Nine Cities, Five States, and No Idea What’s Next

Hey Fan People,

In May, I traveled to nine cities (five states) in the space of three weeks. In June, I added one more annual business trip and a bonus stay at a resort on a whim, all in the name of clearing my head and regaining focus on the question at hand: What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

In each place, that single question became too daunting to even begin drafting an answer. In my heart, I’ve moved to San Diego three times in the last month, but in reality, I’m settling into new possibilities in Baltimore. At least for the time being.

If I’ve learned anything from these travels (and those of the past year), however, it’s that things are moving. My life is changing. Or, at least, I am changing and have changed, and it’s been cool to discover myself along the way.

But now it’s time to get back to the reality of working, freelancing, and writing what I’m affectionately calling “Book3Before30.” Because I’m approaching 30, y’all. And I know for those of you over 30, you’re rolling your eyes and calling me a literal baby. And three years ago, I thought 30 wasn’t that old, too. But I had a life plan then. And now I don’t. So I’m freaking out. But it’s okay, because although I have no plan, I endeavor to have a third book. And that’s almost the same thing.

So stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, here are upcoming events + recent publications and happenings:

Upcoming Events

Friday, July 6, 5-9 p.m. | Yellow Arrow First Friday Reading

On Friday, July 6 I’ll be reading alongside five other amazing women for Yellow Arrow Publishing’s First Friday Reading Series in Baltimore. And listen, I’m not reading from Notes From My Phone or from and the floor was always lava (although both are great books and always on sale.)

I’m reading new material y’all. Which is terrifying, because it’s this week, and I’m still not done with anything. BUT, it will happen. It will be non-fiction. And it will be worth coming out for. #overpromising

Tuesday, July 10 | 7-9 p.m. | Writers & Words

On Tuesday, July 10 I, along with the other wonderful Writers & Words editors, will host our monthly reading series at Charmington’s. It’s a great lineup as always: Julia Friedrich, Melissa Brooks-Cuffee, Talya Tavor, and Victoria Adams-Kennedy.

Recent Publications and Happenings

May 11: Artworks on Maryland Public Access

On May 11,  I was one of the featured artists on Artworks, a Maryland Public Access TV program. Now listen, as I mentioned in my last blog, I was incredibly awkward during the taping. I was promised that I would not look awkward on screen. This was a lie. 

For those of you who know me well, you will have the most cringe-worthy experience, BUT you are also most likely to enjoy it at my expense (and maybe turn it into a drinking game). It’s bad, y’all. I had my  friend take a look to give me honest feedback, and he confirmed that 90% is okay/watchable, and 10% is real bad/uncomfortable. 

All I can say in my defense is that I have never – not once – pretended to be an actress or model. I can only apologize for my facial expressions and hand gestures. I stand by the words though. You can always embrace the words.

Here’s the link.

(To any future, potential dating opportunities: please don’t watch this.)

May 12: Festival of Literary Arts in College Park

On May 12, I had a wonderful opportunity to join a panel of other authors at the 2018 Festival of Literary Arts at the MilkBoy Art House in College Park. I always feel very humbled by these kinds of engagements, because the panels are full of such impressive and eloquent writers.

 

May 13: Dead Rabbits Reading in NYC

On May 13 (yes all of this was the same weekend), I went to New York! Quick side note here:

You guys. I went to New York. For years I have been waiting for boyfriends or potential boyfriends or friends or family who have said “oh yeah, I’ll go to New York with you…” and then they didn’t…over and over and over. So finally, I realized that I’m an adult, and I moved across the country to a place where I knew no one when I was 22…so I can go to freaking New York by myself. And I did. And it was wonderful. And I have so many thoughts and feelings on that city. But more on that in the future…back to why I was actually there…

I was in NYC for the Dead Rabbits Reading which turned out to be just lovely. Thank you Katie Rainey and Devin Kelly for having me. Also, a big shout out and thanks to Chris from Barrelhouse and Austin from College (!) who came out to support me, however accidental :). It was such a cool experience to be in this city that I’ve so built up in my head for years and have that “small world” feel. You guys made that night for me.

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May 28: Review of Gravity Changes

At the end of May my review of Zach Powers’ Gravity Changes dropped on Atticus Review. Spoiler alert: I really liked it.

Check that review out here and buy your copy of the collection here.

June 12: Upshur Books Reading

On Tuesday, June 12 I joined fellow Mason Jar writers Dave  and Stephen Zerrance for a reading at DC’s Upshur Books (which was lovely by the way if you haven’t checked it out before).

 

July 3: Snowflakes

Today, Notes From My Phone* was featured on Snowflakes in a Blizzard with some commentary from me. Check that out here.

One final note: Amid finishing up this week’s blog, I came across an old, half-formed post about a small, but signification moment in November 2013. It’s not an essay – it’s barely even a story – but it resonates with me today:

from November 22, 2013

Children freak me out.

First, there’s the obvious birthing factor: My first boyfriend and I once spent a date-night watching a program on the Discovery Channel that turned out to be all about childbirth. It’s an odd choice, sure, but that’s a different essay entirely. 

During the episode, the commentator said something like, “Passing a human head through the birth canal is comparable to a person swallowing a softball.”

I remember thinking in that moment (while putting more physical couch-space between my boyfriend and me) well, that’s a sentence I’m never going to forget. 

But my fear of children is more than swallowing a softball.

Children are playful and joyful and beautiful, yes, but also they are deep responsibility. They are hunger and curiosity and deep pools of need that I know I am inadequate to fill. And energy. So much energy.

What I’m saying is although they are tiny people, they are big. They’re important. And, if you’re lucky, when they’re yours, they’re yours forever. All of this scares me. And no, it’s not a fear of commitment — if one more person says that, so help me…but I digress.

Kids are needy. Big needy. 

But tonight, I watched ten children run in circles. Seriously, that is how they chose to spend their time. They ran around in circles, sometimes tagging the kid next to them, sometimes just screaming, and I stood off to the side trying not to get in the way.

One little boy brought me a ball and demanded – in the fun way kids do – that I toss it back and forth with him. He laughed and laughed, seeming to think I was purposefully aiming away from him, but really I’m just really bad at basic aiming and hand-eye coordination. This went on for about twenty minutes, him rarely even touching the orange ball with his fingers.

And then, he caught it. Full on. He got both of his tiny hands around it, and there was a small pause where he looked at the ball in his hands before looking up to see my face. “I got it,” he announced, completely surprised by it.

“You did,” I said, also suprised. And then we both cracked up, hysterical. 

Perfection. In that moment, I could not think about a single thing to be worried or angry about. Because this little boy caught the ball.

As I said before, all the life plans I had for myself have gone out the window. I’ve been to more new places in the last year than I have been in my twenty-eight other years on Earth, and still, I don’t quite know what I’m doing or where I’m going. I’m turning thirty in less than six months, and that (for the first time in my life) completely freaks me out. I want to move to California, but I also want to stay in Baltimore, and no matter where I am, it’s a struggle to limit my carbs intake on a daily basis and stick to a basic budget.

But, in 2013, a little boy caught a ball after not catching it all night, and I was there. I was there when his eyes lit up. I was there for the uncontrollable giggles we shared. I was there and I wrote it down so that it would matter to the me of today, because children don’t have long-term agendas. They don’t have worries like we do as adults.

Life never goes as planned. Ever. And if it did, it would be rather boring.

I don’t know what’s next. It could be running away, or toward, but running all the same. But I no longer wonder if I’ll be ready. I’m here. I’m waiting. And I’m ready to catch the ball.

Michelle

 

 

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in San Diego, future home of Michelle

 

 

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