On a Moderately Personal Note or (Shut the F*** up and Write)

Disclaimer: I don’t think my husband knows about this blog, and while he helped me come up with the title (I seriously suck at titles;it’s a curse), I don’t think he’ll ever read this. Babe, if you read this, please tell me.

Okay, I have the best husband. No, seriously. I know this sounds like bragging, but he really is awesome. First off, on a non-One Mean MFA career note, the man is an incredible father. He loves our kid a lot. I can see it in his face, in the way he holds our little one, and in how he wishes our kid will learn to walk quickly so he can chase the Mini-One Mean in the yard. It’s amazing.

As far as my career is concerned, he is even better. I knew he would be a great dad; it’s one of the reasons I fell for the guy. He loves unconditionally. When he loves, he gives all of himself. It’s something I wish I did. I don’t love like that. I’m guarded. I don’t trust. I worry and am not confident that I can be loved unconditionally. I love him unconditionally now, but it has taken me years to learn to love in the way he does. Even when I f*** up (which is often), he forgives and does something incredible. He reminds me why I love writing. I love writing because I love people, and he is the people that I love.

Okay, I know you’re thinking, “Shut the hell up, One Mean. No one wants to read a stupid lovey-dovely bullsh** story–and right before Valentine’s day. You stupid whore. Shut. Up.” Well, I won’t shut up. I love him.



Mr. One Mean MFA.

A few weeks ago, Husband and I had a huge fight. I hadn’t been writing, reading, and my agreed upon house commitments were falling wayside (don’t worry, our kid was still being well taken care of, and I was all caught up with my television shows). I was in a deep rut. I had abandoned myself. I forgot who I was before marriage and Mini-One Mean.

Since we’ve gotten married (strangely enough), it’s been rough. I think losing my mother didn’t help with that. When you lose a parent, you lose yourself. You’re angry because your mother was young and wonderful and now who the hell can you talk to when you’re having an existential crisis. Whose going to talk you off the ledge when some teenage son of a b**** cuts you to your core, and vodka feels like the only solution? You remember you are mortal and that sh** is real. Anyway, I was in a rut. Things were not great. Since we’ve been together we’ve always been great at communicating, and we’d both shut down. We weren’t interacting with each other. We had good days, but mostly they were blah days.

This past weekend I spoke a conference for the first time in a long time. It felt so good to be an academic for five minutes (I’ll be writing about this sometime soon). I was excited, Missy and I were about to get into some trouble (again, don’t worry Missy and One Mean MFA will have another reunion in Minneapolis at AWP this year!). Husband was upset because he felt like (rightly so) that I wasn’t doing enough to get out of the high school job that I’m still at. While conferences are part of this, it’s not enough. I need to be publishing.

I got upset that he was upset.

“Speaking at conferences is important.”

“And publishing isn’t?”

“It is, but this is part of the academic stuff!”

“One Mean, you’re not writing.”

“When am I supposed to write?!”

This has been a challenge for me (as it is for all writers–I know perspective and all that jazz). Being a teacher at the high school level limits my time to do anything, including parenting. I often leave work many hours after the official school day ends and then it’s mom duties, wife duties, and before I know it, it’s bed time. Of course, I was also squeezing in a ton of TV, not reading, and not exercising.

“Do you know what I’d give for 30 minutes a day to just f***ing write?”

“So do it!”


It seemed like the best time would be after dinner when our mini-us was sleeping and we’ve had dinner.

“What about the kitchen? Oh God, it’s like never-ending the crap I have to do!”

“If you were writing, I’d be okay with the kitchen being a mess.” I thought he was bullsh**ing me, but he wasn’t.

Since this horrible fight where I cried and got super upset, he’s helped me with the wifely duties, but and the biggest thing I’ve had to give up was television. I’m really behind on all my shows, but for the first time since grad school I have a routine. I’ve even managed to squeeze reading a book into the week AND have been writing more than ever.

I always wonder how the successful writers do it.

There are a million articles about the habits of successful writers. It seems they all skirt around two issues.

The first being, you have to fucking write.

Shut the f*** up and write.

The second is being single helps. I don’t want to blame motherhood or wifelyness on my lack of writing because those things are not the reason I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t writing because I had found other things to make a priority. I have serious guilt issues and sometimes feel like I need to abandon everything for my husband and child. This is not the case. In fact, my husband fell in love with me because I loved to write. He loves the writer version of me, not the version who is all caught up on Downton Abbey, yet she doesn’t have a writing project she’s working on. It’s so easy to let that version of one’s self go after marriage and children, but I’m not happy teaching high school (more on this “revelation” soon).

I’m blessed to have a husband who actually believes in me. He sincerely believes there is talent in my fingertips waiting to reach the page. Needing to reach the page. He believes in me way more than I do. I often hate what I write. In fact, this feels self-indulgent, and I probably relied to heavily on curse words when I could have inserted more humor. Regardless, he loves me so much he’ll let the clean-freak version he knows me to be go to the wayside if it means I’m being the nerdy writer he met in college plus a few pounds.

I’m lucky.

I know this. I thank God every day, even when I’m in rut.

So my advice to those of you who are in a rut, maybe you’re single and maybe you’re busy as hell. Regardless, you can find 30 minutes, hell maybe you can start with 15 or 10 minutes. I know I started writing over an hour ago. I got lost in the words and the story and here I am, still writing. It happens. The first day I committed to 30 minutes, I struggled; 30 minutes felt like a lot, but today it seems it may not be enough. Cut something out of your life you’ve been prioritizing and writing.

Shut the f*** up and write.


Cobwebs Away

I know it’s been almost a year, but here I am alive and well. 

After my mother passed away, things got crazy. There have a been many big changes in my life that I’m not quite ready to discuss here, although I am still teaching at the same oppressive school (in case you’re wondering).

 I’ve been in a major writing rut since about May, and after some very jarring words, I’ve decided it’s time to get refocused. Time to prioritize. Time to write. For real. 

This may sound terrible, but I’ve been wanting to write a memoir for about 5 years but didn’t feel comfortable writing it with my mother being alive. I don’t know what will happen when I really start writing it, but I know that I wouldn’t have been able to stomach her reading it. What’s even more depressing is that now I don’t have an excuse to not write it. The excuse was always that she might read it. Even though she died almost a year ago, the not writing it has seemed to keep her alive. Once I really get started, it will be another confirmation that she is dead. 

There have been small things that on a regular basis remind me of the permanence of her death. Before she died, she and my dad brought me some food from home that I can’t get where I live, and I had frozen some of it and when I finally decided to eat it, it was irreplaceable because she wouldn’t be able to bring me more. Or going through her clothes with my sisters and realizing she’d never wear them again. Bringing those clothes home and storing them, going through them again and smelling her scent on them. Listening to old voicemails over and over and over again. I have a voicemail from her from years ago, and it’s about 10 seconds long. All it says is, “Hi [insert my name here], it’s Mommy. I love you.” Writing the memoir will only resurface the pain that the voicemail does, or her clothes do. Except, I think that the longer I make excuses not to write it, the easier it becomes to abandon the storyteller in me.

Here’s the thing, the mega-Catholic in me has this weird fear that her spirit will read it. I know that it sounds crazy, but I swear this thought has occurred to me. I’ve even debated fictionalizing it, so no one can get pissed. I would prefer, however, to write the story in my own voice and not in the voice of some fictitious version of myself.

Thankfully, Husband is always around to remind me that I’m not writing for anyone but me. This is a challenge as I’m so insecure and worry deeply about what others think of me. I also worry that my memoir will focus too much on Black Sheep sister and not really be my memoir. I’m not sure how to combat this. 

Writing it and seeing where it goes might not be a bad idea.

Starting a big writing project is always scary. I think that’s why I’ve been putting it off for so long. 

In the meantime, I’ll be warming up here again. 

I hope the cobwebs clear soon.



Wedding Talk–No worries, I’ll Make it Quick

I don’t want to turn this into a wedding planning blog, because lord knows there are plenty out there, but I must get somethings off my chest.

As you know, The Boyfriend/Future Husband proposed over Thanksgiving break while we were on vacation. Well, as I’ve mentioned before I come from a huge Italian family. In fact, before we posted it on facebook, I called my mother. In less than 2 hours, my cousin (who is like my sister) had already left me message on facebook congratulating me. I was actually signing on to write her an email about it, but she already knew.

So within two hours, the news was international.


Well, we’ve met with the priest and are working on setting a date.

I’ll be home for Christmas and am hoping to have the venue and church squared away. Of course this would mean things need to go as planned. I have to say, I’m so grateful Future Husband asked me when he did, because he’s allowed for me to have a little over a year to plan the wedding.

While I’m sure there will be plenty of stories that will come from the wedding planning, right now setting the date and convincing my mother that having the wedding where Future Husband and I want  is turning into such a nightmare.

My whole family lives outside of the country. Future Husband’s family lives in America. All of the older Italian generation wants to go to the wedding, but travel for them is difficult. I get it, I really do, but I have my heart set on a certain place, and Future Husband likes the idea too. Frankly, it’s our day, and we want it have the party where we  want to have the party. I know it sounds selfish, but whatever.

I love my mother more than she realized, and  more than anything I want to make my parents happy. FH (Future Husband) and I met with the priest, and because of the date we want he can’t marry us. My mother asked our priest back home, and he can’t either unless we get married on the Friday, instead of the Saturday. While, getting married on the Friday would be cheaper, I am hell-bent on the Saturday. As I write this, I feel like I sound like some crazy unreasonable bride that Oxygen network would kill to film. Am I being unreasonable to want to marry on a certain date, in a certain city (that I should mention has a huge place  FH and my heart. We met there and went to college together there. So many great memories. And bonus it’s close to where my immediate family lives)?

Look, I know I’m particular, high-strung, stubborn, and anal, but is that necessarily a bad thing when it comes to planning the first big party as an official, united couple?

Am I being crazy? Bitchy? I just want it be this great party that people look back to and thinks, “Man, I sure had a blast at FH and One Mean MFA’s wedding.”

Is that so terrible?

Insert Title about Moving Here

Tomorrow is the last day of regular classes before the semester ends. I’m thorough thrilled because once I move into my new apartment (which will happen this weekend), I will finally have some time to get some grading done.

I shamefully admit that moving has taken a huge chunk out of my workout time, and I feel like a disgusting slob who is going to look like fat bride (in a year) if I don’t my butt in gear. I’m so grateful that I get the keys to my new place on Friday so I can get this moving party started.

My old lease ends on Tuesday of next week, so hopefully by Sunday I can have everything in the new place and be unpacked by Monday. I unpack wicked fast.

While I’m excited to have a new place (kind of), there are some things I will miss about my old apartment. For one, I have built-in bookshelves at my old apartment and I only needed one book shelf. Because my new place doesn’t have any built-ins I’m going to need to buy bookshelves. I’m totally bummed about this. As much fun as it is to spend hours at Ikea, and dream about what your apartment could look like, I simply cannot not afford to be buying furniture. Also, this may seem foolish but whatever, I feel like buying bookshelves is silly because eventually The Boyfriend (when he’s my husband) and I will have a house/place together and buying  furniture seems like a waste. In fact, this is the main reason why I never bought any bedroom furniture.

I do need to take my books out though, I am always digging through my books. My books are totally employed. I use them regularly. I sift through them, read favorite sections of my favorite books, use them in my teaching. My books don’t just sit on the shelves and look fabulous, in turn making me fabulous. I put my books to work. So, I will need a place to put them.

I guess, I can always sell whatever furniture I don’t need when I finally have a house with The Future Husband (maybe that should be what I call The Boyfriend from now on–FH?–What do you think?).

The best thing about moving, I think, is purging. Yesterday, I got rid of old shoes, some clothes, and just stuff that I don’t need or want I did find some stuff that I’ll try to sell when I move, but getting rid of some of the stuff that I don’t need is nice.

I try so hard to be a minimalist, but then I do have about 15 boxes of books, so I guess I’m not so good at that. I also have 2 boxes of DVDs. I think this is why I’m so resistant to buy furniture and drawers and those plastic Tupperware things to get organized. I know I won’t be living in this new place for longer than a year, and everything that goes in to that place, has to come out. It’s just best not to have too much stuff.

There is one caveat, I desperately want to decorate this apartment. I know I can’t really afford it, but I would like this new space to be more pleasant and homey. I do, however, think that spending money on this apartment is foolish. I mean, what if I don’t want to use the same items to decorate, then I’ve bought stuff for nothing.

I don’t know. It seemed fine in my last place, that I didn’t decorate. I think I can handle another year of nothingness on the walls.

We shall see.

Maybe if I had some tips for how to decorate, with antique/vintage stuff, on a budget I’d feel better.