oh, shadow!

My body’s been going through some exciting changes. All the walking has made my legs taut and sturdy like trees. At night I go to the gym and hit a bag. I can do one male pushup with confidence, but walking dogs makes me hungry so I still weigh a lot. I look at my body and think, where is all this weight distributed? My tan is fading. Further, I’ve been going to the same gym for three months and I haven’t made a single friend. I don’t think anybody paid my gym fees, so for the last several weeks I’ve just been slinking by the front desk. From this I can conclude that everyone agrees I’m supposed to be there but would rather not talk to me, which is a good position to be in when you haven’t paid your gym fees.

This morning at 7:30 I took Beatrice the bulldog for a walk in the alley behind her dad’s house where we came across a golden, jewel-encrusted turtle sitting on a wet chair. It looked like a trick, it was so perfect. At first I was afraid to touch the turtle because it seemed alive, and then I thought if I picked it up a loud alarm would go off. I decided to leave the turtle for the time being, and if it was there when I came back at 11, I’d take the turtle home and put it under the covers at my new boyfriend’s house so he’d know what I’m like and maybe feel the same way about it as I do. Basically it’s a test that none of us know we’re taking. At this point I’ve put the turtle in my car and the rest of the story hasn’t happened yet.

A few entities have approached me in the last year asking if they can put up advertising on mollylaich.com, mostly for “learn how to write” products since that’s what most of you are into apparently. If there were serious money involved I’d do it—don’t get me wrong—but it’s not serious; it’s like 100 bucks a year if we’re lucky. I was going to say that I’m not going to do it for the principle or whatever but now I’m wondering if it isn’t just laziness. I think it’s funny how the moment you manage to create something remotely interesting, a thing that people want to put their eyes on willingly, somebody else wants to come along and squeeze the blood out of it. It’s like an insect bite. The bug wants to eat you: Be flattered, but strike her dead.

The reality of my situation is creeping up on me, that I only have 729 twitter followers and I might not have the work ethic to make any sort of profound impact on the literary world. I’m coming to terms with my ordinariness, basically. But even as I type it I don’t believe me. I just keep living my life as though it’s about to start to matter as soon as we clear this next big hill. It’s just a series of hills, you guys! It’s like in Homeward Bound when they make it over the first mountain only to see a million more in the distance, and Sassy the cat says, “Oh, Shadow!”

Plus I’m in love with a nice man. How gay is that.

Free letters is still a thing, send me your address! I just sent out a bunch of them. I tried to give everyone a dollar, but toward the end of the pile I ran out of cash, and it’s like, why am I paying you? I don’t have enough turtles to put in everyone’s bed, probably.


open interviews.

In honor of my new, slightly used macbook air and the Hunter’s Moon (October), I asked people to ask me questions. Here they are.

@5redpandas wants to know:

1. What makes you angry?

Foie gras. When I think of this and other rich people, animal torture delicacies, I see red. My blood boils.

2. Name three artists/writers you’d like to be compared to.

When it comes to art, lifestyle and temperament, I relate with Charlie Kaufman, Joy Williams and Charles Bukowski. You don’t really want people coming up to you and saying you remind them of Bukowski, though. He had a bad temper and a hideous face.

Certain shit has come up in my life, depending on the decade: Clarissa Explains it All. Blossom. Angela from My So Called Life. Peppermint Patty.

3) What’s overrated (could be a book, movie, and or idea)? WHY?

Breaking Bad. Drive. Blade Runner. I dunno, these are all things a lot of people like that just look like bad art to me. Psychologically inconsistent or all style or boring or dumb. Breaking Bad is pretty good I just feel left out because I don’t care. I wish everybody was riveted by Who the Bleep Did I Marry? Or Werner Herzog films or some of the shit that I like for once.
4. What’s underrated? Why?
Reincarnation, the enneagram, tarot, meditation, the moon, Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way school and other weird mystic philosophies I wish I could talk about with more people.
5. What was you at your personal best?
Once at a coffee house in Missoula, Montana, somebody had my feature story spread out on the table and was reading it. I watched them for like a solid 1o minutes. Another time I stared at somebody while they read my movie review in a bar, waiting for them to laugh. (They didn’t.) I don’t know if it will ever get any better than that. If I could watch people read my blog posts every week I don’t think I’d need food or water.
6) At your worst?
Pierce Middle School, the cafeteria, 1994.
B. Michael Payne @bmichael wants to know:
1. Time travel 5,000 years (either direction) or gain $5,000,000 and why?
I feel like you’re asking me if I’d rather have my life be a paradise or die a lonely, painful death in a terrible, inhospitable place. I’d take the money, obviously.
If I had to choose a direction I guess I’d go forward, but I’d be terrified. Terrified! 5,000 years is a long time. It’s probably not like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
2. So how are dogs these days?
They are all over the map. They experience a happiness and excitement that is unparalleled, followed by an all consuming terror and anxiety, with murky, mysterious mind states in between. I feel like my job is to wrangle up their chaotic minds. It’s a somber and important responsibility. I try to take it easy with them. I’m like a cool aunt.
3. If every single internet writer struggles with the lack of so called monoculture and the universalizableness of their opinions (is this thing really popular enough to write an essay about? those nyt articles on hipsters are insufferable) then why do we still value discourse generated by observations on tribal food practices or little slices of Bavarian social life?

I truly have no idea what you’re talking about, and I’m glad for it.

4. What’s your chosen last meal?

I’d get Massaman with tofu, hot from Thailand Express near my mom’s house in Waterford. And I’d be like, “This is my last meal, let’s put a little effort into it.” And I’d say, “Put it on a real plate. I’ll be dead soon.” I should do that every time anyway.
Josh Fomon from facebook wonders:
What has been your favorite piece of writing that you have published thus far and why? Also related, could you expound about publishing in general? Would love to hear your perspective on it.

I prefer the longer stories to the shorter ones. I like The Sting and Trevor and the Gun because I think they’re fun and easy to read. I want my writing to be as easy as watching television, but profound or whatever. I’m really proud of all the features I wrote for the indy but it’s also incredibly painful since everybody hated them and I made a lot of embarrassing self declarations that turned out not to be true in the long run, so that’s a mixed bag.

I think my movie reviews are mostly all excellent. I think I really know what I’m talking about and that I deserve to be one of the top people in the world who explains why a movie is or isn’t good.

Stillwater is a good story. Make Do is okay. I haven’t written my best story yet, I’m certain.

I don’t have much to say about publishing. I helped edit a journal for awhile but it was hard and I quit. I could say that I’m against self publishing, but I’ve been self publishing a blog since I was 16, so that would be a lie. Right now I’m more concerned about creating work in the first place, so talking about publishing is a case of putting the cart before the horse.

BTW, I have a 5,000 word story called Sledgehammer I’d really like to see published someday. If anybody knows a good place for me to send that shit, help. Sledgehammer wants to be free!

H.L Nelson from Facebook asks:

Did you find anything cool out about Aimee Bender when you interviewed her? That maybe wasn’t in the interview? Was she as nice and shit as she seems? I found her pleasant when I briefly emailed her about the anthology.

What you see in this interview is basically the totality of our interaction. The director’s cut includes things like me emailing and asking when and how she’d like to talk and her prompt, courteous response. She was cool, you know? She acted like a normal person. She did tell me she didn’t have a gmail account or know what gmail was, and I think I gently suggested that she should get with the times and get one before some crazed fan snatches aimeebender at gmail up, but I might not have said that. I might have just thought it.

Not to sound like a fucking elitest name dropper or anything, but I’ve managed to meet a lot of writers of varying prestige and success levels, and I don’t really get star struck. I mean, nobody besides other writers gives a shit about a writer. I thought it was cute the way she reacted to my question about her literary celebrity. Not the answer itself—the answer was honest and down to earth— just that she thought it was weird that I asked. But it was at the forefront of my mind. She was unequivocally the biggest name in the anthology. Basically she said it’s all relative and I agree.

And now here I am being interviewed! But I asked you all to send me questions as a favor, so it doesn’t feel good.

@allthejenns from twitter wants to know:
1. There’s a lot of talk of blood and homelessness on your twitter feed, are you okay?
I’m okay, you’re okay. About the blood, I can explain: The TV got punched, it broke open the man’s hand. The man took a long nap and then we took him to the emergency room where a handsome Asian doctor pulled tiny pieces of glass out. It’s a terrible wound that’s taking a long time to heal. Why the man punched the TV defies logic or explanation, but it’s fine. He said he’s sorry. He bought another one.
Walking dogs in the downtown area, you run into a lot of hobos. Animals, nutbars and old people: I am drawn to them like a moth. It’s best to give your dollars freely in order to make friends, in my experience. You get lonely all day at work with no one to talk to.
Side topic, I hate when people can’t tell I’m working. I just look like a rich asshole with no job/cares walking two german shepherds at 11 in the morning. It takes two conversational strokes to get to the heart of the matter. Strangers at crosswalks say, that’s a cute dog, and then they ask a question about the dog, and by then it’s time to disclose the reality of the relationship. I say, “The dog’s not mine, I’m a dog walker.” A lot of people tell me I have a cool job, which I could just accept, but instead I internalize it as condescending, and then I feel bad about myself and my station in life.
It’s good to have hobo friends is what I’m saying. How the fuck they going to make you feel bad? They have totally failed at life. They’re hobos!
2. what is your favorite thing about dogs?
There’s been a misunderstanding. I don’t like dogs.