Group Homes, Death, Myths, Madness, and Rediscovering Reading

Welp, it’s been a while since I updated my website. I’ve been busy surviving a whole, actual, ongoing pandemic. It’s a thing. You can probably relate. Since my last update, lots of works that were in the pipeline have come out, so with only…

this much…

further ado…

here they are!

Apparition Lit, the funky independent, speculative lit mag that published my flash piece Seeking Same a few years back, shared my new essay about rediscovering reading after being diagnosed with Covid. Called When We Lost Touch, it’s—at heart—a love letter to the literary community and anyone who is creating art in this impossible time.

Stone of Madness Press picked up my stream of consciousness poem, Familiar, that tries to explain/invite people in to a moment of cPTSD-related panic.

Anti-Heroin Chic shared my group home story-verse about the moment I realized the grass on the other side can be a pretty, green lie. You can read Untended here.

Like everything helmed by Chris Talbot-Heindl, All My Relations is a gorgeous, honest collection that spends time in the concepts of death and loss without losing sight of how delicate and necessary mourning can be. My piece, Death Is a Way to Come Home: Rituals for the Estranged, is a creative non-fiction essay that visits the ways I’ve learned to mourn my estranged family members.

Finally, the minison zine’s mythology themed 12th issue includes three of my pieces: heroes villains, my creation myth, and ra was the sun god. Each poems is made up entirely of lines that are also anagrams of the title. I like to give myself a challenge.

That’s all for now! Hopefully I can find the spoons to get back to writing and submitting soon.

Centring our creative community

This week, I’m giving a boost to a new anthology called It Gets Even Better: Stories of Queer Possibility. I backed their Kickstarter, so my copy just arrived in the mail! It’s full of speculative lit featuring all kinds of Queer stories. It takes Queer-friendly space literally and I love it. You can buy it as an eBook, paperback, or audio book here.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

A Group of Poems Is Called a Whisper

Today I’m going to share the poems I had published while I was on pause.

The first, Salt, was published in poetically magazine‘s premiere issue, wonders of winter. It’s perhaps my most intimate poem.

My minison series, The Seven Stages Via Kübler-Ross, appeared in the third issue of The Minison Zine. A minison is a 14 letter sonnet, and is the shortest form I’ve experimented with.

Three of my poems were published in print journal The Avenue‘s sexuality and gender themed issue. They aren’t available online, but the issue can be purchased here.

If you enjoy my poetry, you can always find more of it here.

CENTRING OUR CREATIVE COMMUNITY

Author Dianna Gunn wears so many hats, I’m starting to think she’s a hydra. When she’s not prolifically penning stories, recording podcasts, or helping authors learn how to market their work, she’s busy creating virtual conferences. There’s one coming up on February 20th called Worldbuilding Deep Dive. I’m particularly jazzed for the Accessibility in Worldbuilding: Understanding How Disabled People Move Through Your World panel. All of the panels are free, though spaces are limited. Writers can sign up here.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

How I Got Here

(CW: Trauma, anxiety, neurodiversity)

Thanks to Taco Bell Quarterly for offering me my second nomination for the Best Of The Net for poetry.

For the first time, I’ve dedicated most of my efforts not just to creating, but to trying to share what I create. That part has always been the wrench for me.

About two years ago, I left my job. When I say I left my job, what I mean is that I got onto a bus, rode it to the subway station, got out and stood on the platform

and

could

not

go

inside.

My body rebelled. I full-on froze. My mouth tasted like I was chewing tinfoil. My heart was a wind-up toy from the flea market let loose under my ribs. I called HR and told them I couldn’t do it. I quit.

You don’t need to know the details of what happened at my job to spin me out. It was an echo of a recurring trauma, played out like a house of mirrors and it triggered my flight or flight. (And I’ve never had fight. Not ever.)

I left. I got a part time job to help with the bills and started sending words out.

I live in a neurodiverse bubble that makes enjoying my own accomplishments complicated — even impossible. I’m sharing my nominations because I want them to stay in my brain. I want them to imprint as deeply as the bad stuff. I want to remember how I felt when I heard. How my body reacted. What my mouth tasted like. What my heart did.

A poem I wrote about a place that gave me something when I had nothing is out in the world. Thanks for that, TBQ. Thanks for giving my story a home. Thanks for giving me a reason to pay attention to what my heart does.

Two New Poems

I’ve been enjoying litmag prompts and themes as inspiration for poetry. My last two published poems were both thematic, though very different.

My poem, The Unbuilt Dollhouse, delves into plans I made, on the smallest scale, for a life I couldn’t have. It was published in the Haunted Dollhouse section of Kristin Garth‘s tiny journal, Pink Plastic House.

The other is about dinosaurs. Why? Because they’re awesome. The Dolichorhynchops at the Royal Ontario Museum is about, well, the dolichorhynchops at the Royal Ontario Museum. It was published by The Daily Drunk as part of their dinosaur prompt.

Words in a Storm

I’m still writing, still publishing. I’ve been overwhelmed, so I’ve been forgetting to post. ADHD/PTSD in a pandemic is a heckuva thing.

BUT! I’ve had a few things published recently.

My short non-fiction piece, All Ten Provinces and Both Territories, has been published in Flash Nonfiction Food: 91 Very Delicious, Very True, Very Short Stories by Woodhall Press. This essay recalls a time I traded something precious for something necessary. It’s also about how delicious pizza is when your belly is empty.

My poem, In Patient, is featured in litmag Serotonin. It’s an oldie, written about 20 years ago while I was an inpatient at a mental health facility. Challenges related to my mental health contributed to the long pause between writing and publishing this poem. Publishing isn’t accessible to neurodiverse and disabled people, in part because it wasn’t built for us. Indie publishers like Serotonin are creating spaces built for us, by us and because of that, pieces like this can find a home. I’m grateful for the small shifts, but it does make me want more change, bigger change.

I will try to post again soon. Until then, may you find the eye of the storm and take a deep breath.

How to Survive Surviving a Crisis

(CW: Pandemic, poverty, unsolicited advice)

Poet and professor Orchid Tierney has organized a virtual reading series called Distāntia. She calls it “an experimentation with intimate social distancing through remote access poetry.”

My poem is about the value that people who are often forgotten bring to a crisis. The wisdom of survival doesn’t always wear a three piece suit. Sometimes it wears a Chewbacca onesie and hides out in its blanket fort, thank you very much.

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I ate a thin girl for breakfast today

by H. E. Casson
(CW: Eating disorder, gender dysphoria, body discomfort)

I ate a thin girl for breakfast today
I heard her bones crackle as they gave way
I watched my belly grow in size
I saw the fat distending my thighs
She tasted like two-day-old gristly chicken
I thought, as my arms touched my sides as they thickened

I ate a skinny girl for lunch
I heard her crunch

I ate a slender girl for dinner
She didn’t even flinch
She swallowed the air until she was thinner
Counted every inch

I ate a thin girl for breakfast today
(I used to be like you, I grinned)
In keeping my promise
I fed her a steak
Then carefully shovelled her in

I ate a thin girl last night as a snack
I was a thin girl and I’m not going back

Published in the Meat issue of (Ex)cite (2001).
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