Yes, I've committed to paying more attention and writing with more integrity. Which, it turns out, takes a) time and b) patience. So, there's a weird little short story I am compelled to share here but will resist that compulsion for at least a single round of editing (I owe the paragraphs that much, right? Let's build up a little trust between us, you wily words.) And, besides, there's a bona fide (Do not, I repeat, do NOT hear that in its pretentious latin pronunciation. Hear it in Appalachian twang. If you're incapable, see me. We'll talk.) writing project - with an editor! And a deadline! And so help me (And so help me! Name that movie!), if I don't humblebrag about that at least twice a week.
So. Instead of publishing undone pieces or working on the for-pay words, I'll tell you about other people putting words together in ways I can't resist. In the meantime.
1) D.L. Mayfield writes here and here and here, at least. I have a gigantic writer crush growing and attaching itself securely to my soul. Her McSweeney's column is so flush with gospel imagery - McSweeney's and gospel imagery, same sentence, truth - that it ought to send me flying out into the world to become a missionary, or a nun, or a church planter. Instead, I gobbled up every one of her words and was saddled with an insatiable desire to WRITE. Damn, girl. Be my friend.
2) I heard Jane Smiley get mentioned as the most underrated American novelist of the 20th century no fewer than three times, in those exact words, before I picked up A Thousand Acres. It was enchantment. Place - and a particular one - and family systems and relational dynamics and the idea of a hidden memory driving a plot about...a farm. Bliss. Read it.
3) Tamara taught me improv at Duke last year, and she started blogging this summer. I love her honesty and vulnerability and humor, and shed at least a tear or two most every Monday when she posts.
4) Joe Pug writes lyrics, not paragraphs, and then sings them mournfully. I cannot get them out of my head:
I'll be around, with some words, later on. Y'all come back now, ya hear?