Filed under: Essays

April: the month in review

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 • No Comments on April: the month in review

Oh, this month! April almost killed me. Literally. I fell sick at the end of March and in 72 hours I went from thinking I had a cold or maybe the flu to being in the ER, followed by the ICU. The diagnosis was pneumonia and I was apparently in septic shock when I arrived at the hospital, which is pretty serious stuff from what I learned after a few days there. It all seems a bit surreal now, being told after the fact that they weren’t sure I was going to make it, but I’m here to tell the tale. Or write about it, when I find the words.

Fashionable in a hospital gown

Fashionable in a hospital gown


And so, I spent the first several days of April in the hospital and the past few weeks recuperating. Jay’s birthday and Easter were both celebrated over a week late because I was sick and hospitalized. I didn’t see any movies and, sadly, I didn’t even read any books. I envy those people who can read a stack of books when they’re sick. I had a book with me in the hospital and I couldn’t focus on anything for more than a few minutes. That continued to be the case even after I got home– I just couldn’t read. So I rested– a lot– and I thought– a lot– and I plotted– a lot. I desperately wanted to write, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as tired as I was this month, not even when I was very pregnant. So I have a lot of ideas in my head and jotted in notes on my iPhone and hopefully I will translate these ideas and notes into some good, publishable stuff in the coming months.

I may have not done much writing this month– a whopping seven hours (and that’s been in the past three days)– but I’ve had a few sales and a few publications. I sold two more essays to The Mid this month, for a total of three so far!, and my first two pieces have been published. The Mid is a terrific new website with a ton of content already, so if you find yourself in the “messy middle” of life, do check them out! There are essays and articles about everything from parenting to relationships to pop culture and I’ve found several new writers to follow. Here are the links to my current posts:

Why Don’t Adults Have Best Friends? (Originally “Seeking a Best Friend Like Me”)

10 Times You’ve Used Your Kids as an Excuse


I’m also very excited about an essay I sold to Narratively. It was the fastest acceptance I’ve ever received for an essay (six hours!) or, really, any piece of writing where I didn’t already have a working relationship with the editor. “Where Babies Come From” will be published in just a couple of weeks and I’m very proud of this piece– it’s incredibly personal and poignant and not like anything else I’ve ever written.

Finally, I’m officially joining the ranks of “mommy bloggers” in May! I’ll be blogging several times a month at about parenting, kids, family life and whatever else they’ll let me write about. I’m thrilled to be given this opportunity to share my experiences and my first piece–7 New Mom Tips from a Military Spouse— goes live tomorrow. Considering that I knew absolutely nothing about babies or motherhood until I was 42 years old, it’s mind boggling that I’m now writing about it!

Since April was a wash for having time to write, I still have two novel proposals to finish writing and editing in May. Plus a couple of short stories to write for upcoming anthologies, as well as my freelance assignments and a few other ideas I’d like to work on. I’m not sure where or how I’ll find time for all of that– the reality is probably somewhere between accomplishing everything I want to do and accepting what I’ll actually be able to carve out time do. Probably only one novel proposal will get sent off. Some of the essay ideas will get pushed to June or July. But after a month of illness, exhaustion and recovery, I am ready to get back to myself!

May is my birthday month and I’ll be 48 one week from today! Someone asked what I was going to do for my birthday, as I have a reputation for celebrating “birthday week” and making my birthday last as long as possible. This year will be a quiet birthday, though I still intend to celebrate all week long. But after this month, I’m just grateful to be healthy, to be alive, and to have such a wonderful, happy life.

Happy Spring and Happy May from Clementine and me!




Posted by Kristina in Essays, Life, Writing

Love Your Body

Thursday, October 18th, 2007 • No Comments on Love Your Body

Today is the tenth anniversary of NOW’s Love Your Body Day.  I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to say on the subject, but I’m busy editing my novella, so I will share this essay I wrote for another website:

Role Models

A lesson in humility is walking down the street with a much younger and much thinner woman and feeling practically invisible as men of all ages stare at her. Thankfully, my ego can take it, but I can’t help but feel sorry for those men because they’re missing out on so much. No—not me—I’m not interested, but there is a veritable banquet of older women— radiant, passionate, sensual older women— just waiting to be sampled. Actually, I doubt they’re waiting for anything. Women of a certain age tend to take what they want without waiting for someone to give them permission.

On several occasions at the coffee shop where I go to write, I’ve noticed two older women in particular. The first is in her mid-sixties, a plump woman with ample curves that suggest fertility even though she is long past her childbearing years. Her hair is a shock of white, pinned back from her face. Long strands of that white hair often slip their confines to trail down her wrinkled cheeks. Her eyes crinkle when she smiles, as does her mouth. If I had to guess, I’d say she smiles a lot. Her waist is thick, probably in part from the rich desserts she orders with her black coffee. She wears clothes that border on frumpy, yet there is always something about her outfit that suggests a sensuality most people wouldn’t notice at first glance. Her skirts come below her knees, but she doesn’t wear stockings and her shoes are open-toed sandals that reveal a fresh pedicure. Her blouses are conservative, high-buttoned and in neutral colors, yet they’re often unbuttoned enough to reveal a hint of cleavage or a wayward bra strap in some not-so-neutral color as turquoise or hot pink. There is something about her smile—playful, almost secretive, that makes me think she’s a satisfied woman—in all ways.

The other woman is younger than the first, probably mid-to-late fifties. Her hair is a dramatic shade of strawberry blonde, falling below her shoulders. The only makeup she ever wears is lipstick—some glossy shade of dark pink so that her hair and her lips are the first things you notice. She’s slightly thinner than the first woman, but the extra pounds she carries don’t weigh her down.. She often wears flowy, calf-length sundresses, sleeveless but with a high neck. They’re brightly colored, unlike the first woman’s wardrobe, but not what I’d call sexy. The last time I saw her, however, she revealed a lot of leg when she sat down because of the thigh-high slit running up the side of her purple dress. She didn’t pull and tug at the fabric to cover what she’d bared.  In fact, she always seems very comfortable in her own skin— and in revealing it. Like the first woman, she smiles a lot and her laughter is that easy, quiet laugh of someone who is at peace with herself. She’s American (or, at least has no discernible accent), but on two occasions I’ve heard snippets of her cell phone calls—one was in Spanish, the other in French.

These two women captivate me. There is something about them, some intangible quality so rarely seen in women of any age. Though they bear the wrinkles and spots and sags and pounds of age, they seem ageless. I wonder what has made them that way, what experiences and philosophies they have embraced in order to be so at ease with themselves. I wonder if they’ve always been this way or if they grew into it. So many women seem to be in a constant state of perpetual unease, uncomfortable in their own bodies and hiding from the world beneath baggy clothes and hunched shoulders. Not these two women. They have a presence about them that makes them impossible to ignore. They are luscious, vibrant women and they know it. Maybe that’s what makes them seem so much more alive than other women— they know, and love, who they are.

Spending fifteen minutes watching women like this is so much more valuable than reading women’s magazines with airbrushed covers and diet articles. This is something I can aspire to be. This is something I want to be.

One last thing relating to body image: this educational Illustrated BMI Categories photo set by Kate Harding provides an interesting visual for those terms society deems ugly, non-sexual and unhealthy.  Do the terms “morbidly obese” and “triathlete” belong in the same description?  Apparently, they do.

Posted by Kristina in Activism, Essays

I Want to Be a Cowboy When I Grow Up

Thursday, June 10th, 2004 • 3 Comments on I Want to Be a Cowboy When I Grow Up

I’ve been polishing my resum鮠 Not that I’ll be using it anytime soon, but I can dream.  Interestingly enough, despite a variety of jobs (ten or eleven at last count) and a college education, I’m not really qualified to do all that much.  At least not anything that pays well.  Correction, I’m not willing to do the jobs that would pay well (and by “well” I mean a living wage that would allow me to be self-supporting without having to subsist on Ramen).  I do not wish to be a an administrative assistant, a teacher or a retail manager.  I do not want to work in a cubicle, be required to wear pantyhose or spend my days shuffling papers someone else put on my desk.  I do not want to sacrifice my soul to put a roof over my head.  Is that too much to ask? 

The sad, ironic thing is, I’m bright enough to do the jobs that pay well.  Accountant, easily.  Banker, definitely.  Mid-level manager of a major corporation, with my eyes closed.  Marketing and sales, please don’t insult my intelligence.  Attorney, sure.  Psychologist, I’d be getting paid for a talent I already use.  I don’t have the math skills to be an engineer or the stomach to be a doctor, but there are plenty of well-paying jobs that I could do if I wanted to (would that I had pursued those areas in college rather than the ubiquitous English degree that has served me so very well—insert maniacal laughter here—). 

The key, of course, is the phrase “if I wanted to.”  I have never subscribed to the notion of money equaling happiness.  I cannot fathom doing a job that I didn’t at the very least like.  Work time is too big a part of life not to enjoy it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done what I had to do to pay the bills and sometimes that has involved juggling different jobs I didn’t love.  My survival instinct is greater than my need for job satisfaction.  Still, I’ve never had a job that I hated.  I’ve grown to dislike some of the jobs I’ve had, but every job started out as something exciting, new and challenging.

Back when I got my palm read in DC, I laughed when the fortune teller said I would be the head of a large company.  It is so far removed from anything I would ever want to do, she lost all credibility in my eyes (not that she had a lot in the first place, given her tacky fur coat).  Truth is, I could be in charge of a company if it was something that interested me.  But the idea in general doesn’t appeal to me and no amount of money in the world could make that kind of job fulfilling.

I don’t have to be self-supporting and money is not a huge issue right now, but it’s a big enough issue to prevent me from returning to writing full-time with no idea whether I’ll be able to make fifty or five hundred dollars a month (let’s just say I’d be buying Ramen instead of roast beef, if my last stint at writing full-time is any indication).  So, the resum頩s getting a little update in the hopes that when the time comes (bets are now being taken on when that time will be) I can make “worthless degree in English” sound like something desirable.  Here’s hoping the next job will be interesting enough to sustain my spirit—if not my lifestyle—until I feel like I can commit myself to writing with no other source of income.

Posted by Kristina in Essays

Writer Chick. Mother Hen.

Author, anthologist, mother, wife, dreamer, storyteller, coffee drinker. I blog here sporadically, when I'm not writing, editing anthologies for Cleis Press or messing around on Facebook. Welcome! Want to know more?


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