Unusual update

And a new publication

Life has been very unusual for the past two months. I’m not usually working an intense job in Scotland or traveling in the Iberian peninsula. During this time, the idea of ‘noticements’ — moments worth noticing — has felt a little off. Because everything has been so strange and new that everything is worth noticing. It’s overwhelming.

So I apologize for the radio silence. In Scotland, I scarcely had time to write for myself. I tried really hard to wake up and write before work and ended up writing a shitty novella about devils in the Ice Age. I went back to read it a couple days ago and it’s… bad. Oh well. I might turn it into something better later. But thankfully, while traveling, I’ve had more time to write and it’s been generative. I’ve dived back into my new novel, brainstormed ideas for new stories, and started writing poetry. I’ll post a poem at the bottom of this newsletter. Hope you don’t hate it, I’m new. 

In the meantime, I’ve had some happy writing news. A few stories of mine have been picked up for publication. I’ll have five new stories published within the next few months!

The first one is available now. It’s through an awesome zine called King Ludd’s Rag. Coincidentally, this story is about Ireland. (Yes, I know theoretically that Scotland and Ireland are different, but they have similar vibes to me. I’ve lived in both and I love them both). It’s about two Irish children who try save their land through a reverse-haunting. It’s also about the psychological impact of working on climate change. And it’s about ghosts and myths. And dirt. Lots of mud. 

It costs $5 for the zine (or $4 before Monday), which has two longish stories (including mine). It’s a physical thing! So not available online, but if you order it, you’ll get it in the mail. That means you’ll be able to pick up my words in your hands, flip the pages, sniff it, rub it on your belly, or throw it away if you hate it (please recycle). Check it out here.

Order King Ludd’s Rag

If you don’t feel like parting with a fiver and/or don’t believe in the idea of physical paper, just let me know and I’ll be happy to send you a PDF of my story. 

Also, knocking on all the wood, there might be some movement on publication of my first novel. But maybe not. But maybe so. But probably not? Who knows. Either way, I’m happy. Feeling very lucky. Blessed by life’s randomness. 

Anyways. Now for the Odyssean task of flying back home to the States on the first day of tightened restrictions. I leave you with a shitty poem. 

Much love,

Denise


Maps

I found an old map of a Roman city
showing paths through baths hot lukewarm and cold,
and a gladiator stadium,
and a basement cellar
with washroom holes lined cheek to cheek.
Winding sewers link lion cages
to emperors,
sewers that transform shit into gold
and words into water.
There is no romance on this map
except what your mind creates.

I found a useless map of an eternal Spanish city
with winding alleys maze-ing on a hillside
showing different paths in different lights:
By day, take the stairs
before twilight makes them dead-end.
By night, go under archways
before morning’s collapse.
The cobblestones create their own mosaic maps,
shaped to mimic gods
who keep out tourists with weak suitcase wheels.
The maps show no paths from here to there.
(All you need to do is look up).

I found a Portuguese train map.
It doesn’t show the lemon trees
easily confused for bitter orange trees,
or why we’ve come to accept sour lemons
yet shun oranges of similar nature.
It simply says the number of times
the train will shudder with relief
before we shimmy out
and look at the conductor
who silently points at the exit.

A Google satellite shows the lemon trees,
the erratic opening hours of the doors
of a market
(but nothing of the shops within).
And the little blue dot gets as lost
as if it itself used a map
in unmappable alleys
and orients towards not north
but to a god of its own creation.


PS: Typical Barcelona photo:

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