2060| Ping! Ping! A submarine

One thing I’d forgotten about while in the US was the constant pitting of Shane and my music tastes against each other. Quick question: in the car, who decides the playlist, the driver, or the passenger? Shane and I have completely contrary choices in music, given that I listen mainly to musical soundtracks and he listens to trash, aka, viral tiktok songs. Plus, neither of us like to take turns. Cue: an endless wrestling over the sound controls…

It brings me great shame to say that Shane’s recent obsession, which I couldn’t stand at first, has gotten to me. It’s a song for children and includes a backing track of baby’s laughter, which gives me actual nightmares. Recently, every time he’s pulled up at my void deck, it’s been the same: with his phone already plugged in and the song in mid-blast. Usually I’d wait till he starts driving, then try to sneakily unplug his phone and replace it with mine… but the other day, I was making eggs alone in the middle of the night, and when the oil hit the pan, and sizzled, I found myself murmuring, Ping! Ping! A submarine, Phew! Phew! helicopter, which was when I knew that I was, unequivocally, losing it.

x
Jem

#2059| Full Circle

My girlfriend: do you feel like years of blogging has prepared you for this
Me: one hundred percent absolutely yes

I’m now a columnist for NY-based socially distanced publication, No Contact Magazine. New CNF piece every Monday Eastern Standard Time – it’s been really fun for me to have a space to explore a variety of forms and techniques, especially in a space separate from my regular writing (fiction, long-form). The first piece was structured as a bingo card, and the second was in second-person, which is a criminally underutilized form. Though I must say that I did read an excellent second-person piece recently, the 2008 Natalie Diaz short story, How To Love a Woman With No Legs, in Volume 38 of The Iowa Review, which left me gasping for breath.

Read Curbside: Between Two States.
Read Curbside: Limited Permissions.
Read the far superior Natalie Diaz’s How To Love a Woman With No Legs.

x
Jem

#2058 | Recent Google Searches

1. “hard to focus??”
2. “are migraines normal for your mid-twenties”
3. “coronavirus nyc”
4. “durian flowering season”; “types”
5. “this is not a pipe”; “treachery of images”
6. “how to make espresso at home”
7. “what do bed bugs eat”
8. “mask breakout”; “mask-cne”
9. “first amendment rights”
10. “gunny sack”; “cleaver”; “duri”
11. “bad behavior during coronavirus”
12. “platypus milk”
13. “contact tracing scout”; “reddit” “corona”
14. “is jajabings useless”
15. “is scrivener worth it”
16. “why is Gmail so slow”; “is Gmail slow”
17. “how to speed up computer”
18. “time dilation”
19. “how to eat spicy food”; “improve spice tolerance”
20. “where is my bin google docs”

#2057 | Creepy McCreepz

SmokeLong was putting together a playlist for the issue, and asked me to pick a song to represent “Waiting”! IT WAS THE MOST FUN I HAD ALL WEEK.

Shortlisted songs:


It ended up being between Paloma Faith’s Only Love can Hurt like This, Blondie’s One Way or Another, or Heart of Glass, another Blondie song. I wanted something a bit upbeat and crazy, but with undertones of hurt. Blondie’s One Way or Another is super fun, iconic, and worked the stalker aspect, but Paloma’s paired with the story would play into the nuances of love between friends that can often hold as much, if not more emotional power than that of the romantic narratives we are raised on. I’m interested in female friendships, the richness, complexities and devastation that they can hold, and lyrically, Heart of Glass was the perfect fit: Once I had a love and it was divine / Soon found out I was losing my mind / It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind / Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind. Hiding hurt behind upbeat punk pop; harboring feelings of betrayal and hurt behind action and obsessiveness. Mmmm. Yum.

I couldnt stop laughing, imagining the editors’ faces if I sent the Paloma song in. In the end I chickened out and sent them all three, and asked them to pick. I’m not good at choosing where to eat either, can you tell?

The issue’s playlist is here.

I was hyping up with my girlfriend Jenna through the entire song selection process – she’s always had excellent music taste, and then got way excited and went down the rabbit hole later that night, with this as the result…


yeah baby

I kid you not, when I made this playlist I got so excited I couldn’t sleep till 8am the next morning – I was bouncing off the walls. I’d forgotten all about most of these songs! I later introduced them to my baby sister, who agrees that they are, indeed, a bop. The music of my teenage years was so sincere – it’s all stuff like, man, i like this girl, but she doesn’t know i exist, etcetera. Nowadays, on the other hand…

x
Jem

PS. I also did an interview with SmokeLong about the story, which you can read here.

#2056 | Waiting

2020-06-22_03-25-36

People have been trying to take down the Influencers for some time now but I have my eyes fixed on just the one.

Been keeping this one in for a while, but I have a new story out, which interrogates the fixation on influencer culture within the fictionalized context of a quarantine, in dream literary magazine SmokeLong Quarterly, news which caused me to shriek and give Athena a great big scare when I got the email over a month ago. I wrote it back when COVID-19 first hit, and it was my first attempt at flash because the form seemed to suit the high strung panic of the time. Of course, the global panic has only increased, what with the magical thinking people are engaging in now, but that’s off-topic…

Anyway. I sent it out to a bunch of places but didn’t expect much, you know, since I have more or less been rejected approximately fifty times a year… a writer’s thick skin is her best asset, her own form of magical thinking, I suppose. And a couple of weeks later I got the news that it was longlisted / shortlisted / a finalist for their SmokeLong Quarterly Flash Fiction Award 2020!!

Long story short this was my first ever international acceptance and I will forever be grateful to SmokeLong for giving my baby a home. Now excuse me while I go off and have a celebratory beer, teehee.

Read Waiting here; author interview here.

x
Jem