Ringing out the old year, in with the new.

I successfully survived finals, graduation, holidays, and my own soul-sucking self-doubt these past two weeks, and this is the first year in awhile that I can say I’m genuinely looking forward to the new year. In 2018, I’m starting my writing career in earnest, traveling to conferences to showcase my undergraduate public health research, and planning a wedding: my partner and I tie the knot in September!

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Just a couple of big ol’ dorks. Me on the left, my partner on the right.

It’s a lot to celebrate–and I’m also excited to make some aesthetic and content changes to this blog to bring it into the new year.

Short Story Roundup (which publishes on Wednesdays) and Friday Bookbag will continue much the same as before. Instead of Monday Reads, however–which served as my own self-motivation to actually read at least a book a week for fun in the face of mountains of homework–I’ll be publishing book reviews throughout the week.

You can still expect at least one review per week, but I’m hoping for 2-3 as my reading habits return to their pre-college state (read: voracious).

I’m also hoping to make my content more readable on mobile devices by reducing unnecessary photos and cluttered formatting, as well as making it more shareable on social media, using tools like the Twitter Card Validator to preview how links will look when shared. I welcome suggestions for ways to do this in the comments.

I’m taking this New Year’s weekend as a chance to appreciate all the good things I experienced in 2017, and to anticipate the changes 2018 will bring. Wishing everyone out there on the internet a joyous New Year’s weekend!

Off for the holidays: See you in 2018!

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I’m taking a break till January, partially for holiday travel, and partially because my reading/reviewing habits were completely thrown off by my school schedule.

Luckily, I graduate from college this week, so it won’t be an issue in the future–hurray! Even better, I’ll be freelancing full-time at that point, so you’ll be seeing me on this blog and elsewhere on the web with much greater regularity.

Happy end-of-2017, everyone. Wishing you a smooth entrance into the new year!

Dessa announced a new album, and everything is a little less awful now.

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A huge blow has been struck to Net Neutrality and everything is on fire, but Minneapolis rapper/writer/singer/general-kick-ass-human Dessa just announced her newest album, and that means everything is a little less terrible today. Chime will be her fourth full-length studio album, and drops on February 23rd. You’d better believe I’ll be first in line to buy it.

Like St. Vincent (whose work I wrote about back in October), Dessa’s music is deeply literary–hence why I feel qualified to freak out about her album on a book blog. A writer friend introduced me to Dessa’s second album, Castor, the Twin, circa 2012…and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Her songs are raw one-two punches of narrative; they demand to be taken on their own terms, defying genre and easy description. Her knack for off-beat (but dead-on) imagery has been an enormous influence on me as a writer, and a great deal of my fiction literally would not exist without her work as a guide.

If you’re new to Dessa’s work, I recommend listening to Castor, the Twin first. It’s atmospheric and wry and a little sad, and it’s her most self-consistent album–I love the others just as much, but I think their experiments with genre and form are a little less accessible if you’re unfamiliar with her style.

Dessa has been moving closer and closer to pop in recent years, starting with a few tracks on her 2013 album Parts of Speech, and continuing with her 2016 single “Quinine.”

The two singles from Chime that have already been released are already my favorites of hers, ever. “Good Grief” is a melancholy reflection on, well, grief, while “Fire Drills” is an angry anthem for a sexist world. Both are exactly what I needed in my life right now. I hope they’re what you need in yours.

You can pre-order Chime at all the places (or follow it on Spotify) here.

Analyzing Minneapolis-St. Paul’s progressive bike policy at Mother Earth News

You might recall that I wrote a post for Mother Earth News’s Green Transportation blog a few months ago, and I’m delighted to say that my work will be continuing to appear there once or twice a month! I’ll be covering transportation policy from bike lanes to electric cars to equitable public transit with a special focus on the Minneapolis-St. Paul (Twin Cities) area.

This week I wrote about Minneapolis-St. Paul’s progressive bike policy, exciting increases in ridership, and the public health implications. You can read it at this link.

“Attention” appears in Cat on a Leash Review!

I’m sick this week and still recovering from midterms, so I’m way behind on my reading and blogging! In lieu of a Monday Reads review, I’m posting this in hopes you’ll check out a short story of mine that appeared in Cat on a Leash Review this week: “Attention.”

I’m so proud of this story and thrilled it found a home at Cat on a Leash. “Attention” delves deep into the themes that keep me up (and writing) at night: queerness, silence, sexuality, violence. You should take your time and explore the rest of Cat on a Leash, too–I’m honored to be in such great company!

Finally, check back next Monday for my review of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi–I’m in awe at Gyasi’s talent and I can’t wait to put my thoughts into words when I’m feeling better.

Traveling Green at Mother Earth News

I have vivid memories of a copy of Mother Earth News being on every coffee table, bookshelf, and kitchen counter while I was growing up. My family, and my mother in particular, always strived to live a little lighter on the earth, and much of their inspiration came from the plucky folks featured in that magazine.

So, it was with great delight that I appeared on Mother Earth News’s Green Transportation blog last week, talking about 3 ways I learned to travel green in the city after living in rural areas for most of my life. I hope you’ll give it a read and let me know what you think in their comments section.

It was especially exciting to see my name in e-print again since my writing portfolio has been so dormant during college. As I prepare to graduate in December, you can expect lots more writing from me while I (potentially) make the leap back to full-time freelance!