Thursday, July 9, 2020

Mackenzie Moore : my (small press) writing day

5:45am, Friday: I wake up. It’s Friday? Yes, and a long weekend. (Disclaimer: this is an irregular day for me, as it’s a holiday and I’m stuffing it with personal writing.) It’s very early and I consider that I should maybe download some other white noise sounds besides heavy rain or thunderstorms. I try to whisper to the machine next to my bed to no avail, having forgotten I renamed Alexa to Echo. I give up on communicating with the sassy AI that allows me to sleep in fits and spats.

I have a bad habit of “sting scrolling” upon waking up, meaning I have about 5 outlets I check quick and viciously, like a digital dermatologist with just 30 seconds to locate the scariest lesions. New York Times briefing, Twitter, LA Times, email inbox, Submittable; the usual suspects. It’s always nice to wake up to your rejections so you can wash them down with coffee, but maybe that’s just me. No rejections this morning. Actually, I get a confirmation that I can tack on an illustration to a poem of mine that’s been accepted by a lit mag an old friend from college is running.  

6:30am. I go for a run while it’s quiet and cool. Well, kind of — I have to do laundry too, so I have a routine where I dart into the laundromat in my neighborhood to start the sheets on hot / hot, then try to make it up and back through the trio of surrounding hills before the cycle is done. I go early, because well, these are pandemic times.

7:00am. I loop back and get the sheets drying, then take another lap around the neighborhood. I stop to take some asthmatic breaths and bury a few ideas in whichever iPhone note opens first. I’ve been thinking about my old laundromat in New York and trying to find a way to capture all its edges: it was next to a schnitzel restaurant, hard an incredible selection of old tabloids, and let me bring my laundry detergent in old kombucha bottles. I miss New York in thick, tangy pangs, like globs of cream cheese, but Los Angeles is home.

But yes, the iPhone notes. For better (or mostly worse) I bury most of my essays and poems in a gaggle of iPhone notes that I hope and pray end up syncing back to my computer. It’s incredibly inefficient.

7:30am. Home, and back on Twitter making the rounds. Rick White has a new story up, and my God I’m not religious, but I think I could use some of whatever juice he’s drinking. I’m also drinking coffee #2 and eating some cereal that tastes vaguely like Froot Loops but is made out of bean flour. Modern engineering is strange and delights me.

10:30am. Research. I’m working on a few different projects right now which include ex-presidents and the Chicago emo scene, so needless to say, I settle in with my shovel (Google) and start excavating. I make coffee #3 with no regrets.

12:30pm. I eat some oatmeal with miso and a lot of garlic and sage. (Please kindly keep any berries and sweet things off my oats, thank you. I am a creature of brines, salts, and heat.) I work on the aforementioned drawing for my poem C-SPAN, then consider if I need a website to keep a log of where I’ve been published. I go down this rabbit hole once a week and often abandon a half-made website in trial mode.

This leads me to consider whether I need to get an actual desk with working from home indefinitely. (Believe you me, I had my own moment of despair in knowing I’d have to send a photo of the chair & ottoman situation from which I do all my work. Sometimes I go to the kitchen counter, but I often get antsy there. Ultimately, the spartan in me hates desks, and I was relieved to find some other lovely arm chair chronicles.) I open many, many browser tasks and emerge hours later convinced there is nothing in my mind and budget to fill this desk sized hole.

3pm-ish. I eat some Trader Joes lentil soup and a salty 9 minute egg. Soup from the Joes is bar none. I’m convinced eating certain items from there for years sways one’s taste, and I have trouble entertaining other lentils at this point. I also work on a short essay for the Reed Review. It’s about moms — my mom —and it’s quite heavy. I drink a very very, very carbonated kombucha hoping the effervescence will bubble away a nice through line. It’s getting there, but needs a couple more rounds of puttering with fresh eyes.

4:30pm. I sign off formally on writing for the day, though I’ll probably lodge some more ideas in iPhone notes and return tomorrow to hash them out into something comprehensible. With this, I consider an irresponsibly late in the afternoon nap.

Mackenzie Moore is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles who currently writes for television and podcasting. Her chapbooks are forthcoming with Variant Lit, Lazy Adventurer, and Kelsay Books — she has poems upcoming in Rejection Lit and Versification. She believes bagels heal most wounds. Twitter: @mxkmoore

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