Welcome to Brain Flotsam, the weekly digest of things I read, saw, or otherwise encountered that made my week more interesting. This week I saw five friends in person and got to interact with so many more in real time. What a great, packed week. And, the following:

  • One night this week I dreamed I had tried out for and made the high school cheerleading squad. We had to go to a tournament soon after. And I spent all of my time F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G O-U-T. Like, “I can’t do this! I have never been in a TOURNAMENT before!” And then part of me said, “Ridiculous. Why do you think they picked you for the squad? You have been training for this all your life! A tournament is just a bigger tryout! You can do this!” I like to think it was my conscious, slowly realizing I was dreaming, or do I like to think that? Wouldn’t I rather think that my subconscious, telling me that I can do whatever it is that’s coming my way? (NB: I have never wanted to try out for cheerleading, although I did rather envy the little pleated skirts and tiny sweaters.)
  • Sometime last week I stopped hitting “like” on facebook posts. (I borrowed the idea from this guy.) I think, honestly, it was because the introduction of the new “react” options tipped me over the edge into decision fatigue. Now I react only using comments. I think it’s made me a more thoughtful person. (Don’t laugh.)
  • A new museum! It’s of broken hearts!
  • I made this fish stew this week. It was delicious, and then I left it out on the counter after we’d had our second meal from it. Sad. Oh well.
  • The MFA program I graduated from is closing its doors this semester. I don’t have anything coherent to say about this yet, except this: I am sad that I won’t be able to give back to the community that gave me so much, now that I’ll be a published author soon. Lesson learned: contribute whenever you can. Don’t wait.
  • I am still reading Stephen King’s It. I would like it to end sometime soon, and it looks like it will. After this, I think I should read something rather less gothic. And shorter. The last time it took me this long to read something, it was Moby-Dick (chapter 18! Still no whale!) and I was on deployment in Malawi, and I never finished it.
_It_ feels about as big as this whale.
Stephen King’s _It_ feels about as big as this whale.

I think that’s it for this week. Hopefully by the next time we check in together, I will have finished reading _It_ and moved onto something comforting and fluffy. What did you see this past week? Tell me in the comments below.

P.S. My MFA program’s mascot is the orca whale. I think I won’t be able to look at Orcas for a long time without feeling a little bit sad.


  1. I also read Moby Dick to chapter 18 and quit! Forget seeing a whale, if I remember correctly, they weren’t on a darn boat yet.

  2. I read the Shining when I was in high school, and it scared the bejeezus out of me. Reread it last year, and it was all I could do just to get through it. The writing was schlocky (and I think King is often an excellent writer) and there was nothing mildly scary or even suspenseful about it.

    I’ve been doing this thing lately where I’m trying to leave good/bad at the door, and instead say that a book is “for me” or “not for me.” Or even “for me at this time.” Because in high school, the Shining was for me. And now it’s not. The book didn’t change in the interim.

    What’s my point. Maybe that IT is not for you at this time? Or maybe it will never be for you.

    King said Pet Sematary is the only book that scared him as he was writing it. I was in my late teens when I read that, vacationing in Vegas, and I stayed up late every night reading that book. Scared the holy hell out of me. And basically ruined my trip. You’re supposed to stay up all night in Vegas, but not because of a stupid book.

    This comment is tl;we (too long; won’t edit)

    1. You’re 100% right about that. When I read _It_ in high school, I was tearing through it, looking for the scary parts, getting that kind of high. But this time, as I read it, I could only focus on the melancholy of lost relationships, and how sad it is that [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER] these kids had been through something life-changing together, and yet, would never remember it. Any of it. Or each other. Obviously this is because friendship is on my mind a lot these days. So yeah. Not for me right now. But I didn’t mean to imply that it was terrible, in any regard. It was a fine piece of work. It just made me really sad, because I am schlocky that way.

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