endings by alex hernandez
We talk, just so we don't have to deal with our surroundings.
We talk, because that's how we deal.
She tells me, “We've been through hell and back, but we had some good times, didn't we? Good memories.”
I tell her, “Yes, plenty.”
She asks, “What's your favorite one?”
And I think, and think, and think. And I say, “New Year's Eve, 1999.”
She smiles. She knows.
The looming threat of 2K. Computers were going to collapse. The end of times. The world was going to end.
She remembers that we drove around all evening, exploring the streets in central Mexico, trying to find a restaurant or fast food place that was open. She was trying to handle me, an irritated eleven-year-old, and my sister, a quiet-but-annoyed two-year-old. She was always handling things, and she was a pro at it.
We kept looking. Looking, driving, searching, and I could tell She was trying not to fall apart.
“I've failed as a parent,” She joked back then.
“What if the world does end tonight?”
“We can do this. We'll find something.”
We ended up buying ham sandwiches and cheese croissants from a gas station in the middle of nowhere. We found a bakery on our way home, and bought hours-old pan dulce; conchas, puerquitos, donas. We got five different kinds of soda, and enough dulces to rot our teeth.
“What if the world does end tonight?”
We sat on a blanket in the middle of the living room, and She was trying not to cry. Reminders of a messy divorce were everywhere, and She was trying not to cry. She was doing her best to provide everything for us, and She was trying not to cry.
We watched rom-coms until midnight, the world didn't end, and we laughed and ate and laughed again. I focused on Her face as she blinked back tears, and She ran her fingers through my sister's hair.
I said, “I love you, mom.”
She said, “I love you more. To infinity and beyond.”
Fast-forward, fifteen years later, and we're in a hospital room. Fast-forward, and they're pumping chemicals into Her veins. Fast-forward, and we're talking about our favorite memories as if they're going to disappear if we don't talk about them.
She is starting to forget things, so I remind her of them. My throat is dry from all the talking, and Her throat is dry due to the medication. I sneak in some pan dulce that night, and we eat it under artificial lights, giggling like mischievous little girls.
We had some good times, didn't we?
I say, “I love you, mom.”
She says, “I love you. To infinity and beyond.”
The world doesn't end when she dies, but it sure feels like it.
- days in early spring, when there are no clouds in the sky or leaves on the trees, I can
see for miles and really breathe
- lucky pennies that remind me of my father
- my mother's laugh
- my pen pal, who would never know why I didn't write her back
- all the highway exits I've never taken and back roads I've yet to explore
- walks in the park, holding hands with a cute boy and not knowing or needing to know
whose hands are making the other's so sweaty
- forehead kisses
- oral sex
- purring cats
- strangers who tell me I'm pretty or share their weed with me at parties
- knowing that, if it takes a year or a day, I'll feel better eventually
(glo worm press published this piece first & we really love them a lot)
q train poem by alina pleskova
My favorite New York
pastime is sobbing
You do it on the way
like everything else
Like everything else,
Small relief to be translucent
for The State of Things
Headphones so I can't say
what it sounds like
29 soon & as this year,
the year before, going back
to when I thought it would
kick in, but no–
I’ll not have learned how
to still myself
Almost never take home
In place of their predictable
& idyllic demands, I wonder
how many more Real Loves
I’ll cycle thru
Or as Tom Waits put it, who you
wanna go in the woods with
Even when I get off, the shudder
Can’t make the erotic subtle
or write one graceful poem
Inner monologue dubbed
by fortune cookies
It may be time to explore new ways
of regaining balance
Aberrant December lets us feel okay
longer, but not without guilt
Today felt too fragile for strategizing
&/or engagement &/or collaboration
&/or proving my value to “our” stakeholders
So called out, wore leggings that made
my ass look, excuse me, pretty fucking great
& paid off some but not all my bills
& basked in the unnatural warmth
of our dying planet
It felt, excuse me,
pretty fucking great
But I’ve just circled back
to mama’s years-old advice–
You can’t sit on two chairs
comfortably at once
So let’s cry about it
even though this is no time
for consolidating the tattered
concept of monogamy
Glittery teardrop settled
atop my blinchiki
rattling w/ the Q
As it shoots toward
of what else
2 pieces by jourden v. sander
Sometimes I want to eat myself to sleep. I want to pierce myself into submission, taming
these dreams and rebellions and words. I want to release these narratives, all possible, and
make my enemies sing at my feet. I want to rip my skin off and line my bones with soil, then
bury them with things I forgot: the characters I’d loved, the recipe that hung on my tongue,
the number on my mailbox, and think maybe, these will grow into stories.
I want to fall asleep in your arms and pretend the last eight years of my life didn’t go by as
fast as they did. I want to worry less about time and more about dinner. I want to make a
pizza that tastes as rich and greasy and cheesy as any pizza ever was, and not get fat.
I want to die on my patio in my hammock with a glass of wine in my hand. The glass will fall
and the wine will trickle over the edge of my balcony, raining purple drops on my
neighbor’s children. I want to come alive again and tell everyone I met god or satan or a
unicorn and write a book about it. I’ll make thousands of dollars and predict the END OF
THE WORLD! I’ll be wrong, but it will be okay.
WHERE THEY WERE
Franklin—In the bathroom, alone
On the ground, a tooth, in a bag, with a name written in sharpie. FRANKLIN, crossed out to write FRANKIE on top. He had tripped, moving too fast—being too scared—and hit his jaw on the counter and his tooth came out. It was already lose, one of his baby teeth, so it didn’t hurt that much. But it did hurt.
He put the tooth in a plastic baggy, just like dad always did, and slept with it under his pillow-that-wasn’t-a-real-pillow because he was sleeping in the bathroom. In the bathroom, with music on, he couldn’t hear the screams outside or see the smoke in the distance. There were no windows in the bathroom. His dad always said if there was an earthquake or tornado or crazy person in the house, the bathroom was the safest place to be. He slept in the bathroom, with his tooth under his head.
He knew the tooth fairy wouldn’t come. But he hoped his dad would. He knew his dad wouldn’t come. But he hoped he would. He slept in the bathroom, but with the door unlocked, his tooth under the pillow.
Down the hall, in the master bedroom: a bottle of empty pills. On the bed, a body of emptiness. His father took every pill, just to be sure. The cap had rolled under the bed-that-wasn’t-his-bed-anymore because his family wasn’t there. His son would live, but not much longer. His son would die, but he couldn’t be the one to kill his son.
In the bathroom, tears. Franklin-called-Frankie-by-only-his-dad, vomited. He was thirsty and tired and crying so hard that vomit came out of his nose. He was thirsty, but had to pass his dad’s room to get water, so he clenched the FRANKIE-tooth-bag as he vomited, alone.
Maria and Erin—Rooftop, together
Under a shirt, a needle and a spoon. On the shirt, a bra. Small drops of blood on their shirts made them feel hardcore and bloody and endless. They were laying on the rooftop under the stars. No clothes. Clothes didn’t matter anymore. They threw their shoes off the edge of the building, watching them disappear under their industrial horizon. They made love. They fucked. They punched each other, shot up, talked about their queerness. Talked about the words they learned to identify with, and how they didn’t matter anymore.
They threw their narcotics anonymous tokens off the roof. They held each other’s hand. They talked about the last meeting they went to together and how stupid their sponsors were. How hopeless the druggies in the group were. They would observe each one and make bets on who would fall first. Oscar, who Erin thought for sure was doing just great as he often said, was admitted to rehab after a few weeks of NA. Erin had handed a 50 over to Maria, her face shrouded in sadness for him.
Maria and Erin had went to the meetings as usual after the news hit. They had smoked cigarettes and waited outside the room, but no one showed. NA seemed like a happy-fucking-druggie-family-in-recovery but when the earth started falling apart, when things got bad, in the end, they were all druggies like they always were and would be.
As they laid on the roof, Erin told Maria she was scared. Her family was out of the country, so she wouldn’t be able to see them. Tears fell down her cheeks, her chest felt heavy. Maria rolled Erin into her arms, hushing her softly. She rocked them together, under the stars-they-couldn’t-see-because-of-light-pollution-but-knew-were-there-because-of-hope.
Maria said she was glad they could die together, on their own terms. She’d rather OD—something she knew and knew how it would feel—than die into the unknown. Maria said it was good they’d all be dead. The world was a terrible place anyway. Maybe humans would get to restart. Maybe they’d all get to restart.
Bill—Front office, over Daya
Tears, on her face. Pens, markers, clips and papers on the floor. Desperate, in his hands. His hands that once belonged to a man, a good man, but now belonged to a good-man-who-does-bad-things.
He hovered over Daya. Did bad things to her. She stopped yelling. She cried. She didn’t know him. He knew her. She was the Latina lovely. The coworker down the hallway. She was perfect; until Bill ripped off her clothes. She had a pooch of fat in her lower belly and stretch marks on her hips. Her large breasts, perfect, they seemed, had stretch marks too, and sagged. She must have worn push-up bras to make them sit so perfectly. She must have worn panty-hose to make her legs look so smooth. His disappointment only made him angrier.
He had a woman, a wife, but she died. They had no kids, not really. There was one, a daughter, but she hated Bill and refused herself as his child. Bill hadn’t heard from her in five years.
The hot air coalesced his body, hanging like the heat of a fever. He felt sick, but knew it was just his anxiety tricking him. His anxiety always told him he was dying. This time, though, his anxiety was right. He just wanted to feel the touch of a woman one more time. He missed his wife. And he was going to die.
Daya—Front office, under Bill
Daya closed her eyes to this-thing-that-she-couldn’t-stop. Under her shirt, a pencil jabbed into her spine. She pulled a tack that pierced her side, thought about stabbing him with it. But let it roll away instead. She looked at her shoes under her desk. They were her “statement” shoes: a red ballet flat with a gold sequined bow. Scuffed at the toes from a surprise hike in the woods with her husband. He had taken her to top of the small mountain after their picnic, knelt down, and presented a box.
Daya laid still and thought about being anywhere else. She thought about her little sister. She thought of how they laughed when the global warning hit. Dying didn’t scare them. The things-in-life-you-couldn’t-stop were worse than death.
She lied still and quiet, resisting.
Mai and Kevin—The kid’s bedroom, together
They didn’t want them to suffer. They didn’t want them to be scared, to see the fear in their parent’s eyes. They wanted them to drift off, peacefully, with their family, in their home, unafraid.
Mai and Kevin had talked it over many times. They argued. They wrote lists. Pros and cons. Their kids were smart, so they had to be careful. Mai didn’t want them to suspect anything.
So they walked their children into the master bedroom and sat them on the bed, they watched a movie together, a funny cartoon, and pretended to be happy. They laughed with their kids and kept the tears from escaping their eyes. They fed their children the macaroni and cheese and poison, and cleaned their faces when they got messy. They were so excited, eating in Mommy and Daddy’s bed and watching a movie together. They licked their bowls and wore them on their heads.
Kevin pulled his daughter into his arms and kissed her head. Her soft arms, her plump cheeks, each rough little nail. He pulled her close, put his hand on her chest and felt the beating. Mai held their son, buried him in her chest and smelled his little boy hair. Their daughter said she was sleepy. So Mai and Kevin tucked the children in and laid next to them while they drifted away and their hearts stopped beating. Once they were gone, Mai and Kevin wanted to go quickly. They didn’t want to wait for the pills or poisons to work.
So they put guns to each other’s head, kissed, and then pulled the trigger.
D’aja—the pews, alone
A ring, in her hands, made of 14 carat gold, with a cross on it. Her pearls, white, old and still on their string, placed gently around her neck. They had been her mother’s, and now they were hers. If she’d had a daughter, they would have been passed down. But there was no daughter. There was nothing in D’aja’s womb and never would be, so she wore the pearls, counting each one as a lost egg, lost child, lost daughter she could have had.
Each pearl had a name. Names for her lost children. The pearl in the very middle, the one that was a bit scuffed and not as perfectly round as the others, was named Yalonda.
Yalonda would have been a dancer. A ballerina, or something else as graceful. She would have worn her hair in braids even though the other girls wore a bun. She would have been good at math, unlike her mother, and would have gone on to be some kind of mathematician or scientist or doctor. She would have travelled the world: danced under the Eiffel Tower, drank wine in Italy and swam in Venice’s canals to prove she could swim wherever she wanted. She would have been magical and perfect and ruled the world.
She would have.
The pearl next to Yalonda, a little darker in shade, was named Alonzo. He would have been a good boy and better man. D’aja didn’t have time for political correctness and progressive thinking; her son would have been traditional, a gentleman, a man’s man. But he would have fiercely loved his mamma. D’aja believed any good man was a mamma’s boy.
Alonzo would have looked after his sister and respected women. He would have been the football player, or basketball star, and some kind of artist. She would have wanted him to know it was okay to be creative and be an artist and still be a man’s man. He would have crawled up next to her and talked about the first girl he fell in love with, and how much it hurt to love someone. D’aja would have smiled and pat his head and held him close.
D’aja kneeled in the pews, her head in her hands. She wasn’t afraid of dying; she knew when she died, she could finally meet these perfect, beautiful children. She could finally see what they would have been. So she held the pearls, and waited to meet them.
Jourden—the woods, running
She wouldn’t be collecting years her life anymore, so she started collecting things. Her favorite thing to collect was playing cards. Not new ones, but the ones that were abandoned. The ones you found on the street or near the dumpster. She had 36 cards. It was her goal to find a whole deck before she died. Years back, on her and her husband’s first anniversary, she created a silly deck of cards. Something she found online, but thought the idea was cute: 52 reasons why I love you. She had written a reason on each card and strung the deck together for him to flip through when he was down. She only had 36 cards, but she didn’t have any more time to find the rest.
She figured she was going to hell. She prayed to “god” in her head and screamed. Though, she was sure there wasn’t anything there, and even if there was, would he/she/it listen to her? Why, when she had so strongly disbelieved her whole life? Even when her family tried to save her, or when she secretly prayed to the darkness during her panic attacks only to look away once she was better? She didn’t believe. She wanted to. She’d tried to believe. She believed she was going to hell, but she couldn’t believe in any “god.” Her soul clung to her bones. It wouldn’t let go.
She kept running still.
[title] by juniper fitzgerald
There are three things the woman tells strangers: she is a prostitute,
she is drinking coffee these days, and there is always a loud buzzing
She thinks about titles, frequently. The gravity they hold! "What if
children were allowed in opera houses?" She thinks. "Did capitalism
make me hate my mother?" The woman picks at her skin and the
sheets are red from menstrual blood. The baby coos at her side.
"Did you know mushrooms are all connected?" The woman whispers
to the baby. "Like, underground. They are just one big orgasm." She
says. "I mean, organism."
The woman tells the baby that cell phones are made in sweatshops by
girls the girl's age.
The woman's mother's womb animates the woman in just over nine
months about 32 years ago. The woman's mother's new groom
inspects hail damaged Fords and the woman's mother's fibrous
cocoon comes unglued, drained of liquid. The woman appears at the
opening of her mother's insides. It is the summer of helicopter seeds;
the earth is all swallowed up in the stuff, and the prairie sun is hot,
Then the woman grows and grows and is herself in labor. It is the
summer of Joshua trees and the earth--and her body-- are
extraterrestrial. White, perfect buds. Humans learn the language of
trees and the trees say "ooooo, another equally significant, just
different, part of me" and the sky turns silky with red-purple and the
baby's eyes are stormy. The woman looks at the man. He floats up like
a balloon, a blue balloon. They dance under pale light until the baby
swims out, out of amniotic sea stuff and hemorrhoids the size of
apples. The baby has roses for feathers, preternatural, really.
The woman does not speak for a decade. Humans are so complex!
Humans try hard--they just keep trying. The baby studies rabbits on
YouTube. Sometimes, the bunnies' pellets fall to the kitchen floor and
the woman sweeps them up in her hands. "More?" "Shoe?" "Milk?"
The woman is a public woman and this brings great sorrow, she
The woman has an abortion; in a mop sink, she gets sick by dawn.
"Hello? ... Hell-LO?"
Lifetimes in hiccups. Two packs of cigarettes a day only cost the
woman thirty crowns. There is a gypsy man in an old castle and at
night he flutters a red scarf under sheets of absinthe and full moons
and where flowers blossom from the bosoms of corpses. She collects
little trinkets and wooden puppets for the baby, who is not born for
hiccups and hiccups. When the baby is inside her, she shares a dream
with the woman. Blue, like water, like blood, like... When the man's
mother dies, he holds her hand and says "no more mistakes."
The man throws his head at a wall.
"You hurt," he tells the woman. The phone rings every morning at 10
o'clock but there is never anyone on the other end.
The woman tries to make friends. It is so difficult! Mothers at the
playground think the woman hisses and coils. She is not to be taunted
or poked with sticks. She carries rattles in her pocket.
The voice on the television says, "You, You there for 600." The woman
is surprised to see herself there. "What is ham?" She answers. The
man hoisting cars stares at the woman then he stares at the baby,
who, in turn, asks, "what is millet? What is the Messiah?" The woman
tries to be wise in her choices. She tries to be clever about the Daily
Double. When the woman makes deadlines, the audience applauds
but sometimes they laugh at her. It appears that the loud buzzing
noise is coming from that black box; infinite refractions.
The baby has a spoiling of cake at the woman's mother's house. "Is
this a druggie thing? Are they underwater?" The woman's mother
asks. "Why is a sponge wearing square pants?" One day, the woman's
mother says, "I loved you even then, you know." And the woman
When the woman's mother's mother dies, mourners come in nice
shoes, the kinds of shoes you keep in shoeboxes until someone dies.
Later, they remark that the funeral had been "nice," in duck themed
kitchens with books that don't open. The woman's mother's mother
appears from behind a copper saint and says, "I must be dead." Snakes
fall out of hair.
The woman wonders if, To her husband she is after all nothing but the
mother of his legitimate children and heirs, his chief housekeeper and
the supervisor of his female slaves, whom he can and does take as
concubines if he so fancies.
The woman is paralyzed with such great fear of men! When she is
onstage or in hotels, she thinks, "now, you'll never not see the things
of men and of course they do not see you" and the woman is heavy
with knowledge. Now, when she steps outside, she weighs 300
pounds. Old ladies with raccoons on their heads or maybe heads for
raccoons say, "for this I know for the bible tells me so."
The baby grows and grows into a little person who frets and screams
and the woman thinks, "I am not a person who can do this." She reads
that a woman put her toddler in the microwave. The woman checks
the microwave. There is no baby there there. She cries, sometimes.
There, there. No one roots for the whore, she thinks, not even the
scoundrel who pays!
The woman is sailing on a silver saucer with the baby all cuddly and
warm at her breast. The baby coos and the woman whispers, "I love to
you." The clouds pass overhead and the woman is surprised no one
has mentioned the earth's pirouettes or its diminishing water yet
photography by francesca mary jane
francesca mary jane received her first camera 6 years ago (at age 14). she is fairly new to film photography, having only really put the digital camera down to snap some disposables at summer festivals in the past, but recently, francesca inherited her dad's old film camera, fell in love with it, then found a vintage Olympus OM10 SLR to add to her collection. she started using expired rolls for practice, intending to use in-date film later on, but she never made the switch. it's hard not to grow fond of the intensified colour and grain of old film (also, the price). here's a look at francesca's first year in manchester and some insight into her life and work:
"My photographs are of my day-to-day surroundings and the people I spend time with. Some of my favourite photos feature the friends I’ve made since moving to Manchester. Moving away from home is a pretty scary experience and the process of making new friends can be difficult but I’ve been lucky enough to meet some amazing people (some of whom I've even traveled abroad and to different cities across the UK with). I’ve tried to capture us exploring and just the general experiences we've shared, both inside and outside of Manchester."
"When I go out, I usually try to take my camera. The content and location of my photographs are rarely planned. My first year halls are very central, so I’m within walking distance of some great places in Manchester. My favourite place is, without a doubt, a random car park I came across one day. I always manage to take some breathtaking photographs from the top floor - particularly of sunsets. There’s something about a city skyline that can make a simple sunset photograph so much more interesting."
"It’s hard to get away from the fact that my photographs have a common theme of urban lifestyle. Whether I’m at university or at home, I’m always in a big city. I think it's an advantage, as I love the things you can capture and experience in this environment. Art, music, different cultures - I’m always inspired, no matter what city I’m in. So, with summer starting and another two years of University ahead, I’m excited for the new experiences I'll have, the new people I'll meet and capturing these progressions in my photography."
magnificat by luis neer
the soul magnifies god
as i pour water on the ground
in the year of the wolf
one two three four
moon circle moon
the surface of everything i know is a dream--
i dream that my grandfather
is healthy again,
living alone on a grassy mountain
in a tiny shack
with an outhouse and
where he swims everyday
he doesn’t have any friends
but he keeps journals
and waters flowers in pots
on a small windowsill
a black streak across the sky
like a question
and his voice cracks
and the plants depend on balance
in different forms
when i rub a red petal
with my thumb and forefinger
my grandfather quietly scolds me
holding a pen
his hand cured of parkinsons
he has learned to be merciful
[he has learned to live delicately,
walking among flowers]
the surface of everything i know is a dream
so i write my poem with
i try to turn my pen into swords
in a room
walking in a straight line
aligned with the moon
and a broken sidewalk
monsters in sewers
switchblade rain and tears
i have not learned
to manipulate sound [teach me]
i do my best
a mental photograph
i am flooded with caterwaul
please love me
i am trying not to get loved
the light inside the eyes
is a firewall of crystals
crystals on a concrete line
'Is that the 1995 Final Four?’ Naw, that’s Inglorious Basterds. New rap name: fauxwoodmarcus. RNN: real nigga number. All ghetto passes should have an identifying RNN, to keep track of membership. To gather my thoughts before leaving I kick around a stool w/ my foot. The legs are silver & drop straight down curving into a 90 degree angle looping around conjoining into a blocky C. I kick it onto its side & rest my knees sorta uncomfortably on it, rocking back/forth. Sky filters everything a metallicy rapidwater blue. Can’t go down stairs slowly w/ these young ankles. I think I move pretty fluidly eeem though it borders carelessly loose. I know the way my body wants to move & I listen to it. I’m tryna get the message out to FREE HIM to the chiir’n. 2/3: I notice I always have to be holding an extremity, whether it’s each hand holding one another or my left hand grippin my lower left thigh w/ my right leg draped over. Holding my wrist or whippin the yams. Anxiety fleeing my body. Get that shit outta my house. Some IPAs taste like dirt or soap & I fw that. Thought about my relationship w/ going out. Naked in my room after getting caught in rain. It was awful until it resembled an endurance-testing obstacle course. You’re gonna have to hold some Ls either way so accept it. But I weave thoo umbrella’d people under awnings, dodge dripping streams & single self-conscious droplets under scaffolding, considering swinging from corroded beam to beam like monkey bars. My body’s not muscular or cut but if you study its gesticulations I think it proves we have a loving & affectionate relationship.
we tried to video chat but connections failed us, so skype messenger it was:
[16-06-19 11:06:04 AM] msw msw: it's all frozen & staticky on my end, i can't eeeem hear you. we can just message here if that works for you.
[16-06-19 11:07:51 AM] sydney mcneill: Sure - that sounds good! Do you have a particular time of day, place, environment etc. that you find really conducive to writing?
[16-06-19 11:10:21 AM] msw msw: for me it used to be that I had to sit in my room to write in silence. recently w/ these flash-memoirs I'm actually out on the go taking notes when I'm out to really capture the moment. my recent writing is very moment based & exists as sort of a brief flashes & i wanna capture it at the time i feel it to capture it's authenticity. this has made anywhere I'm at a sort of writing environment for me, which I'm not used to but experimenting w/.
[16-06-19 11:16:49 AM] sydney mcneill: Cool! The reason I really wanted to do this interview was because I really liked the idea of the flash-memoirs. Part of the reason I wanted to start Sea Foam was to break down stern age-old genre barriers/formatting also to challenge academia in the art community, all of which can be fairly restricting. Not that there's anything wrong with academia - it's just developed this sort of… superiority complex in a lot of communities which I think could and should be challenged. The idea of this stream-of-thought lyrical documentation of everyday life is really neat and doesn't necessarily subscribe to a genre or conventional style of writing. What inspired you to start doing it?
[16-06-19 11:21:08 AM] msw msw: oddly enough I've been doing it for years. the idea first kinda spawned itself in november when i started working on this memoir of text messages. i always like texting people as practice for writing—but then i realized wait this IS your writing. it's the way i communicate, that's why there's that subtle slang, nicknames, etc. for my whole life I've been writer & for so long i tried to write conventional prose which is still cool & i like to do it's just not necessarily my style. I've never been one for convention. once i started considering this style i was working w/ & develop it it all naturally sorta fell in place. the rhythm came naturally & the whole 350 word max was just an arbitrary guideline that helps me keep it flash-like. people responded so positively that i abandoned all i'd previously been writing & work on this unnurtured voice.
i became obsessed w/ the idea of memoirs & recording your life & the realization that everything you really do in life is part of your memoir, your personal story, & i have crazy ADD a bunch & so much of this world w/ the internet revolves around getting information fast & moving on to the next shit that i thought the length & rhythm of these pieces was relevant.
[16-06-19 11:26:31 AM] sydney mcneill: It definitely is. I think a lot of people use writing as a tool for self-discovery and time preservation, which is so important to sanity sometimes. Have you submitted to many publications? Do you plan on or hope to publish a collection?
[16-06-19 11:26:50 AM] sydney mcneill: fg
[16-06-19 11:27:04 AM] sydney mcneill: The cat is typing...
[16-06-19 11:27:08 AM] sydney mcneill: She's a handful
[16-06-19 11:29:14 AM] msw msw: tell the cat i love her.
in the past I've submitted just short stories to publications. I've submitted these FMs to only a few: you, el balazo press, & I'm currently working on a lil ep of 4 FMs (like 500 words altogether) as a mini collection to spy kids review. so I'm just starting to get my feelers out here w/ these.
i am currently home for both my parents birthdays & I'm writing a collection. these early collections will be very short which I'm totally okay w/. like 3000 words altogether but again i just like how brief it is. firs the aesthetic.
a bigger collection could be down the road fa sho. i write these flash memoirs every day w/ the intent to lose them because that's how memory works in my eyes. so i'll probably have close to 200 by the end of the year. some are unpublishable & exist as just a reference of time/place/emotion & are like one phrase or a word of two. w/ the FMs I'm tryna capture the emotion of the moment most & what i was thinking instead of the actual event. i wanna be able to look back & see exactly where i was at in my head.
[16-06-19 11:32:32 AM] sydney mcneill: The cat says thank you and knocks over my coffee...
[16-06-19 11:34:35 AM] sydney mcneill: I love El Balazo and Spy Kids Review! We're in good company. That's great - a lot to be working on. How long are you home for? And where are you living currently?
[16-06-19 11:35:46 AM] msw msw: i am home in kansas city missouri for 10 days total, only halfway into my trip. i currently live in new york city
[16-06-19 11:36:57 AM] sydney mcneill: Wonderful. I write poems daily and have been for years, so can sort of relate. Sometimes they're really really awful, but it still feels good to put something down on paper that documents a moment in time that is significant to me in the now. Do you find that sometimes you look back and roll your eyes a bit at former selves?
[16-06-19 11:39:22 AM] msw msw: oh yes oooh yes. i'll look back at even something i wrote last night & think where the fuck are you at? haha. it's less of an eyeroll most of the time & is more like a deep appreciation of having grown as a person. we're all constantly changing & shit.
the significant to the me of now is an important feature w/ these so i can relate. just an honest portrait.
[16-06-19 11:42:48 AM] sydney mcneill: Absolutely. I'm almost out of questions but I have a couple more. What are you proudest of? How do you see yourself growing and improving as a writer over time?
Oh, and also, is there anything particular on your mind that you want to say? I like features to be basically whatever the person I'm interviewing wants them to be, so if there's anything writing related or otherwise that you want to share, feel free to say so.
[16-06-19 12:03:01 PM] msw msw: I am most proudest of the person I'm becoming actually. i have spent all my life working towards being the type of person who is the embodiment of empathy & helps people & is a solid friend & who people can trust & count on. the process of really getting to know myself has bettered my writing tenfold because of the confidence it brings. & that shows in my writing a lot. over time I'm not sure how i'll improve. I'm not a person who has hella long term plans (this is because i used to be very controlling of situations up until 6 or 7 years ago, related to heavy anxiety, & i let go & started to be spontaneous & therefore i like to keep the future unpredictable) but I'm excited because i'll continue to grow as a person & hopefully that'll translate. i want to just keep the skills sharp, take days as they come. something i did kinda wanna say: these flash memoirs are designed to not only be shorter & readable but overall accessible. so much of that collegiate/academic attitude as you said can be a lil constraining & obsessed w/ conventionality. i have a strained relationship w/ academia. i have no degree because i couldn't pay for school myself & get loans & all that shit & because of that, on paper at least to some, i feel like people think I'm uneducated & under-qualified & lowkey stupid. i wanna write because i have a unique voice like everyone & i shouldn't be judged for the shit i COULDN'T do as much as the shit I'm doing. i wanna let people know that there are more avenues to express yourself & if you find your own comfortable lane you should fw that. you like what you like & you is what you is. I want to just pour empathy over the world & shit essentially. I'm not sure if my writing work has gotten there yet, to that point where people are consuming sans judgement or preconceived notion, but I'm working on it. something to look forward to fa sho.
And at the stroke of midnight, I run:
leaving a shoe on the seventh or thirteenth step. It is cornflower blue: the color of
a blind child’s eyes. Down I go, down staircases of vertebrae, all the while
hearing the click-clack of the remaining kitten-heel rubbing blisters in my left
ankle. Red little moons I’ve rawed down to fine lean layers. They’re angry with
me, but everyone’s always angry with me. My feet: they shout; I say: shut up, will
you? I’m running from a man in the dark where everything’s all corners. I’m always
waking up finding ropes of stars clutched under my breast, the moon hung all
wrong—upside down or inside out, looking like the fresh hemorrhage of
watercolor, covered in comet dusk or chalk and wearing the night like a velvet
dress. I wish I dressed as well as the universe. Let’s at least try. I’ve always been
obsessed with great wide spaces—agoraphobia my ass. Let’s shout from steeples
and nail down clover like American flags on moons. The point is to live like
galaxies from a long time ago and far away. Science fiction word crawl: I love you,
baby. Speak Skywalker to me. And look good while doing it—running from the
prince. He’s a pest. I hope one day you and I can realize that. He says he loves
me (you) despite the loveyounot petal he plucked from the daisy earlier today.
The sky was low and the color of prep school uniforms. Too dark to be blue and
too light to be black. Repercussions for hearts made of straw—flicking Bic
lighters with thumbs like grapes left too long in the sun. I’m too old for the nail
polish I’m wearing. It’s the color of bubblegum stuck under desks with clumsy
glitter chunks like fuchsia icebergs. All sloppy. I’m sloppy.
Not a creature is stirring, not even you. Goodnight, sweet prince.