jennifer Tilly’s portrayal of Tiffany is a hilarious, sexy, and scary character alongside Chucky, inhabited by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray. I watched this a lot as part of my middle school goth-punk days, and it’s one I still adore for its hilarity and horror.

Honorable mentions:  The Exorcist. Ouija. Fire in the Sky. The Conjuring. Krampus. Poltergeist (1982).

One thing I haven’t gotten into yet is horror video games. For some reason, those scare me more than absolutely anything else–it’s why I’ve never managed to play my way through Resident Evil 4, despite having it for years. I do love watching playthroughs, though, and I’d love to get into the subgenre more in the future.

Are you a fan of the horror genre? Do you have any recommendations?

March 13, 2017
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I Don’t Know What I Expected But It Wasn’t That: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish by
the duff by kody keplinger

This is what I get for knowing the summary–just the summary–of a book’s movie adaptation before I get into reading the source material. It seemed like, through no fault of the author, every other turn of a page brought me further from what I’d expected of the novel and toward something surprising, scandalous, and altogether satisfying. So in case you, like I, have a misconception about Kody Keplinger’s The Duff, allow me to enlighten you.

Bianca Piper has just been informed by the novel’s resident jackass, Wesley Rush, that she’s the “Duff” of her friend group–the Designated Ugly Fat Friend, whose purpose in the eyes of the aforementioned jackass and guys like him is to help boost the appeal of the more attractive girls around her and to garner their sympathy when he talks to her. After this revelation, Bianca finds her life becoming a mess, and her only distraction is in the “enemies-with-benefits” relationship she impulsively strikes up with…the jackass.

I was taken aback as I read the first couple of chapters because–fair warning if you were planning on handing this to your child under fifteen or so–the book turned out to have way more swearing and sex than I was used to in a young adult novel. Even though I’m not opposed to those things, I was caught off guard at first. Once I got used to this ultimately refreshing and arguably realistic style to the novel, I felt like I slipped easily into the rest of Bianca’s world. In fact, while I couldn’t relate too all of the wild teen sex of the novel, I definitely had a mouth like Bianca’s when I was her age, so it lent credence to the story, in my opinion.

I like to read the author bios at the end of books, and reading Keplinger’s I learned that she wrote The Duff while she was in her senior year of school, and while it’d be easy to write this book off as a teen writer’s whimsical effort and to claim that inexperience was a detriment to the novel, that wasn’t the case here at all. As it happens, this is something that I think benefited the veracity of the novel. Keplinger wasn’t writing with that disconnect that some adults can have when they’re writing for young adults and teens, so while it could give a youthfulness to the style of the writing, it didn’t drag down the story in anyway. It wasn’t messy or overwrought; Keplinger’s novel touches on a number of important factors and issues in a teen’s life and does so in a way that doesn’t make them feel slapdash or detached from one another.

Keplinger features significant issues–family problems, crumbling self-confidence, rocky friendships–throughout the story, and she does so in a heartfelt, honest way. There’s no talking down to the reader, no saccharine moments (not with sharp-tongued Bianca as the narrator), and no drawn out love triangle–even if Bianca does have her eye on two boys at times. There’s just a story with heart that tugged at my own as I read.

I laughed. I cried. I enjoyed the hell out of this book.

March 10, 2017
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Project 365: Days 60-66

Honestly, when I was putting this week’s post together, I thought half the pictures were just going to be awful because I kind of half-assed it the last couple of days. As it turns out, they’re really not that bad at all. Not perfect, but also not nearly as disappointing as I was expecting–not disappointing at all, actually! I think my favorite turned out to be the tabletop while I was putting together my new perzine. Even though the whole right side is blown out, I kind of like that (and I promise I was aware of it when I took the photo). Of course, I can’t forget about Charlie, either. I took the photo of him while I was getting some for my office tour post. He’s just the best working companion.

60/365: Essay writing. I spend so much time in this exact scene lately, but I have yet to get tired of it–probably because I allow myself to still switch it up once in a while. Some days I work in the living room, but most days (especially during the week), I make good use of this desk of mine.

61/365: Zine assembly. I spent so many hours on Thursday cutting and pasting for my newest zine, and it thankfully only resulted in one minor meltdown. I’m pretty sure every time I do a new zine it becomes my favorite, and that’s just as true with this one (though I’m still super critical of my work).

62/365: My office assistant. If my week doesn’t include a Charles, then did I really accomplish my 365 roundup? He’s been loving the sunny weather we’ve had, and he spends so many days sprawled out across my office floor. It’s nice to have the company.

63/365: Tsum Tsums. I both love and hate how inexpensive these little dudes can be because if I’m out shopping and stumble on one (or two, or five) that I want, it’s not likely I’ll be able to say no. Luckily, I’m kind of particular about what characters I get, so my collection hasn’t gotten too large yet.

64/365: Sticky. I made sticky buns for the first time over the weekend, and they were a massive success. I’ve been trying to use my cookbooks more, rather than Pinterest, so this is another from The Joy of Cooking, like last week’s cookies. I was skeptical about the dough at first, but it turned out to be just fantastic!

65/365: Run rabbit. I picked up a couple of new planters from Target’s dollar spot over the weekend, and this one is probably my favorite, even though I think it’s actually supposed to be a candy dish. I’ve had my eye on the $3 bunnies for a while now, so I’m excited to finally have one.

66/365: Goals. Confession: I’m awful at remembering my own goals, so while procrastinating yesterday, I decided to make this little printed checklist of my 2017 goals for the back of my planner, and I’m so glad I did! (Fun fact: The sticky buns are one of my twelve breads!) It even flips over so I can list the breads I make and the hikes we go on and such.

March 8, 2017
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Working Girl: My First Month of Self-Employment + an Office Tour

Posted in Personal, Writer Life by

I mentioned in my February wrap-up that at the beginning of last month I took my last day at the copy shop and started working from home. Over the past month or so since then, I’ve managed to put out three new zines (two minis and a perzine), plus a newsletter for Nine Lives to go out with all orders and to offer as a freebie at the upcoming Pioneer Valley Zine Fest. On top of that, I’ve been keeping up with my Patreon rewards–and I am so, so thankful to everyone who’s pledged so far!–working on a novel, working on various essays for more perzines, making a neverending list of mini zine topics, and taking care of the house. I have been one busy bee.

When I started, I was splitting my days into two parts: In the morning, I would work on my novel either until I’d hit my word count for the day or until lunchtime came. Then I’d have lunch, and in the afternoon, I’d work on just about anything else I needed to that hadn’t been done in the morning: Patreon, Facebook posts, blog work, zine orders, whatever. I kept that up for about two weeks, but then the routine started to feel stale. My approach now is to simply do what I’m in the mood for. This means I’ve been doing a lot more zine work than novel work for the past couple of weeks, but I’m enjoying it, and I’ve gotten so much done, so I have no complaints.

As part of the agreement for me to stay home, Dan and I decided that I’m in charge of keeping the house relatively clean and also working on some of the renovations (although I have to admit I haven’t done any of that yet because I’m really picky about my renovation activities). To be honest, it was mostly my idea because I would much rather be home listening to podcasts and making the house presentable than out in the world dealing with people, and it’s working quite well so far. The house feels much cleaner than it ever really has been, and it helps me to feel productive on days when I can’t get myself to write as much as I’d like.Dan has especially been helpful and supportive in the transition: he’s agreed to do so many building projects to make my office the perfect work space for me, making me a brand new desk (which I love) and some corner shelves to help organize the space; he listens to all of my crazy ideas and is always enthusiastic about them; and he’s been the most supportive voice when I’m freaking out thinking this is a horrible idea and will ruin my life. I swear, he’s not even human. It’s amazing. It’s something that I really need right now because as much as I needed the change, it was scary to leave a job I’d been at for nearly three years.

As much as I liked my job and the people I worked with, the overall environment was stressing me out far too much to justify staying any longer. One of my coworkers on my last day asked if I was excited and I just shrugged and tried not to cry because it was scary and sad. I don’t like change. I don’t like not getting a regular paycheck every two weeks. But it was a necessary big step for me to take right now.

I’m not opposed to going back to a “normal job” at some point, but for now I think things are working out well for Dan and me. I’m feeling better than I have in a long time and get to do exactly what I’ve dreamed of for years. Is it a little harder in some ways? Well, yeah. Of course. But I’m just thinking of it as, “I’m now as uncool as I was in high school,” because I could never afford the things that I thought would make me cool, which is kind of okay since I never really cared about that anyway–and I still don’t. (I’m rambling. Sorry.)

Ultimately, the worry and the fear are worth it because I’m kind of living my dream right now, and I realize how incredibly lucky that is. I don’t know if I’ve ever been this productive with my writing before, and it feels like my life has aligned in the perfect way, at least for the moment, to be everything I really need it to be.

Photos: A detail shot of my desk; my built-in bookcase and wedding bouquet; my corner shelves, which include some plants, mini zines, washi tape, and other miscellaneous decorations; my art + postcard collection above my desk as seen from the dining room; one of my favorite and most photographed corners, with my first couple of plants and my record player; and a wide shot of my built-ins, which were the main reason I wanted this house.


If you’re at all interested in helping me keep up this work-from-home habit, please consider buying some zines or pledging to my Patreon. You’re also welcome to just send a small donation to my paypal (sonyaeatszombies[at]gmail[dot]com), but it seems more fun to get something out of it, if you ask me. Remember that writing is work, so both emotional and monetary support are necessary to help me keep going.

March 6, 2017
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the trunk.: A Flash Fiction Piece

Posted in Writer Life, Writing by

She didn’t know where she was when she woke to a world of blackness, no sound but her own breath. She sat up, gravity telling her she was on her back, and her skull collided with metal, a dull, ringing thud. Pressing a hand to her forehead, she heard the scrape of a chair’s legs across tile. “Are you awake?” A shock of light burst through a square above her face. A wince, a gasp, and she saw him. Bone white skin with oily black hair and gray eyes like slate in winter peered at her through the opening. “Good evening. You’ve slept long.” She thought he smiled, but the look was wolfish; she turned away. “No! Look at me!” His hand slammed against the top of the trunk. She refused. “Fine. Be that way you little bitch. Be that way!” The slat banged shut. She didn’t scream, didn’t beat against the top of the steel trunk. Instead, she let her hands wander across every surface as she listened and waited for her moment: If she didn’t leave alive, neither of them would.

March 3, 2017
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