Sara Farizan: Five Questions

Sara Farizan is a graduating student from Lesley University’s MFA program focusing on Writing For Young People. She has heaps of interests, and shares them at Persian Rug Muncher.

1) What’s your elevator speech? Include any promotional links.

In Iran, homosexuality is deemed illegal by the government but the government will help pay for sex re-assignment surgery. My novel (which will hopefully one day see the light of day) is about Sahar, teenage lesbian who is losing her secret girlfriend to an arranged marriage and explores the idea of changing her gender in order to stop the marriage. My blog is

2) What was your favorite character or story when you were growing up?

My favorite stories when I was young were mystery books by John Bellairs. I loved the Edward Gorey cover art, the 1940’s setting and many the winter/summer friendships Bellairs created. It was like having a Scooby Doo gang but with an elderly librarian and her teenage employee as the central protagonists.

3) What book can you not pick up without getting caught up and reading it all over again and why?

Oh goodness. I have a lot of those and if I do re-visit them I’d never get anything new read. I’m a sucker for anything set in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or 80’s. Examples of these are: Paris, a graphic novel by Andi Watson and Simon Gane, Striver’s Row, by Kevin Baker, Up in the Old Hotel, a series of non-fiction articles by Joseph Mitchell, The Last Picture Show, by Larry McMurtry, and The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon are a few examples.

4) What do you hate about writing?

I find the isolation writing brings to sometimes be a challenge. I like to be social and devoting so much time to writing can be a very lonely but rewarding experience. It’s definitely not a profession or hobby I would recommend to someone who is interested in instant gratification or immediate rewards.

5) Why do you keep writing anyway?

I keep writing because it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. No matter what job I have or where I end up, I am always going to be writing, if it’s for myself or for others.

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I really hope spiders don’t hold a grudge; or, why I haven’t showered

So today, when I reached into the bathtub to turn the faucet handle, I was confronted by a frightening eight-legged surprise that spun itself down to greet me — bungee jump style.

What my bathtub faucet looks like on an ordinary day.

What my bathtub faucet looks like on an ordinary day.



OK, maybe the spider wasn’t that big.

This size is still totally threatening.

It was more like this. This size is still totally threatening.

A rational person would have, perhaps, taken a moment to appreciate nature’s opportunistic beauty. Or, perhaps, paused to regroup and unrolled a bit of toilet paper for snatching or squishing. Moreover, I consider myself to be an “all creatures great and small” sort of animal lover, and any true friend to mother nature would have done her best to relocate the spider without harming it.

My response, however, was to give a yelp, grip the faucet handle, and turn the valve to full blast while cussing.

A dramatic recreation of what I hope happened.

A dramatic recreation of what (I hope) happened.

In my defense, Nike, aka my precious sweet wubbypiedarling, drinks from that faucet. What would have happened if she hopped in the tub and Mr. Charlotte’s Web wannabe dropped down onto her nose? What if she tried to eat the spider, and it turned out to be poisonous? Unacceptable. I couldn’t take that chance. So really, this was an act of love. `

After letting the water run for a good thirty seconds, I turned off the faucet and examined the drain.

All clear, right? RIGHT?

All clear, right? RIGHT?

It looked empty. In all probability, the spider was pulled down the drain to die a drowning bug death.

But then I thought: What if the spider survived?

What if I just…made it ANGRY??

Cue music from Psycho.

Cue music from Psycho.

I can only hope that the offending spider perished in the drain, or has the personality of misunderstood spider.  Yes. That would be ideal.

Click for source.


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Time to Reflect

So, this blog has been kind of quiet lately. This has been in large part because I have been struggling with my current health insurance. Trying to sort out all the loop holes, forms, and general I-have-quite-possibly-the-shittiest-health-insurance-in-the-state angst, has been draining my energy and leaving me breathless (and I mean that literally, because said insurance doesn’t feel that they ought to pay for my asthma medication, which is 200+ dollars out of pocket — for a thirty day supply).

But! Taking a cue from the marvelous blogess of Queer Skies Ahead, I’m taking a moment to appreciate all the things that are awesome and not angst-inducing in my life. Sometimes, really vile things like health insurance can cause so much stress that I only focus on what’s in front of me and stop appreciating the big picture. So, here’s a list all the things I’m thankful for at this moment.

A happy 2011 memory: My forever friend Tam (who traveled the world to visit me) and I ate cherries, drank coke with cherry syrup, watched a bad horror movie, and made friendship jewelry together.

  • I have Nike, the cutest cat ever, in my life (and often right up in my face)
  • I have awesome parents who support me no matter what
  • In fact, I have an awesome family in general
  • I have a curmudgeonly, cat-hating, misanthropic (but still lovable!) partner
  • My boss is pretty much the best boss I could ever ask for, and I love the people I work with (I cannot stress how much I appreciate this for the luxury that it is)
  • By next summer, I’ll have my master’s degree. And this semester is alllll thesis. I’ve been angsting out for the past couple of weeks, but then I realized how many possibilities my thesis presents. IT WILL BE FUN. Perception is everything =)
  • I am in a fantastic program with even more fantastic students. I never used to visit the facebook, but ever since I joined the Posse, I’ve been checking in at least daily. And the camaraderie and support continues to move me. This very week, I reached out to dear Alissa Butterworth, and she went out of her way to help me out. I’m so thankful to be among such great writers who also happen to be great people.

When I look back at this year, I’m genuinely happy about it. I mean, I’ve had my nose to the grindstone so much that I haven’t been the most social butterfly in the world (um, not that I ever was), and I’ve had health issues, and financial issues, and all kinds of other ups and downs, but. I’ve made wonderful friends (like Alana and Kairos), and generally have made connections with really wonderful people that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  And I know that next year is going to be even better.

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Happy Caturday!

I thought I’d get my mother a bouquet, because she’s my mom.

Presented without comment.

This is why we can't have nice things.

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Filed under Cat Lady, Nike

Hayley Krischer: Five Questions

Hayley Krischer has been a writer and editor for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Babble, Anderbo, Parenting, iVillage, BlogHer and other places that deemed her worthy. She is a contributing writer for the all-things-healthy website Organic Authority because a long, long, time ago, she was a hippie and worked at health food stores to pay the rent. She also writes a weekly blog for The Huffington Post and is teaching a Blogging 101 class at Lesley University.

More of her work can be found here:

1. What’s your elevator speech? Include any promotional links. 

I have two elevator pitches. One if I’m ever standing next to Johnny Depp in an elevator I’d like to say “Dead Man was one of my all time favorite movies and my husband has given me permission to sleep with you.”  The other would be for a feature article: “Slut-shaming. Why is “slut” the number one bullying tactic used by teenage girls to denigrate each other?”

I wrote about it on my site, Femamom.

 2. What was your favorite character or story when you were growing up?

Probably the “Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I loved the idea of a girl being so down and out with no family to speak of and living in an attic of an orphanage. Though the book was brilliant because it gave this background of another world, the Shirley Temple movie was also one of my favorites.

3. What book can you not pick up without getting caught up and reading it all over again and why?

There are so many! Short stories: Runaway by Alice Munro because it has an ethereal quality. Anything by Lorrie Moore. I love how she blends humor and tragedy. Essays by Diana Joseph. Right now I’m obsessed with “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. I’m reading it over and over.

4. What do you hate about writing?


5. Why do you keep writing anyway?

Because if I stopped writing it would kill me.

Cat person BONUS QUESTION: What does your cat(s) do when you’re trying to write?

 First my cat, Rocco, has to pounce across my keyboard (a given) but when he settles, he curls his body around the corner of my computer. Head facing me.

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Tracy Strauss: Five Questions

Tracy Strauss is the author of Hannah Grace, blogs at The Hannah Grace Book and has a marvelous literary resume. She also had a recent feature in The Somerville News. Her two rescue cats, Hannah and Sam, are as amazing as they are adorable.

1. What’s your elevator speech? Include any promotional links.

Approximately 7.7 million Americans have post-traumatic stress disorder. The same number of abandoned and abused pets enter shelters every year. My book is about what happens when the two sides are brought together.

2. What was your favorite story or character when you were young?

I loved the Frog and Toad series!

3. What book can you not pick up without getting caught up and reading it all over again and why?

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien. I love how he weaves together theme, character, and musical rhythm to re-create experience on the page.

4. What do you hate about writing?

I’m very impatient with how long it takes, how much I can actually write on a given day — I have to have a job to pay my bills, so there are only a certain number of hours I can devote to writing. There are times when I am in the middle of getting a story out on the page and, you know, I have to go to sleep because I have to teach very early the next morning, but my body and brain won’t rest until I’ve gotten the story out in its entirety.

5. Why do you keep writing anyway?
It’s a part of me. It’s how I process life experience and it’s how I communicate with the world around me. It’s as integral as breathing.

Cat person BONUS QUESTION: What does your cat(s) do when you’re trying to write?

I actually cannot write at home – or, rarely, anyway. My cats see I’m “available” and insist upon my attention. Hannah will meow and nudge my legs until I get up and spend time with her. Sam will sit and stare and meow and then paw my legs. Rarely, he will just sit on top of my feet, which DOES allow me to write :) :)

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Sunday Scan

Here’s a roundup of posts, articles, and essays that I’ve been reading. Comment sections have the power to inspire or destroy one’s faith in humanity, so obviously read those at your own risk.

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Filed under Reading, Social Justice