Tag Archives: romance

Just Another Quarantine Love Story

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It’s a bit weird to start dating someone right before the world catches fire and everyone is on lockdown, quarantining with only their most immediate, closest loved ones. Him and I didn’t have anyone—just our dogs. And I guess we could’ve gone the other route—we could’ve just said, “Welp, this was fun for a couple weeks, huh? Maybe I’ll see you when this is all over!” We would’ve texted for a while and then faded away from each other, as many met-on-an-app flings often go. It was a step away or lean in kinda moment and we decided to lean in. Suddenly, someone who had only seen you naked twice is the only human on Earth who you’re allowed to see, touch, hug, kiss.

It’s a lot. And honestly, I’m surprised we haven’t killed each other yet.

He’s pretty content in quarantine. He’s enjoying working from home. He enjoys being home in general—playing video games, watching TV, napping, building model robots. All of his favorite things can be done in his living room. Clearly, we are complete opposites. The only favorite thing of mine that can be done in my living room is reading and writing, but my favorite place to do both of those things is outside, preferably next to a pool or ocean. I’m going certifiably crazy. On edge and pessimistic or desperately needy at all times. I can only sometimes get to sleep and I can only sometimes wake up when I’m supposed to. Waves of emotions constantly pull and tear at me, and the good ones like motivation and gratitude hardly every stick around long enough.

He said it really, really well the other night: “We’re kind of in this situation that forces you to find out all the worst things about me, really early on.” Super, super smart man (in this particular moment) for not saying WE’re finding out the worst things about each other. I quickly added though, “You’re definitely finding out the worst things about me, too.”

I need attention, y’all. And I don’t just mean from a romantic partner. I never realized how much I counted on human interaction—at work, seeing a hundred students a day, plus my coworkers, my friends, my family… Losing all of that has been rough on me.

And who gets to be there for me to unleash these swelling emotions upon? Yup, the one and only human I’m allowed to interact with. Poor guy. But you know what, I’m putting up with plenty from him as well…

I thought, for a long time, that La Rona basically mandated him and I be friends and nothing more. Ever. I mean, the whole situation is insane when you really stop to think about it. It’s not like we could go on dates with other people. We weren’t even seeing our friends or family. The one person I was entrusting to not give me an airborne virus was someone I had swiped right on a few weeks ago, mutually agreeing on the visual appealing nature of each other’s faces.

But how exactly do you stop yourself from catching feelings for someone you’re talking to or seeing every single day for four months in a row (and counting)? Clearly there was something there, for us to want to keep seeing that much of each other. Right? I doubted it, giving in to my true nature of distrust—we’re only getting this close because of COVID-19, I thought. We’re just comfortable with each other, that’s it. If there wasn’t a plague floating around, we would have been done with each other long ago. I told myself so many things. I would bottle it up and then freak out, telling him I didn’t want a real relationship only to, a few weeks later, chastise him for not wanting to lock things down.

I built a giant living room fort complete with candles and champagne, he ordered us ramen and set up camping chairs on top of an empty parking garage. I dressed up like I was going out on the town just for him to make us fresh-squeezed margaritas. I attempted to cut his hair, he bought me roses. I set up a wings and hot sauce challenge for him, he took us on scenic drives, blasting 90s music. I brought him sushi, he brought me Chinese. I cooked crockpot recipes and rented movies, he ordered pizza and rubbed my feet. I wrote him a poem, he made me breakfast tacos and French toast. Our dogs became best friends and wannabe lovers, and I guess we also accidentally became best friends, but definitely lovers.

This whole thing has been ridiculous and beautiful and indescribably absurd. My career took a pretty hard hit, the progress on my dissertation took an even bigger hit, my mental health was shaky at best, the country was in what can only be called utter chaos, and then…I fell in love?

I’m actually mad that yet another cliché is true. “When you stop trying and stop looking for it—when you least expect it—it’ll happen.” I gagged when someone would tell me that for the hundredth time. The year 2020 being cancelled, surviving a pandemic, and narrowly avoiding murder hornets was not what I thought they meant when they said “least expect” but I get it now.

There’s not much that I know “in these strange times” or “amid all this confusion” or whatever email starter you prefer, but I do know that I wish I could bottle his hug and laugh and the way he brushes my hair out of my face. “In these uncertain times,” I’m pretty certain about him. Amongst the million “hope this finds you well”(s), I’m glad I found him.

Dear Future Husband

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Dear Future Husband,

I’m sorry that you missed me in my prime, man. Damn I was FIT. I now value the happiness that bread and booze bring me over the happiness that my jean size used to bring me. I care a whole hell of lot more about making a friend’s happy hour celebration or checking out a new restaurant than I do about how many minutes of cardio I got in. I’ve accepted butt cellulite and you should too, sir. I still get carded sometimes, I’ll have you know.

I know what I want. This has been a little off-putting for some men–they want me to only want…what they want. To accept everything they say and everything they do, without question. I’m not that girl. I’m not easily suppressed. I have strong opinions, I stand up for myself, I tell you when you hurt my feelings and I tell you WHY. Thank you for loving that about me without being intimidated. I love the same things about you.

I’m no longer in a rush. I’m not going to settle for that dude who called teaching “such an easy job,” that dude who smoked way too much weed, that dude who spoke in teenager-slang, or that dude who wouldn’t stop talking about his huge bank account–I’m waiting for YOU, obviously.

Thanks for supporting my writing. Thanks for wanting to get to know my friends and family. Thanks for wanting more than just sex, but…ya’ know, thanks for also wanting sex. Thanks for being a foodie (thank you for not letting me settle for that dude with the ginger allergy) and thanks for wanting to travel with me (thanks for not letting me settle for that dude who didn’t even want to buy a passport). Thank you for reading books and not just Facebook posts.

Just thanks, for being you, whoever you are 🙂

 

Love,

Alysha

Supposed To Be

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I’m supposed to be working on my novel.

I’m supposed to be sipping this Live Oak Hef, my favorite beer, and working on my novel.

I’m supposed to be enjoying the Texas summer (before it gets too hot)—wind through my hair, sun on my skin, taco truck scents drifting my way—and working on my novel.

I told my friend Ashely that it’s been difficult to write lately because I’ve been so happy. “Give me a heartbreak and I’ll pump out a few novels,” I’d laughed and given her tiny Pomeranian a pat. And it’s true, it really is. I mean, that’s how the first novel came to be.

But the thing is, you make me want to write all the time. And that’s not always a good thing. Usually it is. Usually, you make me want to write sappy poetry after I’ve had a few glasses of Cab. I grab the first writing utensil I find in your grungy garage and jot some cheesy observations into the legal pad that you draw in. I sketch stanzas about your whiskers and kisses and huge hands and you telling me you loved me in that sketchy motel we stayed in. I paint lines with your expressions, sayings, Spanglish, noises your watch makes.

But sometimes. Like now. I’ve felt on the edge of crying for a couple hours—thankful for my Ray Bans and lipstick and beer. I wish I could explain why. I wish I could be honest when you ask me what’s wrong. I think the sad fact is simply that I’m in love, I’m so in love with you and I’m so scared and I don’t want to feel completely destroyed ever again and that’s the only thing I wind up being able to write about.

I get anxiety, I feel this intensely strong desire to put giant walls back up, brush these feelings aside, break this off and avoid any kind of pain. I thought I’d be over this—I thought you’d be the one to be freaking out, tight chest, on edge. How hilarious that it’s me!

I wish I could explain this…better. But that’s what it is—you haven’t done anything wrong, necessarily. I think I’m a little crazy is all. Isn’t everyone? That Kerouac quote about “mad ones,” you know?

I need reassurance by the bucket or else I think you’re going to leave. It’s sad, really, but it makes me feel better that I’m not alone. So many of us have these skeletons, the burned past—the exact same insecurity, fear.

I wish it were my fault and I could fix it. I’m great at fixing things that are my fault. But I didn’t do this…my father did this, my ex-boyfriend did this, my friends and their stories, their nightmares, almost every single man I’ve dated, actually. It’s a long list, it’s a lot of pain, it’s kind of like this campfire experience of ghost tales that travels with you forever, the smoke seeping into your heart.

I hope you won’t be added to the list. That’s all I can really do, I suppose. Drink my beer, try again tomorrow to work on my novel (I’m supposed to be working on my novel).

My Debut Novel Turns ONE!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAAAAAAYYYY to my baby, my first novel, THE WAITING ROOM 🙂

This experience has been scary, amazing, fun, self-deprecating, empowering…an insane rush of emotions, every step of the way. From collecting dust on my laptop for years, to finally being done and selling on Amazon and at BookPeople…I’m just so happy.

I also need to thank the people in my life who have been so supportive–my parents, namely. I’ve always had a passion for reading and writing, and they’ve always been there to support me. My best friends–geez, the whining and stress they’ve had to endure from me haha, thank you guys. My readers, the first people to take a chance and buy the damn thing, the reviewers and their lovely words–I cannot express how grateful I am for you!

So let’s celebrate!

I’ve been thinking about doing another wave of giveaways, and I feel like this is the perfect time.

First 25 readers to email me get a free ecopy (please specify if you’d prefer a Mobi, PDF, or ePub file)!

alyshakaye@gmail.com

My only request is that you please post a review on Amazon and Goodreads 🙂

Poetry Sections are Dangerous

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So for the longest time, I thought E.E. Cummings was a woman. All that talk of kissing and love and carrying your heart with me and being someone’s anyone…or anyone’s someone. Something like that. I, the wildly romantic college freshman, was like, WHOA, this chica GETS ME. On a punctuation level and a general heart wrenching kinda way. Ya’ know…basically, I TOO liked to write in all lowercase letters about boys being sun’s songs. I thought me and e.e. were soul sisters.

And some ridiculous amount of time later (no, seriously, I think it was years) I found out she was a he. I was so damn disappointed because my immediate thought was: Oh, well obviously, I have to find a new favorite poet.

There’s no way a MAN “gets me”. There’s no way a MAN can be my soul sister.

…right?

But then I realized that all of that is bullshit. I kept him around, my loyalty to his parenthetical ways winning over.

And I realized just the other day, as I was reading a collection of his in Half Price Books, that this shrug and grin of a “Yeah, I accept that I’ll never love another poet more” is prettyyyy similar to real-life-hesitant-already-had-your-heart-broken-but-c’est-la-vie-love.

I even wrote a poem about it. Something kinda cheesy about waiting for you to find me on a dusty bookstore chair. You lost somewhere in my life’s biggest love—but probably in the sections I’ve always left untouched (Art History, Non-Fiction). Too uninterested in browsing through other poets, too forever-drunkenly-fulfilled on Cummings’ words, kinda like how I feel about you. So tipsy on your everything, inclined to keep you for good, for you to be the accidental-favorite, the collection I come back to every time, for every mood, in every Sunday afternoon stroll through shelves…

Anyway.

Cummings is a man, y’all. And GODDAMMIT it hurts/is amazing/sucks/yes! when you’ve found a…highly preferred…poet.

Also, this, circa last year. Le sigh. #hopeless

Indie Blog Hop: GIVEAWAY!

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Big shout out to The Book Binder’s Daughter for connecting with me via Twitter and allowing me to participate in this awesome blog hop! Go to her blog to check out all the other authors participating today- and sign up for more giveaways!

GIVEAWAY DEETS: All you have to do is follow my blog, like my author Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter! Those new names will be entered in the drawing and at the end of today, some lucky someone will win the signed copy of my debut novel, The Waiting Room 🙂 If you’d prefer, I can send you an ecopy instead, for your Kindle. I’ll announce the winner on all of those social media sites.

Happy 20-Days-Til-Christmas, readers!

Hope your tree has lots of books underneath it!
Check out all the other indie authors participating, and sign up for more giveaways here:

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Get Over Yourself

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Originally published in the San Francisco Book Review – October issue.

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 Get Over Yourself: What My Students Taught Me
 

“Miss, get back to me when you’re Dr. Seuss famous.”

That was one of the first reactions I received when I told my 100 7th grade students that I was publishing a novel.

The main piece of congratulations I got from my squirrelly middle schoolers was: “Will you share the money with us?!” Ha.

As per usual, my hooligans who I spend all day with keep me in check.

They will never allow me to take myself too seriously and thank goodness for that. No one likes that pretentious-never-smiling writer who goes around constantly sighing about how their agent and editor just “don’t see eye to eye.” Oh please.

I make a living telling kids to capitalize and spit out their gum. I write on the side. I get two sad paychecks a month, break up two fights a year, and hand out maybe two stickers a day. I write on the side.

In case you don’t have a clear enough picture of my glamorous life yet, this was the simultaneous response of almost every class when I began with “I have some great news…”:
“YOU’RE PREGNANT?!?!”

That, as you can imagine, made the news of my novel seem quite arbitrary. Oh, our teacher isn’t having a baby out of wedlock? Well then we don’t really care.

Yeah.

I’m not going to lie, as a self-published author, it’s easy to get caught up in Twitter followers, Facebook likes, WordPress reblogs, Goodreads ratings, and Amazon reviews. It’s even easier to get lost in the black hole of “refreshing” the Kindle and CreateSpace sales pages.

That’s what I have my darling pre-teens for. They may irk me with their constant struggle of “Is a lot really two words, Miss?” but they definitely, DEFINITELY teach me to get over myself.

You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND break up spit ball invasions. You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND secretly bribe a student with chocolate before school to kill a classroom cockroach. You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND calmly tell a student to stop making “sexual noises” during the state standardized test. And you definitely, definitely can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND keep a straight face when a student asks you, “Miss, why do all white people like to rhyme all the time?”

I think every author out there truly needs someone (or hundreds of mini-someones) to keep them humble. I’m sure even J.K. Rowling has a bubble-burster. Probably someone who gloats to her about Avatar doubling the sales of every Harry Potter film. But seriously, where would we be without these parade-rainers?

Granted, there are different types of these “antagonists”. Not everyone can be as lucky as me—mine are cute and almost impossible to stay angry with (I said almost). My students make fun of me for not being married and then, in the next breath, accidentally call me Mom. They make fun of my clothes and then, a minute later, they’re hugging me or begging me to read their poem or asking if I’ll be at their soccer game. But trust me, I have the more evil-type-naysayers as well. I like to call them h8ters or swag-less (my students may or may not have taught me those words).

These Negative Nancys are necessary, I’m telling you! You don’t want to end up ALONE, smoking a pipe in front of a fireplace, wearing only wool argyle, and refusing to speak to anyone but your typewriter (because no one else deserves your esteemed attention). NO! Also, you don’t want to end up an alcoholic-addict-suicide-Hemingway type. I mean, being Hemingway would be cool…but you know what I mean. Don’t take yourself seriously. Ever. You’ll lose something. And in turn, your writing will lose something. And then you’ll lose your readers. Boom. Is your mind blown?

While you may not be walking around the halls of your employment wearing dry erase marker streaks on your white dress, I encourage you to find your own path to absurdity. If your life isn’t a joke, you’re not a writer.

I leave you with the best student reaction to my book cover: “Miss…is that a picture of what you wish you had, but you’ve like…never had and will never have?” Burn, kid. Burn.

So hey, writers out there, remember: get over yourself!

I THINK I’ve made a publishing decision…

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If you read my post a few weeks ago, you know I have A Chance to Leave the Self-Pub World…

I think I’ve finally made a decision.

 

 

Drum roll please……………………….

 

 

 

I’m going to STAY put, self-pub, indie, unrepresented. Not gonna take the publisher’s offer. Not gonna sign the contract.

 

You might think I’m crazy. Here are the 3 main reasons for my decision:

1. The publishers that contacted me are extremely new and unheard of. They publish a LOT of erotica, which my book is NOT.

2. I worked really hard for my Amazon and Goodreads reviews and I didn’t want to lose them.

3. I’ve done pretty well marketing for myself, and after researching the publisher (and contacting their authors), I was led to believe that their marketing wouldn’t be any better than my own.

 

This doesn’t mean I’m not opening to signing a contract in the future- with a publisher more fitting for my novel and I. But if that never happens, I’ll be fine 🙂 The self-pub world IS pretty amazing, after all.

 

 

 

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Signed GIVEAWAY!

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Book Giveaway

 

Win a signed copy of THE WAITING ROOM!!!

All you have to do is like my author Facebook page 🙂

Once I reach 500 likes (I’m so close!) all names will be entered in the giveaway.

The Waiting Room

 

 

 

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