The Distraction Game: What I’m Doing to Disengage from the Trump Presidency

Hey, Fickle Readers! This is my first official, written post for 2017, and I’ve been avoiding it for weeks now. In fact, I’ve been avoiding writing anything at all here because of the election. Like many, I was not pleased with the outcome of said election. I would say, in retrospect, I tried very hard not to be devastated, because I’ve lived through devastating elections in recent memory and I know I’m not strong enough to let yet another get to me the way those other disappointments did.

What I wish I could do is vow to stay away from news of the Trump <hurk> presidency for the next four years. I wish I could do this for a number of reasons. First, picturing and/or thinking about Trump in the White House makes me viciously, brutally, destructively angry. Just reading the news (let alone seeing his bloated chipmunk face and pompous, puny-fisted hand gestures) threatens to send me into a She-Hulk-like rage, where I tear at my clothes and go out and find something to smash.

Artist's rendition of one possible scenario.

Artist’s rendition of one possible scenario.

There’s also the fact that I don’t want my wrath against the government to rule my life the way it kinda did during the <urk> Bush/Cheney administration. Back then, I homed in on every lie, every idiocy, every legistlative abomination, and held it in my mind as I waited for the day when someone would finally notice and make the whole thing stop. Needless to say, for eight whole years, my mental perseverance did nothing. I don’t want to start fixating on Trump the same way (and I know myself–I will fixate) and have him destroy my peace of mind for years on end.

And yet, and yet. My Twitter feed is full of outrage and snark over the narcissistic craptocracy of Trump and his cronies, and I’ve found I can’t avoid peeking, reading, retweeting, and happily getting sucked in. Inaugural crowd size! Women’s March! Imaginary immigrant voter fraud! Mistreating Melania! Punching Nazis!!! How can an anti-Trumper like me not get into the spirit when it seems as though Trump has already pissed off huge swaths of the high-end snark-crafters who patrol the Internet?

Furthermore, ignoring the <hrp!> Trump presidency could have serious consequences for the country. I strongly believe that. If everyone who’s disgusted by Trump averts her eyes and goes off the grid, nothing about his wholesale destruction of the government will change. I don’t want to look back and remember how I sat on my ass and played video games while the U.S. collapsed. Not when a few mechanisms in our rusting democratic process still function and can still be operated by citizens to effect change.

So my overall strategy for dealing with the indefinite future is to find ways not to think of the future–or the present–all the time. I’m trying to cultivate new interests, new obsessions, and let them take me as far away as I need to go to prevent myself either from chewing off a limb or leveling some Republican lobbyist’s shi-shi Capitol Hill brownstone. (And I have been to Capitol Hill, and the brownstones there are beyond shi-shi.) Hopefully, I’ll be able to overcome my usual inertia and write about some of the new shiny objects now taking up my brain. Otherwise, I’ll continue my usual pattern of remembering I haven’t posted anything to my blog in forever and quickly digging up a halfway interesting iPhone photo. Y’all like chickens, right?

Happy 2017, everyone! Stay safe, and try to stay sane.

My New Thing: Poetry? Word Art?

Hey, Fickle Readers! I haven’t posted here in a while, I know. The truth is, I’ve been hanging out on Instagram and putting together these…things. Not really sure what they are. I like calling it micropoetry, but some of it is only a single line or a single word. Plus, there’s a visual element that I’ve been working with. 


So I’d call these pieces mixed media, but I’m doing all of them on my phone. Which would be one medium.


So what are these things? Are they any good? What should I do with them? Why can’t I stop making them?


Anyway, if anyone’s interested, I’m obsessively producing these little visual/verbal items at @missficklereader on Instagram. Come visit if you’d like to see what’s running through my brain at any given moment!

So I Did That: The Women Who Submit Submission Blitz

Just wrapped up my own brief run in the Women Who Submit submission blitz. The idea is to get up your courage and submit to high-quality journals, which not nearly enough women get published in or even try to get published in. I only managed 7 before I wore out. Add in the one from last night I sent after midnight and before I even remembered this was happening, and I’ve contributed a grand total of 8 submissions to the overall pile. Not quite as good as I used to do, but all I really have time for now.

Mind you, when I was doing this 20 years ago via snail mail, I had all kinds of submission strategies: which journals got the first batch, which had sent personal notes, which I sent to as a hail-Mary pass just on the off-off-off-off-chance they’d be interested, etc. it was also a more labor-intensive endeavor, what with trips to Staples for photocopies, piles of copies that needed to be paper clipped, label printing, making SASEs, filling out 9 x 12 envelopes, dividing everything up in piles to be collated, and hauling it all to the post office to mail. For you young’uns who never had the pleasure of participating in this dance, consider yourselves lucky, because the whole process was a serious pain in the ass.

Then again, there are procedures nowadays that make e-submitting its own kind of hell. Formats! Individual submission managers! And fees, fees, fees! It’s true that these fees are often nominal (and that’s what journals like to call them–“nominal”). It’s also true that you’d pay at least as much, if not more, if you mailed in your work, once you added up the postage, office supplies, and copying/printing costs. Still, those $2 and $3 and $4 charges add up, and the people who get shafted by them most are the marginalized writers who can’t afford to spend $30 every other week to get their work out there. It’s quite a sucky system, and I don’t know what to do about it. Not sure that I even realized how sucky it was until I was asked to pony up my credit card over and over again this afternoon.

On the plus side, I also noticed myself wishing I could get all this submission bullshit over with and get back to writing. That, I feel, is a sign of maturity, at least in me. Twenty years ago, I used to read my Writers’ Market like a kid bingeing on sugar. Markets! Journals! Fame and literary greatness! Oh yeah!!!!!!! Suffice it to say, I didn’t approach this blitz in quite the same way. If past experience is any indication, it’ll be a miracle if I get one poem in one publication this time around. I’d be surprised if I got even one rejection with love (that’s a response from a human being on a rejection slip) from this batch of journals. But whatever. You do what you can do, and there are more venues out there now than there ever were pre-Internet. I’d rather have my work published where I’m welcome than try to crash the gates of the elite lit-mag  institutions. Gate crashing is good to try every once in a while, but in my mind the real game of submissions is about finding your readers. 

The Bard Is Dead 400 Years: Oh, the Yumanity!

Now this is what I’m talking about when I say we ought to be kicking the Bard around on the anniversary of his death. Major kudos to Aryeh Cohen-Wade and an overflowing shot of virtual tequila for this gem that appeared in the New York Times last week:

I have all the words. Words, words, words!

Donald Trump Performs Shakespeare’s Soliloquies