Throwback Thursday: MFA Thesis Reading

For kaylamillerwrites.com‘s first-ever #ThrowbackThursday, I present my final reading as an MFA student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas: an excerpt from my novel (my then-thesis). <3 <3 <3

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Oppositional Thumb

collapsar homecollapsar2My first publication of 2016 is here, and it’s a weird one, y’all. “Oppositional Thumb (After Lu Xun)” is live today at The Collapsar.

And y’all already know I love being on the homepage.

 

Pages

I made it a goal this semester to complete a full first draft of my manuscript for the novel.   I started the semester with about fifty pages of material.  Decided to write ten pages a week.

Currently, I have about 160 novel pages total.  I’ve stuck to this 10-page-a-week goal so far; there are four weeks left to the semester.

I am not ashamed to say I struggle with sadness.  And need reminding that I can still make things.

2015 has been kind: January in San Francisco, March in New Orleans, April in Minneapolis.  And the novel, though it feels like a mess, is at least a mess with some kindly discernible edges.

Creative nonfiction

Over the summer, an essay of mine about my Nana, “Coronation of Mrs. Presley,” was published in print in Soundings Review‘s Spring/Summer 2014 issue.

presley

Yesterday, another of my creative nonfiction pieces, “Still Writing About Grief,” was published online in The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg review!  It’s live on their website now, and so is my “Selfie Interview,” y’all.

Five [Quarterly] publishes “Love Letter”

My short story, “Love Letter to Lady Lazarus,” was recently published in Five [Quarterly]‘s Winter 2014 issue, available online here.

I was invited to read for the issue’s launch party this past weekend at MiMoDa Studio in Los Angeles, California.  It was my first time in California, and it was badass, I must say.

Five Quarterly LA readingScreen shot 2014-01-23 at 9.22.57 PMIMG_2299

Reasons to be (un)Afraid of the Wild West

Perhaps it is because I have never been missed.  They have never had the chance to miss me, my neighbors and coworkers and classmates.  Two days gone, two weeks gone: nothing.  But permanence is at stake, and the threat of life without livelihood.  I am unused to being missed by anyone not strictly on the level of close family, a self-selecting club of three.  But even they have only had the option to miss for weeks at most; here it has been four months I have lived on my own,  two thousand miles from all those folks doing all that missing.

You don’t ask cowboys what they’re running from.  Not unless you want ’em to saddle up and move along.  Funny, what I miss is the place in which I was most temporary.  Ground not yet accustomed to the weight of me, weather still surprising, folks easily delighted, snakecharmer that I am.  The itch of boots is no novelty, though, and eventually I will wear through the soles of every space I inhabit.

Telephones house confession boxes and whispered sonnets but poets do not love me.  People laugh at how you talk in your new city.

John Wayne compares every city to home and likes the cut of none of them, but home ain’t home no more.

Perhaps it is because my Nana plays hide-and-seek games with the objects I left in my rush to abandon Jonesboro.  Or because the hometown I felt unfit for wants me back.  There is a reluctance on the part of the tumbleweed to do much other than ramble.  It is no ficus.