Traditionally, you give someone paper when you are celebrating your first anniversary with them. (It's worth noting that Hallmark has made an upgrade, and insists that the new traditional one-year anniversary gift is a clock. That is almost certainly because Hallmark wants to make more money, and no one stays together for longer than a year anymore.) We are celebrating our first anniversary with all of you this month, and we couldn't be more pleased: you've been the most loving, reciprocal, and thoughtful significant others a magazine could ever hope for, and we can't wait to stay together for years to come.
We've also got a new print edition in the works (paper!), a workshop series brewing in New Orleans (we'll provide paper!), and a new theme issue coming up (the theme is DISGUISES -- which could, hypothetically, be made out of paper; or, for that matter, clocks). Thank you for being with us through all this excitement. We love you, and all the stories you've shared with us this year. We truly can't wait to see what's to come.
I spend the bulk of my Friday night filling out an application to be a dishwasher at Whole Foods. It’s hard to explain how badly I want this job, but I’m going to try in my own winding way, because I’m an English major.
Being an English major is like being the cool girl no one wants to date, though everyone talks about how cool she is. There are other similes I could use, but for some reason this one feels right. More on that later. The Zeitgeist tells us English majors are important.
Joe and I were sitting on his back porch yesterday talking about religion, humanity, and books, but in that light sort of way when two people can discuss without having to disagree. He explains his philosophy on religion, telling me that as far as he’s concerned, if there is a God, then he can be one of three things: Apathetic, Incompetent, or Sadistic. To him, these options are the only viable ones because of all the “bad shit in the world.” He cocks his head to the side and looks away when he says this.
Standing in the middle of the bathroom I could see myself from three angles: left, right and back. I laid a large towel down on the cool tile and then went to run my hairbrush under the faucet until it was dripping. Taking the wet brush in one hand, I undid my bun with the other and let my hair fall down around me—well, fall as best it could. I ended up looking like Edward Scissorhands with my stubborn curls sticking out in all directions. Nervous excitement was brewing in my stomach as I ran the wet brush over my head and watched as my wild hair began to lie flat and become heavy with moisture.
Miguel wears camo pants and drinks a Miller Light. He is Latino and stocky and flashes a gold-toothed smirk my way. Phillipe, my tall and flamboyant French neighbor, holds a glass of wine and leans over his brick wall. He shares Miguel’s skepticism about my lawn project.
“Come over for wine after zat craziness, oui?”
Of all my neighbors, Karen’s opinion means the most. With a Protestant work ethic as dependable as our coastal fog, she has lived in this quiet San Francisco suburb for years. I know she’s a widow and has a very sick son; she complains about neither.
I work in social media for a living. It’s not where I thought I would be at this point. If you had asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing at the age of 28, I’d have said that by now I’d be the author of one of those children’s books I devoured so feverishly when I was young. I’d have a Master’s in neuroscience and each adventure I wove into my stories would be designed to teach children to understand and regulate the way their emotions operate. Today, on the other hand, I recognize the privilege that lurks in the crevasses of the old trope “live your passion,” so in an act of rebellion I’ve decided that my passion is just going to be whatever I happen to be doing in the moment.
Nancy Reagan gets out of the secret service Jeep that drove her cross-country to deliver her White House dishes to Michelle Obama. It’s not easy to get out of these new-fangled SUVs. She doesn’t fly anymore and besides, she likes riding in the backseat surrounded by the hunks of men in black. Coils of wires snake up into their ears, making her think of Ronnie’s hairy ears, which she never minded.
At first, I would hear it mentioned now and then. People chattering about scarves made out of T-shirts and collages of baby sloths. How they were inspired to paint a lime green accent wall and stencil patterns on old wooden tables. I loved pretty things too, though I waited a while before surrendering myself. Everyone who talked about it seemed a bit too devoted and its name was ridiculous. After months of resisting, I finally succumbed to see if it was worth the hype. Pinterest. Pinterest. Pintttterest. Its name was like a password.
Will I kill again?
I don't know. A smoker quits cold turkey because his cigarettes are taken and kept for 43 years. After that long you'd think the urge to smoke would vanish. Then one day he's labeled as "reformed." They toss a pack of Marlboros in front of him and say, "Be on your way friend." A week goes by. A year goes by. Hell, maybe only a day goes by. Would you be surprised if the reformed smoker unwraps the pack and lights up? He relives the ecstasy of inhaling. Pretty soon there's 20 singed butts in the ashtray. The cravings are back.
In the voice of a Veteran Top Ten List 10.
10. You don’t even need to be a top ten list to be published anymore. In my day, if you had seven items, or sixteen, you’d be either sent to Santa or thrown away in the supermarket parking lot. Now there are “top 12 lists” and “top 42 lists.” What’s next, the top two reasons to buy a car in the winter? The top 6.8 ways to win on eBay?
Thank you for submitting your manuscript “Amelia’s Life” for consideration. It was read with interest, but there were stylistic issues that kept it from advancing to the next round of consideration. Per submission guidelines, you are permitted to resubmit if there have been significant revisions to the original piece. If you should choose to resubmit “Amelia’s Life,” please review the following editorial notes:
1. We are open to cross-genre work but the tone of “Amelia’s Life” feels disjointed.