I can now say that I’ve been published in a place that’s also published work by Robert Olen Butler, Aimee Bender, and Joyce Carol Oates! Holy shit is an understatement. (You can tell how long it took them to get through their slush pile by how old my author bio pic is here. 😂)
So this is one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me: My work is in an America’s Emerging Writers anthology! Z Publishing House mentioned that they’re now in a position to offer solo-author book deals, and they’re deciding on those deals mostly through Amazon reviews.
Long story short: If you read this and leave a positive review with a name drop for me, you will be doing me an incredibly serious solid, and I will legit be eternally grateful. Thank you!
Identifiables go first. It’ll all burn the same, but I’m paranoid, and I want my IDs to melt and liquify till there’s no chance of being found before burning the other, more important things. There’s no way of googling this without looking like a weirdo, so the first time will have to be a charm.
I’m in the middle of the woods, looking like a witch preparing a meeting of a coven. I was responsible enough, though, to set up contingency plans. I have a fire blanket, for instance. I don’t want the whole forest going down with me.
Clothes are next, because I figure the fabrics will create a slow burn that can sustain the rest of it. I’ll only keep what can fit in a small backpack, and that sure as hell won’t include the clothes with dark memories attached to them.
So the fancy bras go first. I feel like a ‘70s feminist until I remind myself that mine is a selfish liberation–a revolution of one. And soon, that one will cease to exist to the rest of the world.
The slips, the graphic tees, the pajamas with cats on them. Truth be told, my backpack is already packed–filled with muted colors, whites and grays and blacks. Clothes I’ve never worn before, never would’ve worn before.
Everything must go. Like a going out of business sale at a store with sentimental value but no prospects of a future. I mentally prepared for this, knew what I had to do, but the tears fall anyway. There’s no way to practice dying, even if you know you’ll keep breathing afterward.
There’s an origin story. Of course there is. I won’t get too into mine, but it mostly consists of hurt and death. The real death of others, the almost-death of myself at my own hands, and now this fake death I’m staging. Permutations of death, caressed by a jazzy, sullen sadness. A singer under a lone and foggy spotlight, scatting the blues over improvised chords that somehow find their form.
Photo albums, old letters and notes, postcards from places I’ve never been but others have. All curling and yellowing inside the pale fire on this cold night, snow around the fire like a cosmic contradiction.
The rest of it goes in easy after that. Trash bags that I filled with my things, emptied out into the fire, trash bags that I dragged over from the trunk of my car, the car that I’ll douse with gasoline and torch when I’m done here.
This first fire dies, and I kick in dirt to cover the ashes, snow to cover the dirt. And just like that, I’m gone. Dead but still breathing.
I walk back to the car, gas can in hand and lighter in my pocket. The full moon’s peeking up low behind the bare trees of this quiet forest. There really is life after death.
fear is a currency
to be used
for good or ill
whatever you choose
the unknown and unknowing
of a person
walking down the street
with knowledge and abilities
for the time to be right
that one can become more
than just a person
that if you’re going to see change
to have to make it yourself
resolve mixed in
with the nerves
a different way
a different lens
taking a step beyond
into a place where you can’t turn back
become something greater
than flesh and blood
than fear and mistakes
I JUST GOT THIS FROM Z PUBLISHING HOUSE!!!!!!!!!
“It is our pleasure to invite you to join our upcoming nationwide edition of the Emerging Writers series. Out of the more than 2,000 writers who were accepted into our 2018 Emerging Writers series, yours is one of 136 writings we would like to publish in the nationwide edition, America’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction.”