Article: Secret Garden In Mental Floss

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 3:59 pm on Tuesday, February 2, 2016


I have a new post up at Mental Floss: 8 Lovely Facts About The Secret Garden. I was surprised to learn that Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic book is basically an allegory for Christian Science. Weird.

Click here to read the article.

Monterey Trip

Filed under: Personal — joy at 3:21 pm on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Last month, I took a short trip to Monterey. Turns out January is a great time to visit. Here are some pictures.


It was a beautiful day.


Me: There’s something very old-fashioned about that man.

Marcia: Is it that he’s wearing a suit to the beach?

Me: That must be it.


Beautiful pelicans.


Flower girls. I saw so many weddings while there. At least five, maybe more.


Ocean and people.


Carmel Mission with yet another wedding.


Beautiful silken water.


See the seal head popping out of the water? It wanted those men to leave so it could go back to sleeping on the dock.


Tor House, the home of poet Robinson Jeffers.


Sea lions.


I also saw a ton of sea otters but never managed to get a good photograph.

The Other By Ted Hughes

Filed under: Writing and Publishing — joy at 9:30 am on Friday, January 29, 2016

She had too much so with a smile you took some.
Of everything she had you had
Absolutely nothing, so you took some.
At first, just a little.

Still she had so much she made you feel
Your vacuum, which nature abhorred,
So you took your fill, for nature’s sake.
Because her great luck made you feel unlucky
You had redressed the balance, which meant
Now you had some too, for yourself.
As seemed only fair. Still her ambition
Claimed the natural right to screw you up
Like a crossed-out page, tossed into a basket.
Somebody, on behalf of the gods,
Had to correct that hubris.
A little touch of hatred steadied the nerves.

Everything she had won, the happiness of it,
You collected
As your compensation
For having lost. Which left her absolutely
Nothing. Even her life was
Trapped in the heap you took. She had nothing.
Too late you saw what had happened.
It made no difference that she was dead.
Now that you had all she had ever had
You had much too much.
Only you
Saw her smile, as she took some.
At first, just a little.

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

Filed under: Personal — joy at 5:36 pm on Friday, January 1, 2016


2015 was a great year for us. Here’s some things that happened:

* I wrote for many publications, including Mental Floss and The Atlantic.

* I won a creative writing grant! I’ll talk more about that soon.

* I finished a book and submitted it to agents. Then I wrote the first draft of another book.

* I led a panel at AWP in Minneapolis about freelance writing.

* Kyle got a new job. He’s Vice President of Engineering Operations at Final.

* He works at home now, which has changed our lives.

* Gideon turned 3 and is in preschool, which is a two-minute walk from our house. He loves it so much.

* We went to Yosemite, rented a beach house on the coast, and traveled to Amsterdam and Belgium.

There were sad things that happened this year, including the passing of my best friend’s father, but overall 2015 treated us kindly.

As usual, I’m ambitious as heck about the year ahead. I’ll continue to think big and focus, two changes that have made a big difference in my work process. I may remodel my kitchen. I may finish writing a book. I’ll definitely start working on a third book. And I may go to Europe again–maybe Switzerland? Maybe Germany? Who knows?

Happy 2016.

My Article Among Biggest Literary Stories Of 2015

Filed under: Joy's Work — joy at 7:38 am on Thursday, December 31, 2015


Literary Hub mentioned my article in The Atlantic about literary journals charging reading fees to submitting writers among The 50 Biggest Literary Stories of the Year. It’s under number 31: Literary Journals Making Money Off Slush Piles. Check it out!

White Christmas

Filed under: Personal — joy at 6:01 pm on Friday, December 25, 2015


I took this picture outside my parent’s house today. In California, a white Christmas is a rarity. It was Gideon’s first time playing in the snow. I hope you had a good holiday this year.

Merry Christmas! Here’s Kyle Playing The Banjola

Filed under: Kyle Rankin — joy at 9:13 am on Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Here’s Kyle playing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen on his banjola.

Merry Christmas!

My Cats Are Buddies

Filed under: Personal — joy at 7:34 am on Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Quill and Pixel, together 4ever.

People Riding Zebras

Filed under: Personal — joy at 7:33 am on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Today’s research hole led me into zebras. Here are pictures of people riding or otherwise domesticating zebras.








DevOps Troubleshooting In Chinese

Filed under: Kyle Rankin — joy at 2:15 pm on Thursday, November 5, 2015


Check it out! It’s the Chinese translation of Kyle’s book, Dev Ops Troubleshooting.


Can you read this? I can’t.

So proud, though.

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