01.31.23 [on the F train]

i am going to try submitting something to the new yorker! i think it has a decent shot of being appreciated if i execute the idea well, which is kind of terrifying; now i have to write the hell out of it. i haven't worked on humor for, oh, a decade, when i would buzz mcsweeney's with a list every once in a while,* like a comet that wanted you to try the veal and tip your servers. this is a better idea than those were, but i haven't described it to anyone because i'll need to see if the premise works without explanation for early readers once i have a draft finished. (i don't have a draft finished, though i have the intro together, which for me is half the battle. i'm manifesting, just accept that 2023 is the year of woo-woo.)

this prospective ha-ha of mine - it's a daily shout, in theory - requires research, so i've been getting all kinds of exotic alerts from the academic journal aggregators i fired up when i was writing about iceland in the fall. sounds like a barrel of laughs, right? it is odd working regularly and earnestly at something new and unlikely, but i'm enjoying myself.

my other nonstandard project is an essay due in mid-february on, among other things, robot cats. i am to interview the makers of robot cats about what it is that makes them catlike, and i have a strong suspicion that no one at all will answer my queries. no, that's not quite right - i think one particular source will reply in a way that both bums me out in terms of my own mortality and makes me feel even worse about steve's illness than i already do. it's hard to tell how steve is doing, though it seems clear that he has unfinished business on this plane of existence. i am not not interested in interviewing him about it.

my aunt and godmother's brother died recently, and in the back-and-forth after i wrote to offer condolences i sent her one of some good death poems i read in the latest installment of emma straub's newsletter. it seemed like a good idea at the time - the poem made me feel good - but joe thought it wouldn't comfort her. you can read the whole thing here (it's the second one, "in the beautiful rain"); i was going to tell you my favorite part and realized i don't have one, it's all lovely, but the part that felt like it was meant for me is
“Though grudging at first,
he fell like the rain,
with his eyes wide open,
willing to change.”
i'm just about to finish straub's this time tomorrow and discovered last night that its heroine and i have the same birthday, which feels like something she (emma straub, that is) would find amusing; it's a Plot Point. maybe i have an unrealistic sense of what authors want to know about the people reading their books? i once sent patricia lockwood a photo of my purple toe after falling down the stairs in our friends' casita in the dominican republic because i was socked in with thoughts of her boss memoir, and i think it was well-received, but that might not be the best example. a few years after that i sent her a princess di beanie baby that went on to make an appearance on a mid-pandemic virtual book tour; patricia, i hope you never feel like you have to give the authorities a heads up about me.

*i should have quit when i was ahead with that one; they used my second (as i recall) submission in a book, and my batting average wasn't going to go up.


Anonymous said...

_M_D_F_ said...

In Straub's poem, Fiddle Faddle and The weight of my earnest affection are my favorite of All the Things.

'Ah, are you digging on my grave' reads as a good death poem. And pretty lighthearted for sour dude Hardy.

Good luck with your humor piece! I see just now that "humor" comes from the Latin word for "'moisture,' from humere (see humid)." So maybe it helps comedy writing if you're sweaty?

Love your fancy soap blurbs. :)

lauren said...

Her writing about her dad is really something. I came to her novel through it (and of course that novel is all about her dad); I love, LOVE her newsletter.

I don't think I'll have a grave marker but if I did SOUR DUDE HARDY would be on there.

I'm so sweaty, MDF.

LPC said...

A comet that wants you to try the veal? Did you make that up? How are you so brilliant?

I hope Steve isn't in too much pain.