Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Everything's Coming Up Mistie!

On Thursday I participated in an event that made my hands shake like leaves in a very high wind. I read at a literary reading. I read my own work. And I didn't vomit. It was kind of a big day for me. It made me want to get back on here and write. It made me want to stay off here and write. It made me want to eat chocolate cake and write.

It was incredible. People, and not just my sister and friends, came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed my selections. A girl, with tears in her eyes, told me how listening to me read about my mother had reminded her of all the wonderful things her mother has done for her. My art touched people! For an artist, I don't think there can be anything better than that...well maybe getting paid to do it.

On Friday, I had a job interview. Today, I received a call--they like me. They want to hire me. After seven months looking, I finally found a job! Crazy thing though. The woman who will be my boss called at 3:30 to ask if I could come in tomorrow to fill out new hire paperwork and go through an orientation/training session. I found a babysitter last minute for tomorrow, but they want me to start on Monday or Tuesday of next week. So now I have to figure out childcare full time for the kid, and it would be best if I could have that done by Friday. This week just got even more crazy. Looking into childcare reminds me how much childcare costs, but even the steep cost of childcare can't ruin my parade....what's that rain? I love rain!

I'm going to be working as a copywriter for a marketing and software company. It's not the type of writing I would pick if I were dreaming, but someone wants to pay me to write. It's kind of the dream of any English major to work in a field at all resembling the one they spent a ridiculous amount of time (and probably money) studying.

So here's to making dreams, progress, and money (at least a little bit).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Misty Forest

I am working currently at Misty Forest--a local art and after school program. It is a loving environment with a great group of kids. While playing football today, one of the students lost his ball in the tree. After getting two other toys stuck in the tree, one of the teachers told them to stop. When we went in, the little guy was very upset. So I grabbed a step-ladder and a broom and tried to knock his ball down. It was too short by about two feet. So I taped two brooms together and the ball came down.

The kid greeted me like a returning hero. He sat next to me the rest of the day. During quiet art time, he asked me if I would help him pick colors for his picture. My answer, of course, was yes. He told me he was making the piece for "someone special." At the end of the day, he gave it to me along with a big hug. It was such a great reminder of how the little things add up: It didn't take very much effort for me to retrieve his ball, but for him it was a big deal. And his art warmed my heart. I needed this reminder today.

Monday, August 12, 2013


I had an interview today. It was only a phone interview, but in two years looking for a job, this is only the third interview I've had. Being interviewed on the phone is awkward. Being interviewed is awkward period. When you add in the phone, it just takes it to a whole new level.

The following scenario is one that happens to me often: The interviewer says something, and I nod my head. Awkward silence. Shit, they can't see me nodding my head; now I have to think of something to say that would necessitate or at least excuse such a pause. I've got nothing.

I think this interview went okay. At the very least after talking about it with Ry, I feel better about some of my answers. I hung up and felt terrible, but I think that's might be in my head...here's hoping. Unfortunately, I probably won't hear anything until late August or early September.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Friendship: It Really Is Magic

The weekend before last was the man friend's birthday. Every year we head to the Keys with our friends and family to celebrate. It's one of my favorite traditions. This last trip was particularly special. We had a great group; everyone was laid back yet ready for an adventure. It's a hard balance to strike, but we managed it well.

Also, this trip left me with one of my favorite images of one of my best friends. When I met Stephanie, I wasn't sure we were going to be friends. Four and a half years later, it's fair and easy to say she's my best friend. She's pretty much everything you could want in a friend or a human: funny, intelligent, insightful, kind, and pretty. We were on the boat, going as fast as the boat goes, I'm not great with stuff like this, but pretty fast. She sat on the back of the boat--her hair blowing, sunglasses on, shoulders lightly sunburnt--looking as chill and relaxed as you could hope to look on a vacation in the Keys. But here's the thing, she was reading a book. The wind is whipping. And the girl won't put down her book! This is a woman after my own heart. This, this right here, is the reason we are friends. Or at least one of the reasons.

I like collecting mental images like these of my friends. I like having photos, but these images mean more somehow. Maybe because they are harder to share but easier to care all of them with me.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Last weekend a tropical depression was supposed to come through. We didn't get much rain, and the news caused the depression part (sorry, I'm not good at puns but sometimes I have to make them). This weekend however, it's been pouring. I love the rain. LOVE IT! I love the way it sounds, smells, feels, tastes. I forgot one there, but you get it. When I was kid and it would rain hard, we would go to the front porch and hold cups under the eaves to see whose cup would fill the fastest. There's a metaphor there if I could find it.

I was looking at a series of maps illustrating different dialects and word usage across the United States, and something that struck me was how much of the country lacks a word or words for rain when the sun is shining. In Florida we call it a sun shower; apparently this isn't a commonly used term throughout the rest of the United States. I can't remember where, but there are only a few other states that use it. The rest of the south calls it "the devil beating his wife," which I'm going to go right by (that's a different blog post), and a whole swatch of the country, when polled, didn't have a word for this happening. Which is weird to me. Sun showers are beautiful and beastly. In the summer, sure you get rainbows, but it's rain without the relief.

The cumulonimbus clouds build and build like the humidity, and then the rain comes. And the relief comes. The big thunderstorms bring a drop in temperature and a respite from the sun. The clouds inspire awe with their size alone. Not to mention the storms they bring. When I was in high school, Florida went through a drought. Needing more rain happens frequently, but this was a drought that lasted all summer. The clouds would build, but then the upper atmosphere would shear them or send them elsewhere. Afternoon followed afternoon with no relief. It seemed like we had a whole summer with absolutely no rain. That's not accurate, but it was bad. The next summer followed similarly. Until one afternoon. The home I grew up in has a long driveway that runs between the house and the garage. In front of the house is open pasture. I remember standing between the house and the garage watching the dark cumulonimbus clouds meet. Thunderhead butting against thunderhead until there was a wall of black clouds coming en masse down the driveway. I could see the rain sheeting down. A wall of cool air hit me 45 seconds before the rain did. Afternoon thunderstorms are for Florida what aloe is for a sunburn.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hoodies Aren't Scary

As my last post pointed out, I gave up. In today's post, I've decided I gave up too quickly; I should have waited to throw in the towel. I should have waited for all of the Zimmerman apologists who are just really afraid of people in hoodies. You know people! Today I read this Salon article, which is in response to this Richard Cohen article. I really recommend not reading the Cohen article if you want to keep your brain intact. Cohen mocks all the people yelling "Guilty!" about Zimmerman without waiting for the verdict, but the only statistic he uses is the percentage of black male shooting suspects in New York. It's not surprising that Richard Cohen is a dick. In his article, a dick who says wearing a hoodie is a cultural signifier or "uniform" of violence. The amount of people who have used this type of logic to justify the killing of a young man does surprise me. And this is why: hoodies aren't scary.

Let me tell you a story. I attended night school during college, and when I left class, it was usually dark. Part of my walk was past a church on a quiet street. It was a little creepy because by the time I was walking, no one was around. One night I got scared. A man was walking towards me. He had a beard. His hands were in the pockets of his hoodie, and his hood was up. He was a big guy. I immediately started running through all the terrible things that could happen to me. Rape, murder, harassment. When the man passed me, he turned and struck up a conversation....because it was my brother-in-law!  He was walking to school. I was walking from school. He had his hood up because it was raining and cold. He wore a beard because, wait for it, he likes beards. He was big because of genetics. None of these things were good reasons to be afraid of him, but culture has taught me to be afraid of these things--to the point that I sometimes ignore better indications of violence because the person acting in the aggressive manner doesn't have any of the physical attributes I have been taught to fear.

My brother-in-law is white. Adding black to the above list is also not a good reason to be afraid of someone. Hoodies are not some kind of uniform which indicate violence. They are a ubiquitous piece of clothing. Everyone in the United States knows someone who has worn a hoodie or wears one themselves. When people use Trayvon Martin's clothing as a justification for his murder, what they are really saying is black people scare me. And if black people scare you, you are a racist. Because hoodies are not scary and neither are black people. And neither are black people in hoodies.

You are allowed to be afraid of a person when that individual starts acting aggressive. For instance, if someone starts following you for no apparent reason. We need to start being afraid of the people who are actively making our streets less safe. In the Zimmerman/Martin case, it seems clear to me which person that was, and it wasn't the kid in the hoodie. We must stop using dress, which is often just code for race, and race as indicators of violence. Because it doesn't keep anyone safe. In fact, it makes the world much more dangerous for kids like Trayvon Martin.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Give Up

I'm from Central Florida. I love my home. I hate it when people bitch about the place I came from and the place I love. Especially people who don't know shit about Florida. But every once in a while, my love of Florida and my belief in humanity get kicked in the crotch. Today is such a day.

I'm not going to re-cap what George Zimmerman did. Anyone who doesn't know about this case probably has his/her head neatly packed in sand. But I will say this: laws which allow a person to follow another person, shoot them, and then claim self-defense are fucking bullshit. Justice isn't blind, she's on fucking vacation. Or dead. Or both. Or something equally disturbing.

Trayvon Martin was a kid. Buying candy. Walking home. And he's dead now. I don't know George Zimmerman. I don't know if he is a "good" guy, or a racist, or an evil murderer laughing all the way home from his acquittal like some comic book villain. But I know this: I don't want to live in a society where being black is perceived as dangerous and bad. I don't want to live in a society where someone with a gun can get out of his/her car (after being told by police dispatch to stay in said car) shoot someone, and face no legal consequences for those actions.