writing

What Doesn’t Kill You – New Publication and Launch Party with The BPRS (my band)!

The past few weeks in politics have been SUPER intense and have proven to me how much we absolutely need music and literature. I am so thrilled to announce that a short story of mine, excerpted from my novel Bone Girl, was recently published in YA anthology What Doesn’t Kill You alongside 23 other authors including two-time National Book Award Finalist Eliot Schrefer. I’m extremely excited about this book (which you can buy here, if ya want) and decided that a party was in order, so on Saturday, October 20th at Freddy’s Bar and Backroom, my duo, The Brooklyn Players Reading Society, is hosting What Doesn’t Kill You the launch party. If you’ve ever felt like the world’s out to get you, then this book and this night are for you.


The party begins on Oct 20th at 7:30 pm with readings by WDKY contributors Tiffany Berryman, Matthue Roth, Abby Maguire, and Eliot Schrefer. Americana singer/songwriter Eli Bridges kicks off the musical portion of the night, followed by experimental pop/rock duo The Brooklyn Players Reading Society (that’s me!).

Copies of the anthology, released on Indomita Press, will be available for purchase at $16.99 a piece (cash only). No cover, 21+, 7:30-10:30 pm.

More info:
Why wait? Buy your copy of What Doesn’t Kill You on Indomita Press by visiting indomitapress.com/our-books.

Eli Bridges is an Americana folk singer/songwriter hailing from Northfield, MA and now based in Brooklyn. Learn more about him at www.elibridges.com and listen to his tunes on Bandcamp.

The Brooklyn Players Reading Society explores the intersection between literature and rock-n-roll, channeling poet songwriters like Lou Reed, Tom Waits, and Laurie Anderson. I sing and play keys, my husband drums. We’re honest and weird but throw in some pop ditties, too. Give a listen on Bandcamp.

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support and love. I hope to see you all on the 20th. And no matter what happens, remember – keep making your art!

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Writing While Mothering

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Lew and Nana sharing some morning tea in Massachusetts.

I am alone this weekend for a writing “retreat,” and while the mental and physical space is glorious, I miss my little bug.

It’s so strange how parenting never stops. How it’s all or nothing. How it simultaneously feeds you and feeds upon you. The act of finding balance is constant and crucial.

I’m lucky and grateful to have my in-laws. And I’m thrilled for the opportunity to once again dive into my stories and not resurface until I damn well please.

But also, I’ll be looking forward to those sweet texts with pictures of Lew, enjoying retired life with his grandparents, without me.

To all the mama writers out there – you got this.

How We Tell (and Edit) Our Stories

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the micro memoir. I’m a wordy writer (and person in general), and I typically fall victim to over-explaining my ideas in an effort to be extra sure that what I’m trying to say is understood. This often results in clunky sentences and unnecessary repetition, not to mention how time-consuming it is. When I edit both my fiction and nonfiction, I try hard to channel my inner Hemingway and delete, delete, delete. Focus on the power of what is left unsaid. Except I’m bad at leaving things unsaid.

I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about the choices we make when it comes to the mood and tone of our stories, about the language we use silently in our minds versus the language we share with our mouths and our fingers. So much of how we see the world, our place in it, ourselves in general, is our own choice, and this is so deeply affected by the way we frame our own stories. Yet how much of this framing really is our choice? How much of our personal narrative comes from our parents their parents, and their parents? How much comes from early childhood memories we don’t remember but feel like we remember because our family has remembered them for us? From our genetic makeup, from the makeup of our neighborhoods, from the makeup we put on before we go out into the world?

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Last year, Lew loved the ocean water. He would run into it and shout with glee, jump, splash, run away, run back. This summer he is two-years-old and has developed the capacity to fear. Now when he goes close to the water, he freezes and screams, partly playful, mostly afraid. He loves it when I carry him in, he’ll beg me to go deep enough that the waves splash against his delicious round belly, yet he clings to me so tightly that I can let go of him and he doesn’t even slip down my torso. The other day, as he and I were digging holes in the sand and filling them up again, my friend asked me if Lew liked the water and I said, “Oh he loves it but he’s also scared of it. It’s a new development this year. I hope it doesn’t last long.” Later that afternoon, Lew and I walked to the shore hand-in-hand and then right when we approached the ocean’s edge, he stopped, scrunched his nose and eyes together, reached his arms to me and cried, “Mommy, up, up, I scared of ocean water!” He had never used the word scared before.

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In thinking about my story, Lew’s story, the story of my family, and the tiny pieces that come together to make up these stories, I am deeply grateful for all the things I get to experience. Yet at the same time, I am deeply exhausted. An editor might say that my story is going in too many directions.

Leave more unsaid.

I’m reminded of Rivka Galchen’s book Little Labors, a beautiful, unique collection of short essays about new motherhood. I feel like these snippets, these micro memoirs, capture the reality of our existence so well. In the end, isn’t life really just little pieces of memory put together and called a whole?

Pictures from Mother Tongue with Jade Sanchez-Ventura, Caedra Scott-Flaherty and The Brooklyn Players Reading Society @ Sidewalk Cafe

We had such an amazing night at Sidewalk Cafe last Tuesday! Huge thanks to my amazing, talented mama writer friends, memoirist and Mutha Magazine columnist Jade Sanchez-Ventura and fiction author Caedra Scott-Flaherty, to my husband, David Stanley Fine-Firesheets, for bringing his beautiful energy to The Brooklyn Players Reading Society, to the babies for being so good and cute, to Sidewalk for having us, and to all of YOU for supporting us. We’re turning this into a regular reading/music series at Sidewalk featuring parents who are still committed to their art despite the little monsters sleeping under their beds, so stay tuned for future updates.

P.S. Domenica Ruta very sadly had to cancel due to a sick baby but will be appearing at a future event.

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TONIGHT! Mother Tongue: Words w/The Brooklyn Players Reading Society, Domenica Ruta & More @ Sidewalk Cafe, Tuesday, March 29th!

Please join us tonight, Tuesday, March 29th, from 6:30-8 pm at Sidewalk Cafe for Mother Tongue, a night of words across genres and topics delivered by new mamas who are still committed to their art despite the little monsters sleeping under their beds.

mothertongueThe evening features memoirist Domenica Ruta (author of NY Times best-seller With or Without You), memoirist and Mutha columnist Jade Sanchez-Ventura, fiction author Caedra Scott-Flaherty, and percussive poetry by The Brooklyn Players Reading Society (with yours truly on vox and hot new papa David Fine-Firesheets on bongos).

Readings from 6:30-8 pm, live bands to follow. No cover, donations appreciated. Please RSVP at our Facebook Event Page. Sidewalk is located on Ave A at the corner of 6th St (map here).

Hope to see you there!

P.S. For those of you on the fence, Lew will be there. You know you wanna squeeze his little Buddha belly.

Motivate Me! Podcast: My Interview on Staying Creative Even With a Baby

Lynette Renda over at Motivate Me! interviewed me for today’s podcast on my passion, combining literature and music, and how I’ve balanced (and sometimes not balanced!) my role as a new mom with the creative aspects of myself. It’s tough but important work. I truly believe that motherhood doesn’t mean we stop being who we were before, but rather that it’s even more important to make the time to continue exploring our passions so that we can provide our children with an example of a happy and fulfilled adult (though albeit an often exhausted adult). Give a listen on their website or via iTunes, and let me know if you can relate – I’m always looking for cohorts in this crazy endeavor!

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Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net Awards

sundress pubI am incredibly excited to announce that my short story, The Roof (appearing in Serving House Journal’s Fall 2013 issue), has been nominated for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net Awards!  Winners will be announced in October, but no matter the results, I’m incredibly excited and honored.  Many thanks to Clare McQueen of Serving House Journal for nominating me.  Click here to browse last year’s Best of the Net anthology, and stay tuned for this year’s winners!

Sundress Publications’ logo pictured above.