The Pandemic Of Anger

May 31, 2020

We entered the fourth month since the world has begun to shut down in attempts to slow down the spread of Covid-19, the fourth month since we let ourselves get infected by the repeated usage of the nonsensical phrase the new normal. We are trying to adapt to the living inside the ever-changing perimeters of the different states of emergencies that the cities and countries we live in imposed. However, was there such thing as the universally defined normal life before Covid-19? If you thought you lived a normal life in a normal state, I am so sorry for your recent loss. I’m not writing this to mock anyone’s ideals, I am writing this because I know what losing hope, faith, and ideals feels like. 

Seek The Beauty, Want The Passion, Hold The Wild Or What I Learned About My Desires While Reading Melissa Matthewson’s Tracing The Desire Line

April 30, 2020

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the term “domesticity” as the quality or state of being domestic or domesticated. The definition doesn’t offer enough clarity if you don’t continue the thread by looking into words “domestic” or “domesticated.” 

Domestic: reduced from a state of native wilderness so as to be tractable and useful to humans.

Domestic: devoted to home duties and pleasures.

Domestic: a household servant such as housemaid.

To domesticate: to adapt to life in association with and to the use of humans.

In her memoir in essays, Tracing the Desire Line, published in the fall of 2019 by Split Lip Press, Melissa Matthewson opposes the idea of domestication. “I don’t want to be domestic any more,” Matthewson writes as she sets out to explore the possibilities of a woman’s freedom within marriage and her artistic wilderness within the rigid walls of small-town culture. 

A Poet Asking for Mercy

March 31, 2020

Here we are, entering April, our beloved National Poetry Month under the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic, and I am trying to write an encouraging letter as if I am coming from our bright near future, bringing the good news. 

Inside Silence

July 01, 2019

It is difficult for a mama writer to find enough space and time even during periods of the quiet. The lack of time and space for writing arouses storms of anxiety.

What I usually do to calm my anxiety is the opposite of what I should do. Instead of taking care of myself by finding balance and grounding, I clean. I take everything out of our closets and cabinets and shelves, and I purge — all with the idea to create more space in our two-bedroom condo.

Spring Cleaning

May 01, 2019

I was thinking about the question of self-branding and how this affects writers. I thought about the noise that social media creates in our minds, and its opposite - the idea of clearing our thoughts of the noise. Detoxication is personal and always internal. The body absorbs toxins, but it is wise enough to get rid of most. The mind, however, keeps everything. Letting go of the conceptions that no longer serve us is a big step forward. 

Cities and Reflections

March 01, 2019

Sometimes, it takes hours of staring at a white page or a grey skyline of Seattle (viewed from my co-working office on Lake Union) to get the words flowing. Sometimes, thoughts, still unformed into words, burst into my mind to haunt me, uninvited and insistent. Haunting thoughts scream as loudly as my daughters when they start a fight over a thing that they both want at the same instant. The words “want” and “instant” now resound in my head; the echoes guide my fingers to the keyboard, and the words appear on the page.

WANT

INSTANT

Art of Truthtelling

February 01, 2019

A few weeks ago, my eight-year-old daughter asked my husband, “Daddy, what is fiction?”

Without thinking, he explained, “When mama writes about something that she does not want daddy to see as true, she calls it fiction.”

“So, if mommy always writes about the truth,” my daughter seemed dissatisfied with the learning, “What is fiction?”

On Color

December 01, 2018

Our lives are saturated by color. The sky above us is blue (or gray or pink or purple or nearly black). The grass we walk on is green, though sometimes it is brown. Our skin has color, though not exactly the color we normally ascribe to it. Our hair has color, even if that color inevitably changes with time – and may change again with the skill of our hair colorist. Our clothes have color; our furniture and our houses, too. Our food has color; so do milk, coffee, and wine. Color is an unavoidable part of our experience of the world, not least as it differentiates and organizes the physical space in which we live, allowing us to navigate it.

 

 

For as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from a complicated relationship with color. Often in the morning, I stay in front of the mirror for too long, changing tops or scarves of different colors until I find the one that matches, or that doesn’t suppress, the way I am feeling. Colors signify or evoke my emotions. 

In Constellation of Sagittarius

November 01, 2018

In just a few days, on November 8, 2018, the planet Jupiter will enter the constellation of Sagittarius, meaning that, after twelve long years or roaming through other constellations, Jupiter will return home.

Born with the Sun in Sagittarius, I have been waiting for this day for quite a while, and in the meantime, I’ve been preparing diligently for the upcoming year of growth, big ideas, and rich experiences.

Because we can already find an abundance of articles about the Lucky Jupiter on the web and how its homecoming may affect different aspects of our lives, I decided to examine how its energy may affect artists. Jupiter in Sagittarius will open us up to travel and travel of the mind, bringing the unimaginable possibilities to all creative minds, but especially to storytellers.

Trust the Path

October 01, 2018

In my artistic calendar, the new year starts on the first day of October. And every time, even though the past experiences taught me to anticipate what would follow, the second half of September, which embodies the fear of the transformation before the change of seasons, surprises me with new emotional challenges. If I could post a picture to showcase my feelings, you would see me standing on the edge of a sandy beach. The sun and a lighthouse are behind me, and in front of me, a cobbled path that curves and narrows and leads into a forest. The forest symbolizes my new book. If it were the first one I was about the write, I would probably head forward with ease and naivety. But, because I know well how damn hard it is to write a book, I hesitate. I linger on that thin strip of the warm sand, listing in my mind all the reasons I shouldn’t continue.

Write with the Heat

September 01, 2018

A few days ago, the writer I admire shared on social media that the summer had tricked her into a loss of creative energy and a loss of confidence. Many other writers joined the conversation reporting similar and hostile effects of summer. The knowing that I haven’t been alone at the bottom of the sea, rejoiced me. An unusual cosmic energy during the summer months makes writers forget who they are. I remember the creative optimism I had in June. All the ideas about what I was going to write under the sun, all the scenes I played in my mind, all the characters I wanted to hang out with. But when July began, and the sunrays blazed my laptop screen, I found myself incapable of distinguishing the letters, choosing the right words, aligning coherent sentences. The summer came, and all I wanted was to soak up the sun, see the old friends, enjoy the time with my family, and taste every French Rose I could find.

Although anyone with a different profession could not have found anything wrong with the above mentioned, after a few weeks, the writer secretly detested the summer leisure. The familiar guilt over procrastination overshadowed the fun.

Falling in Love with Mrs. Maisel

February 01, 2018

The month of January defeated me with its cold weather and harsh viral infections, so I had no other choice but to accept my weariness, snuggle by the fireplace, and watch television. Thanks to the ridiculous assortment of options I can browse from (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Xfinity) I had a hard time finding the right show. However, I knew well what I was looking for. A perfectly bright character. Someone who will surprise me, inspire me, make me laugh and gasp and think; someone who will bring magic into the room, into my heart.

Happy New Beginnings

January 01, 2018

Happy New Year, dear writers!

What are you up to this year? Any new beginnings? Any big expectations? Any solid plans? Any mapped journeys?​

Any old resistance?

I ask you, but at the same, I ask myself the same questions. The first of January awakens both hope and doubt in everyone.

The Shape of Ice: Showdown Between Artistry and Performance

March 01, 2018

February was unexpectedly cold in Seattle; snowflakes swirled above the agitated surfaces of the lakes. I tried to find order in their movement while I watched them through the windows of the co-working space where I come to write. When the winds paused, the snowfall paused as well, and the surface of Lake Union coated with silver. The placid lake looked just like the Olympic Ice Rink in South Korea, quiet and ready for the showdown between artistry and performance.

The Magic of Revision

December 01, 2017

A few nights ago, a young woman who has been taking my creative writing classes asked me, Can I write a wrong story? Her question caught me by surprise and even though I promptly answered it in class, it resonated loudly in my mind until late at night, stirring deeper thoughts on the problem. Can anyone write a wrong story?

The story I have been working on doesn’t feel right to me any longer, she explained.

I suggested we go back to where her story first started and investigate what had happened that made her doubt herself. She read the first scene in which her protagonist appeared. Her words were so beautiful, her images unique; the voice of her protagonist felt both collected and urgent, and we could see clearly that the woman in her story had a secret. The secret big enough to scare off the writer herself.

How Are You My Fellow Writer

August 07, 2018

This past spring, at my annual physical exam, I was given a questionnaire I was to fill and hand to the nurse before proceeding to the doctor’s office. I have been with the same practitioners since 2009, and this was the first time they asked about my emotional well-being. First, I thought that the change had to do with my age of being now 35, then I remembered that we are all emotional beings, so the age shouldn’t have mattered. Perhaps, the change came with the shared fear of the new president of our state – maybe our physicians were concerned, now more than ever, that one wouldn’t be able to resist the collective depression? Whatever the reason was for the questionnaire, it didn’t bother me more than the fact that I had to lie. I had to lie to almost all of their questions.

Conversation With Greg Jackson, Author Of Prodigals

March 01, 2017

All my life I thought of books as doors to conversations. On an opening verse of a poem, a beginning paragraph of a story, or the first page of a novel, I would start a conversation with characters and their writers. The more white space a writer creates for me, the more intense our dialogue becomes, and the more I love the book. Because of this habit, and because I always have new questions for my literary interlocutors, I read slowly, returning several times to the words I most enjoyed.

One of the books I have been rereading lately is Greg Jackson’s debut collection of short stories, Prodigals. Perhaps, I wouldn’t have yet picked up the book if I didn’t attend a conference where I was introduced to his voice and work. In November 2016, Greg Jackson won The National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 award—the prestigious honor of being one of five writers under 35 expected to make a lasting impression on the American literary scene.

Resisting Silence

January 18, 2017

As the CNN election night coverage began, I was calm. Before the culminating night of the 2016 presidential campaign, I had believed that only in fiction Donald Trump could be elected president. However, while I was in the classroom, teaching my students about writing in scenes, the fiction was happening.

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© 2019 by Alexandra Panic