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I have a hard time putting names to some emotions. I don’t always — or ever, really — process grief the way that it’s usually shown. I feel numb, unsettled, desperate to think about anything else and unable to stop fixating on this one thing. This is the first time that I’ve actually learned to label this feeling as grief while it’s happening, instead of only recognizing after the fact that yes, this is mourning, this is sadness.

That’s really all I’ve got for now. I usually let the processing happen in the background once the shock wears off, to be revisited piecemeal, but I don’t get that luxury this time because literally everyone in the world knows. It makes me feel — ludicrously, but go tell that to my brain — like I’ve been robbed of privacy, because I don’t get to choose who to share my feelings with. Everyone knows. Maybe there can be some comfort in that, but right now I just want to escape and have interactions that aren’t colored by recent confirmation of the sheer volume of hatred in this country, and there’s nowhere to go.

…actually, this – the feeling of being trapped and having nowhere to go to process – is startlingly relevant to the emotional arc of the main character of my novel. Huh. At the very least, I’m going to make terrific art out of this clusterfuck.
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via's How To Finish That Fucking Book, You Monster:



10. Divest yourself of ideas of quality. Quality matters in the end. Quantity matters in the beginning. Produce. Create. Write. Iterate. As I am fond of saying, that first draft isn’t just a zero draft, it isn’t just a vomit draft — it’s the beachstorming draft. It’s just you trying to land enough boats and enough soldiers on the sand that you can carve out a space to call your own. You’re just trying to advance the thing — one bloody, gory inch at a time. Quality? Fuck quality. Just get up the beach. You will rewrite history later.

I am now referring to my table at the cafe my ‘WORD DISGORGEMENT BUBBLE’  *hissssssssssssss*
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It’s flat to the west and hilly to the east, and absolutely empty for miles, even of most billboards. At night, driving up the northern coast, there are no streetlights or anything in between towns; just rows of wind-blown dunes and the occasional house built of adobe and sheet metal on the side of the road, lit by a couple of bare bulbs. Some of the dunes are old huacas from before the Spanish, before the Inca, and the people who live in the area could probably tell you which ones, maybe even have collections of its pottery on display in their homes, but from inside of a bus it’s impossible to tell. There are occasional small towns, just a row of bodegas and menús and llanterías along the side of the road with some barely-finished houses wedged between. The buildings are all squared-off and flat-topped, brick whitewashed and painted in pastels that always need washing, with wrought iron bars on all the windows. The street lights are always yellow-orange, hung between tangles of phone and electrical wires. Depending on the town, the piles and piles of garbage bags and old tires either line the area between the sidewalk and the road, or fill in an acre of sour-smelling land just outside the town. Either way, there are always skinny, tick-covered dogs digging through the trash for food. Maybe they have people they live with; maybe they don’t. They flash by the bus, too, and then the road falls back into darkness. The sand dunes are white-and-black where the headlights reach them; then black-and-black until they meet the sky. When it’s dawn, the bus stops in a brick-walled compound with one or two bodegas, a lot of pickup trucks, a set of outhouses, and another rangy dog. There’s mist and condensation on the windows in the pale grey morning light, but it isn’t going to rain, because it never rains.


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strix alba

February 2017

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