In 2019, I began work on my novel Her. Like most of my ideas, it started as an image: a mother holding her young daughter, looking out over a crumbling road as a weary sun set on a sickened, dying world. I didn’t know then—how could anyone?
When I first wrote Jesus Bread, I was still in the MFA program at SNHU. I fell in love with this story. But when I submitted the first draft for round-table feedback, the comments were less than kind:
Published on Intrinsick Magazine: The buttered body of Christ bathed in Sunday sunlight upon a polished silver platter. I dropped the crystal cover on the vestry floor and stifled a cough. Dust stuck to the spines of old hymnals, the abandoned robes of dead choir members, and a set of forgotten advent angels.
“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.”
― May Sarton
Hi, it’s been awhile. There’s no point in lying to you; you know me too well. I’ve been drowning in words.
We need more grace in the writing world. People are not book factories. Creating a virtual shouting match about who has it the worst but is still doing better than you helps literally no one. In fact, it hurts.
God, I wanted to love this book. I knew it had controversial reviews, but I was already fan-girling about the premise: a not-so-dystopian future where psycho conservatives have outlawed abortion, in vitro fertilization, and single parent adoption. That’s exactly the kind of too-close-to-home feminist plot I’m hungry for.
In 2016, my four-year-old daughter painted my nails red and blue, and I cast my ballot for the first woman president of the United States. I was certain my neighbors recognized what I already had: Donald Trump was dangerous, deranged, and would hurt us all.
But I was wrong.
Every year on my birthday, I buy myself two Boston Creme donuts and devour them with a gluttonous indulgence. First, I lick off the chocolate icing. Yes, it gets all over my face. Then, I nibble the naked donut around the edges until there’s only a thin layer of pastry between me and the cream. Finally, I inhale the donut in no more than three bites, audibly moaning when I finally taste the gooey inside.
Every year I’m enchanted by the quiet death of summer and the cooling rise of autumn. This transition occurs around dusk when the winds pick up and goosebumps pop along my arms. I’ll stop and look at the sky; the clouds are always those heavy, rolling gray ones. Autumn arrives as a whisper, but I listen for it year-round.
When Jesus walked into the nuthouse, I knew things would get interesting. Our savior wore a muddy gray t-shirt, a pair of ripped jeans my mother would never allow past her seasonal welcome mat, and a pair of really rad, orange converse.