What Doesn't Kill You

I've had some problems with depression lately, so I thought I would write a post reminding myself of the positive things that have happened thus far this year.

I guestblogged for Kottke.org. Like I said before, this was an awesome time. Why doesn't the New York Times ask me to guest blog for them? This is one of life's many mysteries. It would be great if a high profile blog picked me up. I'm a great blogger. My friend says when you want something, the universe's answer is either: Yes, Yes But Not Right Now, Or No I Have Something Better In Mind. Or whatever. You get the idea. Universe, I await your call.

I published THE TUMOR. Fuck, this guy is like my baby! I love him so much: his cover, his pages, his content. His tone is so marvelously morally bankrupt. I read something earlier today about someone who kept being a nasty resistant asshole until the end of his days, but I can't remember who it is anymore. Excitingly, my next to be self-published short story is underway. It involves a robot. It is already a masterpiece of the genre. Trust me on this.

I auditioned for and got in an improv group that actually performs in a real theater and everything. I heard there were going to be auditions for this improv group downtown, and I went just to challenge myself. I'd only done one three-day intensive improv class at The Second City in Chicago. Experienced, I am not. A few days later I got a call from one of the people who runs it. She left a message, asking me to call her back. I was like, damn, can't she just leave a message telling me they don't want me? Now I have to call her back and get rejected live? Instead, she said I was in. What the hell! There have been a lot of rehearsals, and god knows I need them. Sometimes, I get confused by all the rules, and I spend way too much time thinking how I have to do everything right or I'm a failure, and I forget to have fun and play and whatever. Last Friday, I had to sing for the first time, and while I am a terrible singer, for some reason, it was a great time. I also rapped. Go figure.

I ate at Next. This was a living the dream moment. Such a peculiar, special thing. I want to do more things like this. I want to eat at Alinea one day. I think this is very much a thing that is art that happens to use food. I have a kind of emotional reaction to it. Probably because eating is so primal. My defenses fall away when I stuff duck in my mouth, I guess.

I got a short story published in PANK Magazine. This was a piece of fiction that I submitted a long time ago that got accepted a while ago, but the print copy arrived in the mail last week. It had a $20 bill stuck in it. (That's why self-publishing your fiction is the way to go, IMO. In contrast, I've made almost $600 off THE TUMOR thus far. I'm pretty sure 600 is more than 20.) For the last several years, as is the case with most of us, I'm used to seeing my work online. It was cool to see my words in print. BRESLIN was printed at the top of my story pages. Ink is real.

I got accepted to THREAD at Yale. The only reason I applied to this journalism program at Yale was because I saw a listing for it on Romenesko. I wasn't sure they would accept me, but I thought there was a decent chance they would. I was thrilled when they did. No, it certainly isn't the same as going to Yale, but who fucking cares! I am super excited about going to this. Journalism, journalism, journalism. I hope to meet some cool writers, and tromp around acting like a journalist, and meet some super cool mentors at the top of their game. Yay for Yale.

Getting over that whole thing, maybe. One thing I noticed that I wasn't expecting was that writing, packaging, and publishing THE TUMOR caused something in me to shift. I think maybe it helped me release some of my anxiety surrounding having breast cancer several years ago. Mostly, I avoid reading stories about cancer because they just make me anxious, But after I published THE TUMOR, I started reading more stories about cancer. News articles, essays, what have you. Recently, I went to Aruba, and I picked up a copy of Esquire for the plane, and I read "The Friend" by Matt Teague. It's pretty much one of the most terrifying things you will ever read. In cancer stories, it's always like oooh the battle and then fast forward over the dying part and then dead the end. Teague pulls back the curtain on the dying part, and my god it is just ... I still haven't gotten over reading it. It haunts me. But it makes me want to be a better writer, too: pull back more curtains, be less afraid, show the world what others haven't seen so they can't unsee it. I noticed that when I wrote "Blood Sacrifice" a few weeks ago that it was a story more about recovery than about illness. So congratulations to myself.

Oh, and I got on Instagram. Or, more importantly, I started posting boob selfies on Instagram. Recently, I had a friend diagnosed with breast cancer, and she sent me a photo of her boobs, and I sent her a photo of my boobs. Tit pics are the new dick pics. You can see in that Instagram beach boob selfie that the one on your right is a bit smaller. That's the one that had the cancer. I had a lumpectomy. The tumor was on the inner curve of the boob. The lady surgeon cut around the areola and opened it like a door and pulled the tumor out through the opening. I hope they waterboarded my tumor after they removed it, I told my friend. I suppose that's not nice. It was just doing what malignant things do. Eating people. Go eat someone else, Mr. Tumor. I got boob selfies to take, you shitty prick.

In any case, I don't know why I'm depressed. Genetic programming, maybe. I shouldn't be.

Thanks for reading.

Buy THE TUMOR: "This is one of the weirdest, smartest, most disturbing things you will read this year."