[Finger Song]

by Abigail (Abi) Horton

You fingers drum across your lap, steady and consistent, like rainfall. Drum. Your fingers drum. It feels like the wrong verb to use. Your fingers pour across your lap, play it like a piano, a sonata composed out of anxiety and perhaps a touch of ADD.

Your fingers flicker across your lap, lightning striking once, twice, three times, four, fifty six times, until you lose count. Your fingers flicker like Christmas lights, the ones your mom loves to hang up and insists you join in hanging, ignoring the anxious flicker of fingers saying you don’t want to do that.

Your fingers dance across your lap, stars in their field. You observe the synchronization in the act, how no fingers miss their mark, each dancing on your lap in perfect precision. You have to admire their skill, their agility –qualities that the rest of you lacks. And still, your fingers dance.

Your fingers speak on your lap, tapping out A-N-X-I-E-T-Y in your own special morse code. Their voices are fast and persistent, yet they maintain a soft and steady lull, grounding you just a little bit.

Your fingers drumpourplaylikeapianoflickerlikelightningflickerlikeChristmaslightsdancespeakinmorsecode again and again on your lap until someone asks you to stop. Then your fingers are more silent, more still than coffins, and while you have yet to realize it, your foot has taken up the burden.

Abigail shared this with Thalia

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[Tree/Telephone/Tuning Fork/Geese]

By Leo Earl

The spot on my hoodie beneath my neck is completely soaking wet, it’s funny, because the only thing I can think about is how it feels different from what I expected. I don’t really know what I thought having sweat soaked clothing would feel like, but I definitely didn’t think it would be burning hot and sticky. It felt like someone was pouring molasses made out of my own hot tears down my neck. I can’t move but from my back, the world is endless amounts of blue, it feels much more vast and empty than I remembered, almost icy. It feels like it’s filling me up everytime my heart knocks against my temples. I can’t remember how long ago I started shaking with every single breath but it seems to be normal at this point. God I’m a mess. All I do is go out for a little morning walk and suddenly I’m lying on the grass, unable to move, while sweat entangles me in its burning noose. Hours or perhaps it was a matter of seconds pass before I manage to pull myself up into a sitting ball of broken human, my entire body rattling against the wind. I remember her telling me, eyes dancing around my face, that my heart was like the universe, it could never be too full and it held colors so vibrant that the common man would ogle at its brilliance. But my insides feel more like a black hole, empty, hollow, drowning in darkness. I don’t want to move. She would’ve unwound my burning arms, clasped so tightly around my stomach and placed them around her neck, gently pulling me up until my entire body weight leaned into hers. You think too much she’d say, like I was a being a silly little child. Perhaps I was. But it’d never feel like she believed that. She’d start to sway us back and forth in a gentle, silent waltz, holding my fragile body like a precious jewel. I’d try to talk, push out words to explain myself but she’d just  roll her eyes, put down the words my love, you don’t need them today. I’d try to argue but my throat would be burning and eventually I’d give in and let myself melt into her rhythmic box steps. Perhaps this is how death will come and greet me, curled up and shaking, grass covering my entire backside, drowning in sky, completely empty.

Leo shared this Elaina

[Tempo]

By Thalia Medrano

Halfway between rain on the car roof and the steel drums of the thirty piece jazz band is the sound rolling in your ribs, your wrists, your everywhere. Your gut thrums to the rhythm and blues, to the swing, to the ragtime tune, to the rain on the car roof, as it comes down in a thick blanket of sound all around you. Bold, calamitous sound rumbling like blood and thunder in the rainstorm to fill up gutters, flood rivers, flood the streets up to your knees ’til you no longer hear anything but the downpour, the deafening roar of the heavy air, so thick you could stick your fingers through it like cotton candy. And slow but sure, the storms sounds are filling you, like they fill the rivers, like the jazz band fills the room. They tingle in your fingers, buzzing to the static in the heavy, heady, cotton candy air. Sound is quaking in your body, shaking through your bones, rattling them together to the tempo of metronome. It’ll shake you ‘til you splinter; just push the pieces back together. It’s your jazz, your storm, your sound, so tap your toes under table and let your rhythms all roll out.

Thalia shared this with Jonas

[A Letter To My Inner Muse]

By Elaina Weakliem

A Letter To My Inner Muse,

I think we need to talk. Stage an intervention, if you will. Just, please, sit still. Try not to disappear while I write to you.

I’ve noticed a sudden disruption in communication between us recently. I’ve heard you speak English, fluently. For years. But suddenly, you only talk to me in French. I hope you see the problem here, because I don’t speak French. And when you’re trying to help me write dialogue, it’s always in lipstick on my bathroom mirror. I’m sure it’s very inspiring,and I appreciate the creativity, but it was a catastrophe to clean up, and your writing was unintelligible anyway. It was my favorite brand, dude.

I think the only time when I can understand you is when I’m doing something more important. Like showering. Or sleeping. Or in the middle of my chemistry final. You give me these perfect ideas, but by the time I’m done, they don’t seem so great anymore. Is there a way we can time these things better?

And let’s talk about availability. I spent three hours trying to call you last night. I don’t have the time for this! You didn’t even deign to respond–until three AM, when you came back home, and woke me up by sitting on my chest, and pressing down until I woke up, gasping and fairly sure I was dying. Then you proceeded to tell me about this brilliant idea you’d had while was asleep. Then you made me write it down for you. In the dark. I know you might not realize that humans need to breathe, but now you know, and I’m asking you to stop.

But seriously. You’re never here when I need you, and no amount of bland, placebo-writing prompts can stir any motivation inside me. This is supposed to be a symbiotic relationship– you know, I collect your ideas, and you make the product interesting. But not with you, it seems.

It wasn’t always like this, when we were younger our problem was having too many words but no motivation to actually develop skill–now I’m trying to get better, but this is a team effort.

Please. Get it together. For both of our sakes, and for the sake of my poor cat whom I keep waking up when you give me a new idea early in the morning.

I think we just need better communication. That’s the real problem in this relationship–and I don’t want to have to resort to drastic measures. Can we start over, maybe? Maybe choose an easier form of communication like, I don’t know, email? I’m not saying I want to quit; I’m not giving upon you. Never.

Sorry, but you’re stuck with me.

-Your Writer

Elaina shared this with Madeline

[N…E…]

By Jonas Rosenthal

N

Everyone my age remembers where they were that day. The signal was strong and focused, concentrated at 9MHZ. It originated from a seemingly empty piece of space, about 20,000 AU outside the heliopause, in the near Oort Cloud.

E

Initially scientists were stumped by the message. It contained an opening sequence, four different numbers, and an identical closing sequence. Every 5.52 hours; or the half life of Mendelevium-257, a new message was sent, contained the same opening/closing sequence (what scientists began to call the header), but a new set of four numbers.

V

The breakthrough came several weeks in, when a brilliant Mongolian mathematician realized the numbers correspond to the same thing. The first number was a prime, the second a Fibonacci, the third was a perfect number, and the fourth was a Pell number. They all corresponded to the same number; the number of their term.  

E

For example, if the message was sending the number ‘2’, it would first send 3 (the second prime), 1 (the second Fibonacci), 28, ( the second perfect number) and then 1, (the second Pell number).

R

What the message was trying to tell us was, however, completely unknown. A Breton computational musician, working in tangent with his young son, revealed that the first half of the header was in fact a version of the Transformers theme song, with the words taken out and each note mapped to a octave with twelve notes, then forced back into an eight note scale.  

_

In the Transformers, the titular Transformers learn English by monitoring the internet. This was pointed out by the Breton computational musician and his son. Attention turned to the second half of the header, which seemed even more complex than the first.

G

A bright young Canadian, analyzing the second half of the header, realized it was the cosmic background radiation, amplified by 10^4, and varied specifically at time intervals. Mapping these variables by time, he revealed a sequence in binary.

O

The binary sequence was 000 0010, 000 0101, 000 0100. Observing this, the Canadian boy noted that they correspond to three ASCII control characters, START TEXT, ENQUIRY, END TRANSMISSION in that order.

N

Hurriedly, the numbers transmitted were tried as ASCII characters, but it failed to match up. Variations on the numbers were tried, but, remembering the earlier musical manipulations, an alternating sequence of base eight and base twelve, with the modulo of each number taken when divided by its base ten equivalent, was established.

N

The message stopped transmitting just as we finished deciphering it. It had been 110 days since we had first received the message, and in those 110 days the message source had moved 2640 AUs closer to us, consistent with a spacecraft going 150,000,000 km/hr or 3000 times faster than anything we had ever built before.

A

Based on radio telemetry, we deduced that the transmitter had initially been still, and had accelerated up to its current speed over the course of the 110 days. It was accelerating at a rate of 56,818 km/hr2

_

A theoretical physicist working out of Mauna Loa showed significant apparent disortians in the stars at point the message was first received from. These observations were consistent with the expected Schwarzfeld radiation from a rapidly decaying wormhole.  

G

The message, fully translated, was published internationally and simultaneously on every bit of media on earth.

I

Internet, TV, Cable news,  

V

Newspapers, magazines, books

E

Mailers, telegram, radio

_

Spinny sign held by a guy outside of Taco Bell

Y

Carved on bullets in warzones

O

Planes flew it on banners

U

Planes wrote it in the sky in their exhaust

_

Detonated onto the side of the Black Hills in South Dakota

U

Carved into clay

P

Whispered in awestruck voices

 

We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy
I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand
Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you
We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching but
You’re too shy to say it
😉

Jonas shared this with Sonya

[Daughters]

By Madeline Dean

The summer I was twenty-five, I rented an apartment without looking at it. It hadn’t required a down payment, nor any additional time before renting it. My old landlord was evicting me at the end of the week, so it was that apartment or the street.

Or maybe I could move back in with my mother, if I could find her. She’d gotten in the habit of sending me old-fashioned postcards in the language of the country she was in, each one. I have never learned to read any of the languages, so I’m not sure why she bothered. I’m pretty sure that she had never learned them either, based on the number of times “ابنة”  was [1] printed, over and over again. Besides, my mother never seemed to be the type to learn other languages.

So, off to the apartment I was. It was only on the day I moved in, when the smiling reception lady asked who I was there to see that I realized how out of place I was.

The apartment was nice, though. It was filled with light, painted in pastel colors. The rules, though, drove me crazy. I had to be in bed by nine and couldn’t play any music or have too many people over.

I worked much more that summer. Mostly that was because every time I went home, there were several old ladies who talked at me about the old times, rambling and rambling without a point.

One of them, who only came up to my chest, muttered something in French every time I passed her in the hallway. She lived just two doors down from me.

The French bothered me. More than one boy had tried to flirt with me in French because of my overly French last name, but I didn’t speak a word of it.

It also reminded me of those infernal postcards that my mother kept sending me in languages I didn’t speak. One of them had a picture of the sun rising over a non-descript beach resort. It was postmarked from Malaga, Spain. And, naturally, it was written in Spanish,  even though I couldn’t get past ¿Comó estás?

Mija—
La madrugada aquí está despampanante. Viviré aquí por dos mesas más, y, después, moveré a marruecas. Espero que estás bien. Veo que tú estás en chicago ahora. Es una ciudad muy especial. Nunca te dijo este, pero yo nació en chicago, hace muchos años. Por favor, me escribes una carta en repuesta.
Con besos y abrazos
Tu madre[2]

The day that postcard arrived, I went out to the post office to check the mail. The receptionist usually delivered the mail to the old ladies, but I figured I should save her the trouble. Besides, I didn’t need my mail delivered to me, just like how I didn’t need the on-call paramedics or the 24-hour reception.

I was walking back to my apartment, postcard in hand, when I noticed that the door two doors down from mine, that of the old French lady, was open.

There were a few young men going in an out and the door kept opening and shutting. I went into my apartment to set the mail down, and then I went over to talk to one of them.

The woman who always spoke French to me was dead. They were having an estate sale, as she had no family.

Barely an hour later, and they were ready. I went in. All of her stuff was arranged in neat rows, although there wasn’t very much of it. Most of it was old lady junk, sneakers and porcelain figurines.

There were also a few old photo albums, which I was surprised by, as they had said the old lady had no family.

Three volumes were full of pictures of a bright-eyed baby. A girl, who grew up to have long, lanky limbs and pale skin. It wasn’t until the very last picture of the album, a very faded, brownish one that I realized I recognized her. The picture showed her, now a young woman, in a short dress, surrounded by a few other young men and women. One of the men was wearing a brown leather jacket and had one arm around her.

Her. The daughter of the lady who spoke French to me. My mother.

After that, I felt stupid for not recognizing her earlier. She had very distinctive eyes, and they were present in every photo, looking levelly at the camera.

Next to the table with the photo albums, there was a cardboard box of postcards. They looked like the ones she was sending me now, more like paintings than photos, each one written in a different language.

Out of curiosity, I starting looking at the dates. My mother had sent one every month for a few years, then slowed down to one per six months, then one a year, then one every two years, then they stopped all together.

I sat down on the floor of that small room, feeling my breathing in and out. Maybe all of those times the old lady had tried to stop me in the hallway, she was trying to tell me this. Maybe she knew I was her granddaughter. And maybe not. I would never know, now.

I stood up, wondering what to do. I could try to claim my grandmother’s stuff. But I didn’t really want it.

So, instead, I just put the photo albums in the box of postcards. Then, I walked down to my apartment and set them instead the door.

I looked a little longer at the postcard my mother had sent me. An idea occurred to me, so I walked back, two doors down, and bought one of the language dictionaries that my grandmother had stacked on her bookshelf.

Then, I went down to the post office and bought a card with pastel colors.

Hola I started. Estoy bien.

 

[1]daughter

[1]My daughter—
The dawn here is stunning. I will live here for two more months, and, after, I will move to Morocco. I hope you are well. I see that you are in Chicago now. It’s a very special city. I never told you this, but I was born in Chicago many years ago. Please, write me a letter in response.
With kisses and hugs,
Your mother

Madeline shared this with Cassidy

[A Life In Numbers]

By Sonya Zakarian

7:00 a.m.

I think in numbers. I know that’s a little strange, but I like them better than words. When I was a little kid I used to say it was because they’re hard and not fluffy like words, just like my bedroom floor is hard on my back so I sleep on it instead of my Optimum Model 2 mattress, which makes me feel like I’m drowning in the ocean.

7:49 a.m.

I think in numbers. The Cheerios in my bowl aren’t stale or round or scrumptious or soggy. No. There are 27 of them, which is an odd number with the factors 1, 3, 9, and 27. My brain hurts sometimes and counting the Cheerios makes me feel better. 1, 3, 9, 27.

8:46 a.m.

I think in numbers. When I get to the Special Education classroom, my teacher Miss Patty smiles down at me and says, “Hello, Jonathan.” She is wearing a red and purple plaid shirt and she has on bright red lipstick.

“What do you say, Jonathan?” My mom nudges the small of my back.

I flinch.

No touching no touching no touching.

I know what to say, but I look down and keep my mouth shut because you can’t say hello in numbers.

11:04 a.m.

I think in numbers. I take a piece of blank paper out and a green pen and I begin to write out the prime numbers. I have just gotten to 89 when a girl comes over to me. “What’s that?” she says, sitting in the chair across from me, which is too close.

I keep writing. She speaks again.

“Why don’t you draw pictures like the other kids?”

I force myself to look up. The girl has straight brown hair and very dark eyes. There is a bruise on her left cheek that has the mold of a fist. The hairs on my arm stand up. She doesn’t look like Miss Patty.

“I don’t like pictures,” I say. “I like numbers.”

“Oh.” She nods with comprehension, and points to number 89, which I have put a tick mark beside. “Is that your favorite?”

“Favorite?”

“You know. Like…the one that’s the most special to you. Kind of like the best ice cream flavor. It just makes you happy.”

“No. I don’t have a favorite.” Because I don’t. The numbers aren’t special or happy or an ice cream flavor. They’re all the same. They’re all just numbers, spanning on and on as they inch closer to infinity.

“Oh,” she says again.

She leaves.

1:01 p.m.

I think in numbers. The chess board has 64 squares and I am winning. My opponent is a small blonde boy named Albert who has cerebral palsy and a blue wristwatch.

He hits the clock once with a shaky finger. I move the rook up three spaces and hit the clock. He captures my rook with his bishop and hits the clock. Then he gives me a thumbs-up.

I give him a thumbs-up too, because I like thumbs-ups. Albert doesn’t talk, but we can understand each other through chess and writing and hand symbols.

He thinks in numbers, too.

I move my king one space to the right. He advances his pawn one space forward. I move my queen two spaces diagonal and capture a knight.

Checkmate.

3:23 p.m.

I think in numbers. But the world is not made up of numbers. The world is made up of people and words and noise and laughter and screaming and happiness and terror. The world is loud, and numbers are quiet.

I scream for 152 seconds while Miss Patty struggles to keep me in the straitjacket. “It’s for your own good,” she says. “So you don’t hurt anyone.” I scream even louder and pound my fists because I want to tell her that I don’t want to hurt anyone. But I don’t say anything because the world is already so big and loud and full of words and I don’t want to make it any worse. I think in numbers, and numbers are quiet.

5:31 p.m.

I think in numbers. When my mom comes to the Special Education classroom to pick me up, the only other person left besides Miss Patty is the girl with the fist-shaped bruise. I am writing out my prime numbers list again. She is reading a book in the opposite corner of the room.

“We need to talk about Jonathan,” Miss Patty whispers to my mom. She doesn’t think I can hear but I can. “I’m not sure this is the best fit for him.” They leave the room. The door shuts quietly behind them.

I write down the number 141, flip the paper over, and continue on the next side.

Why don’t you draw pictures like the other kids?

I put my pen down and look up at the girl with the fist-shaped bruise across the room. It is much easier to study her when she’s not looking at me at the same time. Her hair falls over her face as she reads. It reminds me of the green silk curtain with yellow spirals on it in our living rom, the one that always ends up covering the couch when Mom leaves the window open and the wind starts blowing it around. The girl tucks her hair behind her hair. She’s pretty, I realize, with a start. It is a strange realization to have, and for a minute I think it might be big and loud inside my head like words and noise, but it isn’t. It’s quiet, like numbers. She isn’t pretty like pretty people on television, like Jennifer Lawrence or Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s different.

She looks up and sees me studying her.

She walks over.

5:34 p.m.

I think in numbers. The girl with the fist-shaped bruise sits down across from me. “Are you still working on your prime numbers list?” she asks.

I nod.

“Can I see it?”

I nod again and turn the paper towards her. She studies the list carefully. She bites her lower lip as she reads. When she’s done, she picks up the pen and scribbles something at the bottom of the page.

𝞹

“It’s called pi,” she says, turning the paper towards me. “Have you heard of it before?”

I shake my head. I feel myself starting to get a little nervous. It doesn’t look like a number. I’ve never seen it before.

“You can’t right it out using digits, like the rest of them. Well, you can, but it would take forever. Because pi is different than the rest of the numbers. It’s non-terminating.”

She thinks in numbers, too.

“It’s my favorite,” I say, pointing to the strange new number on the page. New things are uncomfortable. But uncomfortable is okay, I realize.

When my mom steps back into the room, her eyes are swollen and red. She smiles at me. “Time to go, Jonathan.”

8:57 p.m.

I think in numbers. I count by fours in my head while my mom explains “the situation” to me. She tells me that they won’t make me talk but that I have to be more controlled. She tells me that maybe this school isn’t the best option for me. She tells me that it is so hard for her to find a good place for me because knows I don’t like school.

“Second chance,” I whisper. “Please.” I think of the pi symbol the girl with the fist-shaped bruise showed to me.

My mother’s lips break into a smile. She takes a deep breath and nods. “Okay, Jonathan. Second chance.” She looks at me through the rearview mirror. “Life will always have second, fourth, eighth, sixteenth chances for you if you learn from them. Second chance.” She begins to hum. For once, I don’t mind.

I look out the window. I think in numbers, but at least I’m not alone.

 

Sonya shared this story with Adam

 

[Radio Silence]

By Adam Dorsheimer

She would have been much more beautiful without the bruise covering her left eye. The prismatic rainbow of a mark running from her forehead to the top of her cheekbone radiated shades of purple and yellow and green that varied based on where it was viewed from. It was mesmerizing, and it took all I had not to stare. Her good eye was even darker than the bruise, looking haggard and devoid of life, as though her spirit had faded into nothingness. In fact, as beautiful as she might have been, the bruise appeared to be the most lively thing about her at that moment; she seemed to be somewhere between dying and dead. To avoid looking too closely I focused my attention on the task at hand, scanning and bagging each item with exaggerated care. An eternity later, she hobbled away, clutching the flimsy bags to her chest as though they would fly away if she loosened her grip. The moment she disappeared from view, my hand shot to the radio on my belt, but my tongue was paralyzed. I was in a daze, questioning what I knew I saw, my mind’s eye still entranced by the mark. “Hello?” The voice jolted me out of my trance, and I muttered an apology. I got to work, once again, on the task at hand, but not before delicately replacing the radio in my belt.

 

[Remembering]

By Cassidy Nicks

The door clicked shut behind her, the smell of disinfectant and mothballs filling her nose.

“Delilah? Is that you darling? You promised to come home more often. The university is only an hour drive, Delilah,” an old woman scolded from across the room, eyes flashing.

“No, grandma it’s me, Samy. Delilah was not… not able to… come today.” She grimaced as the words tumbled out of her mouth. Perhaps it would’ve been easier to let her grandmother believe Samy was her mother, but while dementia may have made her grandmother forget, Samy could not.

“Samy? I… I don’t…” The old woman seemed to shrink back into her chair, her pale blue cardigan swallowed by the floral rocker.

“It’s okay grandma, I know.” She sighed, used to this, but the old woman’s eyes narrowed as she pulled herself up.

“I want to remember. Please.”

O-Okay, Samy thought for a moment.

“We built sandcastles every Sunday. We’d spend Saturday nights at the kitchen counter, designing them. One week would be a Disney princess castle, than a medieval stronghold, once we even tried to recreate the ruins near the house. Early Sunday morning, we’d walk to the beach and I’d set up an umbrella and a towel on the ground. Of course, though, you’d just sit on the sand. You always said that you loved how the sand engulfed you, like a warm hug, and plus, this way you could scrub your skin without paying ridiculous amounts for some micro bead bull crud.” Samy smiled at the memory.

“We always started with just large buckets, building a foundation for beauty, you’d say. Then you’d pull out a pen knife for yourself and hand me a small plastic shovel and you’d stare at our drawings for a moment, and then you’d begin to carve. You made the most beautiful sandcastles, grandma. And they always had moats; that was my job. But when I’d finished bucketing in the murky water from the shallows, I would inevitably try to help on the castle and end up causing some sort of destruction. Yet every time I knocked down a turret or crushed a drawbridge, you’d say that it…”

 

“Gives it character,” the old woman finished, a soft smile covering her face.

“Yes, exactly. But the things you could create with that pen knife grandma. It was beautiful. And I don’t think I ever really understood how special that was.” She paused, a bitter grin flashing across her lips. “But we’d spend hours there every Sunday, you carving and me mauling.” Samy chuckled as the old woman laughed.

“And as the sun set and the tide washed in, you’d grab my hand and you’d always say…”

“Remember I love you, Samy. Nothing, not the sun set nor the high tide, can take that from you,” the old woman recited as her granddaughter drew in a shuddering breath. “Samy, Samy I love you. Not even dementia can take my love from you, Samy, remember that,”

Samy squeezed her eyes shut against the tears and continued, “Do you remember, Grandma, then we’d wait until high tide and we’d always watch as the sea crept in and stole the sand from our castle, grain by grain until it was flattened. The first time, remember, how I cried and you said that it was okay, that sandcastles washed away, but the day didn’t, that the joy was in making them, not keeping them?” Samy and her grandmother sat in silence for a beat.

“Delilah, Delilah is that you? How long have you been here? Delilah, why don’t you visit anymore?”

Samy choked back a sob. “I… Yes. I’m sorry. I know it’s close, I’ll visit more,”

“I love you, Delilah,”

“I love you, too.”

[Alison “Tom” Child, Spring 2018]

Alison likes to write coffee flavored fantasy novels and pomegranate water poetry and has been a YAC member for long enough. If writing were not an option, painting and cross stitching oddities would be the most logical creative outlet for her.

  1. Describe the most embarrassing picture of you as a baby that your parents use to blackmail you. In general I think I was a cute kid. If they were to blackmail me they would have to dig through my middle school photos. I was trying too hard to be emo but was too embarrassed to ask my hair stylist for a fringe.
  2. What is your third least favorite color and what number do you associate with it? Dark orange: every time I see it I get an intense flush of “oversteeped Earl Grey tea with too much sugar.” As for a number, 47.
  3. What’s your favorite mythical creature? Drow. I feel personally connected to the people that live in the Underdark their whole lives and are basically off-brand elves. Also, sometimes they grow spider limbs from the torso down so that’s pretty cool.
  4. What is the current bane of your existence? I can’t write fast enough to catch up on real time events in my Dungeons and Dragons group.
  5. What’s the most extreme action literature has ever provoked you to do? Recently the compulsive need to do Tai-Chi has usurped that one time that I literally threw a book against the wall because somebody was walking around downstairs and I was jittery.
  6. What game show would you want to be on? Why? “Beat Bobby Flay,” not as a competitor but as a first round judge. I have a genuine hatred for the man but a love for food, so if my job would be tasting food and roasting a man that I hate all day I would be elated.
  7. If you were a parrot, which Eastern European country would you travel to and why? Russia’s pretty nice this time of year.
  8. Who is your B-list celebrity crush? (Famous but not that famous.) Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir from the band Of Monsters and Men. Gorgeous woman, even better voice, and her Instagram story is all about snow, dogs, and Iceland life.
  9. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues.” What’s yours? Red breasted grosbeak.
  10. What is your favorite Cards Against Humanity card? “My manservant, Claude” because the name Claude absolutely cracks me up for no discernable reason. Okay, if you’re not familiar with Cards Against Humanity, answer this. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you hate whales? 1 being I love them to no end, I would say a solid 3.
  11. If you were indicted tomorrow, what would the charges be? Involuntary manslaughter or robbery. The latter would be from a bookstore most likely.
  12. Please provide a weird stock photo that describes you personally.