10 Appropriate Responses When Asked If You’ve Finished Your Long-Awaited Novel

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Tell it, sis. 

  1. The direct. “No. I have not actually. Pray tell, how many novels have you written around your 9 to 5 lately? …YOU DON’T SAY?”
  2. The off-putting. *whispers loudly* “Still waiting for the main character to die in real life. Shhh…”
  3. The abrupt. “How about you warmly fuck off?”
  4. The honest. Blink rapidly until the tears of seasonal MFA regret manifest.
  5. The politically savvy. “I actually don’t think my novel is right for a Trump presidency.”
  6. The African’t parental. “No, I don’t regret changing my major from Genetics to Creative Writing during undergrad. Yes, my GRE math score was higher than my verbal.  Yes, math IS in my genes… Sigh. Yes, I saw Barbara Walters at that bookstore I worked for that one time…”
  7. The African’t parental 2. “…Did you just ask if a book is gonna marry me? Now, listen here–“
  8. The not in your life. “The woman who pushed me from her innards hasn’t read my book. Why the hell would I show it to you, beggar random?”
  9. The quit your job and write full-time. “Baha. Get out of here with your privileged Lena Dunham fever dream. You ole coot.”
  10. The See, what you not gon do. “Pause. It’ll get done. On MY terms. And you’ll probably be the first (last) to know. But bet your ass, I’ll finish this book before I pay back these student loans.”
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Do Not Mourn This Dead Weight

I give a reading in two days, and for the first time in forever, I haven’t quite shaped what I’m reading yet.

With two days, tonight forces process. Tomorrow focuses on the performance.

Readings shove me into revision which is a neat parlor trick. If I struggle over words, if the cadence is amiss, if I can feel the slow dead air in the pace of the read—I cut. I prune. Hack against them keys with Krueger-like swiftness.

As if a wind in your apartment whispers every so often:

“Cut it all, you silly bitch…. Kill those darlingsss…”

 

10 Reasons Why I Haven’t Written a Blog (Until Now)

Michael Ché’s expression here pretty much sums up my 2017. Everything sucks. Everything is sparkly.

Writing. Shockingly enough, writing is happening these days. Novels are getting writ. Shorts are shortier. Result? Actual writing leaves less room for writing-related thoughts. Meanderings. Jaunts? Who knows—my anxiety might finally allow for a Flo Davies piece to face the literary journal circuits this year? Three cheers for crippling rejection and thick skins!

Exercise. My spine (and its degenerative discs) and my mismatched bones have semi-ceased their active assault on my person. These issues manifested in April and pretty much had their heyday during summer 2017 (not to be confused with summer 2016, which was owned by Drake, our resident favorite sad). Physical pain has been a flash dance on my synapses, kids. The absence of “stabby stabby, fuck all” leaves room for many jigs. (I twerked a little at my friend’s wedding in August. I mean, Nikki Minaj won’t write any raps about it, but it totes happened.) While correlation may not always relate to causation, Flo Davies can finally continue gym work towards her one-woman mission to have arms that resemble any part/form/strength of Michelle Obama’s. At this point, TBH, I’d settle for a thigh. Hell, not even both of them.

Work. My professional life boasts a fairly relaxed schedule: Monday through Friday, 9ish to 5ish. No one really checks in on my whereabouts unless I’m super missing (I’m also a color-coded Outlook calendar queen, come fight me.) My status as an upper-level administrator allows for some minute flexibility. And yet, call it that Afri-can do spirit (there’s no such thing as African’t), my obsession with detail and press towards hard work make it difficult to not think about work… well, when I’m not at work. (I swear this wasn’t supposed to read like a humble brag. I’m actually a captain of the USSR ship of Delightful Problems.)

Promises. Because I rebuff humanity but also like people, I often offer to assist folks with their tasks—mostly to the detriment of my time and sense of accomplishment. Technically, I’ve improved on my use of ‘No’ when I’m at my pinch points. It’s my whole following ‘No’ with, “Fine… what is it and how long do I have before it’s due?” that’s kind of a problem.

Side hustles. (noun) – the many ways that Flo will take on things she can’t time afford for less than $100.

Familial obligations. The Africans known as my relations have been peak themselves as of late. I live an hour and change from where most of them reside, which is just inconvenient enough for me to get by with bi-monthly visits, but still close enough that a strong wind causes me to feel my mom’s African guilt.

Politics. And now begins our end of days. The 2017 political climate is hard to place into words. Sometimes I’m convinced we’re all in the same shared fugue state. This is the Matrix and we’re all waiting on an ambiguously multi-racial Neo to rescue us. There is no spoon? Fuck spoons. An entire alien race is probably observing our Earth movements in some far away joint in The Milky Way and even they’re fucking confused. Possibly horrified. All I know is when history looks back on this time—who am I kidding? Everyone knows they won’t allow for frivolous book learning when we get to those camps that comprise New Panem.

Twitter. Against all good reason, Twitter decided recently to go against its own ethos, brand, and sense of dignity to test out an additional 140 characters for its base tweets. That’s right–280 characters. This fact has nothing to do why I haven’t blogged, but see–what you’re not gon’ do, Twitter, is eff with the artful concision that comes with a well-crafted 140 character tweet. Was Satan present during that developer meeting? Why y’all got to be so extra? All we asked for was an edit button, profiles on desktop, and maybe doing stronger checks on any asshole that doxes a feminist or drops a “nigger” on anyone darker than a sandy beach.

Television. Great googly moogly, there’s a ton of fantastic television happening right now. Can you stand it? (Of course not. You’re probably sitting down.) Between watching live tv for live tweets, catching up on my Netflix queue when I’m not following my Hulu watchlist (while my shared Amazon Prime adds its new originals), I’m finding a sense of time, food, and water hard to come by. Not to mention that the fall show seasons have started assaulting us all, father God. Between bets on what new shows will get canceled by November vs. shows that I already watch taking a “rebuilding season” nose dive, I haven’t made room for much else. When I go silent, someone make sure that my ass doesn’t graft itself to the recliner in my living room, please and thanks.

Blogging as a mode. Y’all don’t own me. Ya bishes.

The Island of Misfit Blogs

I often wonder about abandoned blogs.

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The boss ass header from my most favorite blog I’ve abandoned.

I wonder if there’s any research on this specific type of biting disinterest. A Tumblr hell for sad-sack reblogs, perhaps? If there is indeed a purgatory for ousted Google and Facebook employees, it’s probably The Island of Misfit Blogs. (I’m pretty sure the island is where MySpace resides. By the way, is Justin Timberlake still the ambassador for MySpace? Does he hate himself?)

My mind twists in the weeds over this subject simply because this blog, shiny with its new car smells, marks the sixth one I’ve attempted in my 30 years of half-life.

Some stats: I actually had to count. I forgot one. Three of them are/were on Tumblr. One had a Sweet Valley High focus that I kept semi-running with another SBU alum, now a published real. The one that will probably keep me from running for office serves as my Harry Potter fandom repository. You can wand fight me—I don’t care.

My Twitter proclamation (Christ, how that sounds in the year of our tired most based god 2017) of starting a new blog was, of course, met with immediate derision. A writer starting a blog in the midst of a lagging project is often called out for their tomfoolery: stalling tactics. A cheap ploy of false activity destined to detract oneself from “the work.”

The writing is the work. It will always be the work. But this blog could be work, too.

(It could.)