Reincarnation

Death swallowed. Slowly things began shifting, imperceptible changes, minuscule moments where the world slid out of focus just a bit. Hair grew, falling down her back, holding her body down. Fingers lengthened, skin tightened, eyes widened, cheeks sunk. The body stretched like taffy roped between two paddles. Clothes stretched to fit the lengthened legs and torso. Layers and layers wrapped to keep this thin new body warm. There was never enough. The blinks slowly grew, time stretching out in the way her body did. A strange reflection and mimicry of the change. Until the blinks of world spinning blurred minutes were longer than the moments of focus–sharp, harsh, juxtapositions swirled with grayed edges. Everything spun out and together again. With a blink, the world would snap back into focus. Her body felt lighter than air. One morning her arms stretched into new space–sudden and heavy–pushing into the sky. Where there had been hair before now there were feathers. Toes now talons tripped over the tough turf. The air blew hot, loud, and furious, pushing, pushing, pushing away. And then she flew. Free. Here’s that strange spooky little story I promised for Halloween. If you like my work, buy me Ko-fi. As always, I would love to hear what you think.   If you’re looking for a more worthwhile to give, the National Eating Disorder Association is a great org to support.     
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Granary Row and The Porch

Opening night at Granary Row. Photo via facebook.com/granaryrow

Opening night at Granary Row. Photo via facebook.com/granaryrow

Last week there was a bit of buzz about town with the opening of Granary Row.

It’s in one of those industrial west-side neighborhoods where it feels like no one lives, but trains and trucks. The area is hemmed in by a freeway on all sides. It’s a favorite haunt for budding photographers hoping to get their urban decay on.

It’s where I’ve met a number of amazing entrepreneurs working to build small businesses that make SLC more vibrant.

And it finally feels like a neighborhood.

The Kentlands Initiative worked with the city to design and build a “pop up market and festival.” Granary Row is made up of recycled cargo containers redesigned with gardens, restaurants and shops in mind. My favorite part is that the whole thing sits in the middle of a wide street. Those wide mid-western streets drive me crazy. It is one of the worst features of SL,UT life, especially on the west side.

A row of trailers breaks it up nicely. And it feels for once like a walkable area.

I’m going by weekend-only hang out tonight. My first stop is going to be the Porch. The group invites locals to tell stories about their lives in a supportive atmosphere. I’m thrilled the Utah Valley group has a second home “up north.” It’s the closest thing we have around here to the Moth, and I’m excited to see how it goes.

I can’t wait to hear the stories! Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to share my own.

The Porch. Local storytellers in Provo, Utah. Photo via utahporch.org.

Wow. Umm…wow.

Michael Hastings died in a car accident Tuesday morning.

I don’t expect most of you to know who he was. He was a journalist. Most of his work was in Rolling Stone and on Buzzfeed. I never knew him at all. But I loved reading his stuff. He was one of the good ones. You could tell in the words, between the sentences, he was the kind of journalist all the reporters should want to be.

A hard ass and an ass kicker.

He probably had more enemies than friends.

It should be noted that the Los Angeles coroner has not identified the body.

This sucks. I’m going to keep his Reddit AMA in mind today.

Okay, here’s my advice to you (and young journalists in general):

1.) You basically have to be willing to devote your life to journalism if you want to break in. Treat it like it’s medical school or law school.

2.) When interviewing for a job, tell the editor how you love to report. How your passion is gathering information. Do not mention how you want to be a writer, use the word “prose,” or that deep down you have a sinking suspicion you are the next Norman Mailer.

3.) Be prepared to do a lot of things for free. This sucks, and it’s unfair, and it gives rich kids an edge. But it’s also the reality.

4.) When writing for a mass audience, put a fact in every sentence.

5.)Also, keep the stories simple and to the point, at least at first.

6.) You should have a blog and be following journalists you like on Twitter.

7.) If there’s a publication you want to work for or write for, cold call the editors and/or email them. This can work.

8) By the second sentence of a pitch, the entirety of the story should be explained. (In other words, if you can’t come up with a rough headline for your story idea, it’s going to be a challenge to get it published.)

9) Mainly you really have to love writing and reporting. Like it’s more important to you than anything else in your life–family, friends, social life, whatever.

10) Learn to embrace rejection as part of the gig. Keep writing/pitching/reading.

Personally I can only hope to be the kind of journalist Hastings was, I am too much of a people pleaser and way too comfortable with authority. But people like him prove journalism matters. He will be missed.

All the right ways

I hate myself for wishing for change, or at least, I regret it…a little.

There it is.

It comes like night. I could see the dusky light, I could feel it coming, the wind a little cooler as we waited, breath held, for that change.

It’s here now, an emotional shift brought on my physical pains. Nothing will be the same. Growing comes with changing, but does it have to hurt?

I’d like an easy challenge next, please. Maybe one with a definitive set of instructions, a map and a guide. Just one of those things would be awfully nice. I no longer know which way to go. The life map lines drifted into “there be monsters” territory ages ago. I need a new one.

The compass stopped working long ago; sometimes I forget it exists. In the rare moments I remember the magnetic direction, it pricks my heart. It hurts.

I hurt, too.

Perhaps I can find another.

I can’t look to the stars anymore: blotted out by city lights, smeared across the sky, coated in the gray skies of pollution. They might still be there. My memory can’t be just a myth, can it? I need to get out of this place.

I need the map, the compass, the skies, all of it–the toolkit to bring me back to life.

I’m drifting along in this raft, and sometimes you drift with me. But still I feel lonely. Alone.

I can’t swim yet. I keep trying. You’re pulling me along. Not always as patient as either of us might wish. I pant and writhe in the water. I’m scared of drowning. I concentrate so hard on staying alive I forget to move forward. Fear pushes into my mind slowly at first like a black dawn then it takes over rushing into every part of my functionality filling me with blackness. I stop thinking; I’m reacting, trying to keep my head up.

If I can just breathe, this will soon be over.

You watch me struggle again and again. I can see the love turning into loathing. It must be hard to see someone work so hard at failure. Eventually you will turn away from me. It’s a pattern. You won’t be the first person to give up on me and probably not the last.

The last will be me when I’ve had enough, when I’m ready to go. Maybe by then, I’ll know how to swim. I’ll be brave enough to go on without the tools I’m waiting for. Maybe by then, I’ll build them myself.

At least, I have a pen. Now where the fuck is that paper?

I’m going to take a nap now

I posted earlier today that I regret nothing about my decision to stay up all night reading “Gone Girl.” It felt decadent sipping sangria and hanging onto every word Gillian Flynn wrote in the sadistic, suspenseful, painful novel.

The story is fucking mind blowing. Just like everyone says.

And I loved it. I am also exhausted to the point where thinking hurts, my eyes burn and a puppy might just die.

Seriously, it’s the best book I’ve read in what feels like forever. It was thrilling to stay up all night sucked into a fictional world like I haven’t since Harry Potter. Glorious. Nice. Nostalgic.

And terrifying.

I’m still stressed from Game of Thrones and now this? How do I know I’m not an Amy? Or a Nick? Can’t we all be? Just a little bit sometimes? Man, the lies, the manipulation, the deceit the insistence that it is all just a game even at the cost of life.

Blood chilling to think about and fascinating. Thankfully I’m a sound sleeper rarely troubled by dreams.

Park bench reading

Park bench and lamp at William Silver ParkHere’s a bit of today’s favorite reads (and a listen) to see you through this hump day! It’s the perfect kind of weather to sit outside with the laptop and read to my heart’s content. (I can’t get enough of this tiny park up the road! That bench is so idyllic!)

MentalFloss critique of the AP tweet that turned out to be a hack is both informative and fun. How many AP errors are in a fake AP tweet? Seven. Yes, seven.

This American Life’s What Happened at Dos Erres is winning a bunch of journalism awards and is well worth a listen. Of the many fascinating stories Ira and the crew share, this is one that will stick with you for a long, long time.  A word of warning, have a box of tissues ready.

Amy Harmon’s Asperger Love is a fascinating look into romance and mental illness through the relationship of Jack and Kristen. An excerpt is available for free at Byliner. You can buy the story in full or subscribe to Byliner if you’d like. It’s definitely worth the subscription!

The Atlantic’s story on the woman who leads North Korea (SPOILER: It’s Kim Jung Un’s auntie) is another interesting angle on the silent country. Which reminds me, have you started reading NKNews yet? You really should if you’re interested at all in what is happening and has happened in Pyongyang.