When you teach high school, you learn very quickly that you are not that special. You are told on a regular basis that you are mean and boring. You are asked, when you get a little bit too excited about The Crucible, whether you have cats and if so, how many. Your outfits are scrutinized, critiqued, and dismissed. You are given unsolicited hair and makeup advice. You obsessively check to make sure your fly isn’t open. You are mocked for being unfamiliar with the music of 2 Chainz. You are asked, “What do you, like, do on weekends?” You are asked, “So, do you listen to, like, 101.9 ‘The Mix’?” You photocopy handouts of “The Raven” with your own money, only to find these copies thrown on the ground after class, covered in dick illustrations. You dread vocabulary unit 5, because that is the one that contains the word “masticate.”
So it is with a deep and abiding awareness of my own un-specialness that I start this blog today.
Why today? Well,partially because I finally started watching “Girls,” which triggered a total existential crisis. It has to do with my being significantly older and far less successful than Lena Dunham. It has to do with receiving over 100 rejection letters for my short stories, with my MFA thesis gathering dust on the shelves of some Columbia College basement library, with my second novel halfway completed and already sinking under the pressure of my unfulfilled dreams, with my fear that I am going to become that evil English teacher in Finding Forrester who tries to undermine Jamal’s talent as a result of his own failed writing career.
Most of all, it has to do with the promise I made to myself that I would publish my first book by age 30, and then spending my 30th birthday, drunk and bookless, asleep in my backyard amidst a scattering of crushed Old Style cans, wearing a party dress and a pair of wrist guards to help ease the discomfort of the carpal tunnel syndrome I had acquired by writing thousands of words that, as far as I could tell, nobody wanted to publish.
Over the years, my friends have given me countless bad pieces of advice: Let’s get a ride to the taco place on the hood of this guy’s car, for example. Or: it would be really funny if you ripped your pants off and threw them into that tree. Or: the bartender just squeezed his bar rag into this shot glass--now drink it. And most recently: you’re a writer—you should start a blog!
So here it is, friends. I'm a native to the Northwest Side of Chicago, where I still live and work, so I'll be talking about people and places that are of particular interest to this specific nasal-talking, hot-dog eating corner of the world. But I'll also be covering topics of interest to women, people in their thirties, teachers, writers, readers, drinkers, daughters, wives, and nail-biters. If any of these apply to you, I hope you’ll come back soon and read some of my drivel.
And eventually, buy the book.
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