How Not to Talk About Writing a Novel

Remember that time I said I wasn’t ever going to write a novel? Something about Almighty Chiropractors and mood boards and an infantry of pugs? Me neither, actually—I’m pretty sure I blacked out while writing that particular entry. But what’s your excuse? Hmmm?

Well, call it reverse psychology, un-self-fulfilling prophecy or some other term of equal annoyance, but I’m doing it now…. kind of. It’s not a novel, per se, but it will contain many stories and be roughly book length. However, I have NO IDEA HOW TO TALK ABOUT IT with you or with anyone. Seriously, no fucking clue.

The following is a slight dramatization of real-life events. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. I left my real name because I am an untouchable baller. Plus, it feels weird to invent a fake name for yourself as an adult. I did it a lot when I was a kid, even begged my mom to call me “Aurora,” because how else would I ever grow up to be a Disney princess? In retrospect, though, thank god she didn’t. “The Beauty of the Dawn” is a serious built-in expectation. She knew better.

QUESTIONY PERSON and RAQUEL have found themselves grappling with the risky business of conversation.

QUESTIONY PERSON: So, how’s the writing going?

Raquel averts her eyes, laughs an uncomfortably loud laugh, accidentally snorts

RAQUEL: Oh, it’s fine. I’m writing a novel, kinda.

Oh, yeah? What’s it about?

Umm… well. Nothing, really.

Raquel experiences a rare moment of clarity on the subject matter, which is completely indiscernible to the human eye. On a related note, isn’t it funny how stage directions that reference inaction are completely useless?

RAQUEL (CONT’D): Well, okay, it’s not really a novel. It’s more like a collection of essays. But not like a memoir. But maybe? Ugh, fuck it might be a memoir. Anyway, it’s, like, embellished non-fiction about places I’ve been and stories I’ve been hoarding over the years. They’re all kind of unified under a theme of, err.. place. Like, how it defines us and whether or not it should or whatever. You know? You totally know.

Huh. So it really is about nothing.

Pretty much. Well, gotta go!

Raquel runs off before she can spew more inarticulate word vomit. In this midst of her hasty exit, she accidentally collides with a woman dressed in a full burqa.

Oh, God, sorry!

(muffled): Watch where you’re going, lady!


At some point, I hope to speak eloquently and gracefully about my impending book. I imagine myself at a coffee shop in a gown—which no one seems to think twice about—referencing the sheer joy of writing with reverence. There will be no hint of the hours spent steeped in intense self-loathing, no residual smell of salami on my hands. I’ll wrap up a brief thought on having profound awe for all things great and small, and one of the shop’s patron will speak up.

"Wow, this book sounds amazing. I can’t wait to read it! What did you say your name was again?
“Aurora,” I’ll say, with a smile.

Talking in Life with Humans

I say a lot of odd things to strangers, particularly when I’m nervous or overwhelmed. This is something we all do though, right? Right?

Anyhow, while recently caught in a king’s tide of a brunch rush at the restaurant that reluctantly employs me, I looked at a baby sitting upright in his high chair and—in that cloying voice reserved for cute things, like pets and tiny kitchenware—said:

"Hi there, little man. You have such excellent posture!"

I didn’t mean to. It just came out. What do you even say to babies? They absorb everything in those soft little tofu brains! Personally, I do not perform well under that kind of pressure.

His parents were bemused, to say the least; they were more concerned with the mysterious whereabouts of their fried oyster omelette than my awkward flailings about. They didn’t care that the restaurant was teeming with unbearably curious and outwardly “discerning**” diners, all of whom were wrestling grisly hangovers. And they failed to notice that—like the arsenal of beverages that encircled so many of my bleary-eyed guests—my comment to their child was but a mere tool for to cope! (As is Elizabethan speak, from time to merry time, but ‘tis neither hither nor thither.)

Or maybe, I’m just really fucking weird. That is a completely viable option here.

It truly was excellent posture, though. Shoulders back and everything. In fact, I’m cinching up my spine right now and as I sit here in my elaborate sweatpants outfit and type about it. Thank you, tiny human, for your inspiration.

**This is a euphemism. Like, a big one.

Tinseltown Reflections

Of course, there is an inherent flash to a city that knows nothing but light. People can sense this, and they come en masse to find some shiny dream and turn it on its axis—to crawl along the freeways wishing, visualizing, clinging to the gaunt arms of hope—and all along, aspiring to catch that light, even the slightest sliver of it, and reflect it back.

Lately, my dreams are catching a certain of the city’s distinctive glares—the one that tends to make things sag and fade, and thus is likely responsible for the plastic surgery palaces that litter the streets. However, instead of reflecting, it’s refracting. It’s traveling somewhere where sirens don’t wail day and night, and the soil isn’t so sandy that it can’t hold roots: which is to say, somewhere that feels safe to grow old.

This is the most bizarre of my previously-held desires for place: before, I went where the weather was nice, where the liquor was cheap, where there could be some semblance of “cool.” But, I suppose it has its own flash, it’s own light.


Today, something strange happened. For the first time since the invent of Instagram, my interior monologue showed up in hashtag form.

Back story: The boyfriend recently yelled something about needing more chip clips. I thought nothing of it at the time, as I have learned to do by default; he often yells out inconsequential things, and if I tried to retain and catalog all of them, my head would surely explode. However, I was reminded of that this morning, when I happened upon this lovely sight:

My first thoughts were:
#omglol #isthatafuckingclamp? #thatsright #weneedchipclips
#boys #amiright #atleastheisresourceful

Then, it kept going:
#wait #whatisthis #isthespacebarbroken? #isatweenrobotsteeringmythoughts? #lolololol #wtf #makeitstop #help #noreally #help

And then, I closed my #eyes and tried to #sleep for a while #.

Blissful Ignorance

For me, life is only manageable when perforated by little sprouts of blissful ignorance. It’s a part of my brain that needs work, but nonetheless, it remains a sad fact of survival. Thus, I continue making jokes about the government shutdown; I don’t know what they’re doing up there on Capitol Hill, but it probably involves Halloween costumes.

When faced with newscasts regarding the atrocities in Syria, I imagine that someone is recounting the plot of a new war movie starring Mel Gibson. My face contorts and my voluntary nervous system erupts with disgust, but still. Not the same.

And now, at this very moment, I am flat out ignoring the fact that my dogs are currently engaged in the recreational chewing of dehydrated cow penis. Because honestly, what else am I supposed to do? Just accept that?

Search History

You know when you’ve been working on your computer all day and then you go out and do something and then you come back to carry on with business as usual and you go to type something in the Google search box and… wait, what?


Feel like your day was abnormally pleasant? Need something horrendous to restore life’s balance?

Type "Scabies" into Google Images* and NEVER LEAVE YOUR HOUSE AGAIN!

*don’t do it.

Rational Thinking at 27

Upon discovering that I can hear the neighboring high school’s football game from my house:

First thought:
How adorable/suburban/Friday Night Lights-ish! The pageantry of the season! The glory of youth! Maybe I should go watch!

Second Thought: Oh, dear god, no. No no no. There is so much weird teen sex happening under those bleachers. And meth smoking. And not to mention, the illegal reselling of goods that are not supposed to be sold separately, like granola bars or bulk chicken breasts! Oh, God, the youths! The miserable, tweaking, rule-bashing youths! If I go, they will most certainly beat me to death.

Third and Final Thought:
Whoa. Is this what aging is like? If so, how long before I get to start openly expressing distaste for things—more specifically, free things, like samples at the grocery store? If I do it now, will people just dismiss me by saying “Ah, don’t mind her; she’s just old and grumpy.”? ‘Cause otherwise, what’s the point?


As an overly conscious human belabored by her thoughts, I usually wake up with some kind of burden on my mind. Its heft tends to fade with the right amounts of coffee and water—the breakfast of champs—but it’s always there, keeping vigil, waiting to pounce.

This morning, for instance, I awoke with the stark realization that the man I willingly spend my life with read the entire Game of Thrones book series on the toilet.


If I were to drop dead at this very instant, the doctors would do an autopsy and find that my bloodstream contained dangerously high amounts of glucose. When they opened my stomach, they would come face-to-face with the half-digested culprit: shredded cheddar.

In fact, there would be so much—just piling up at my small intestine like an annatto-hued Olympus—that they would have no choice but to consider it when determining the cause of death. They would clumsily latch on to the term “Sudden Onset Diabetes,” referring to it as “Immedabetes,” amongst themselves. (Medical professionals also utilize “humor” as a coping mechanism, however loose their definition of the word may be.)

One doctor would cry in her office later, regarding all of those unassimilated cheddar strands as a metaphor for missed opportunities. “Another child taken too soon,” she would mutter between heaving sobs.

Another would think quietly to himself, “Damn, that bitch really loved her some sprinkle cheese. Do I love sprinkle cheese that much? I might.”