Let's catch up.
I'm still on the grind. I'm off social media.
Wow, wow, wow. The last time I updated this blog was over a year ago now.
How time flies.
Within a few short months of the last blog entry, I was quickly enveloped with Hearth & Coffin, the literary journal I founded. To date, we have published three issues (the latest of which came out this week). The fourth and final issue of our first volume is slated for December. We launched at the onset of 2021 and have been 'full steam ahead' ever since.
The journal's had some press in the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) newsletter, the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) newsletter, Spectrum South, and OutSmart Magazine, which was all good fun.
Some additional big news: Alfredo and I moved to New York in June 2021. Houston will forever be my home, as I lamented in this letter from the editor for the journal following our relocation. We found a cozy apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn right near the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. (No, not the hipster part of Billyburg, the neighborhood-y part.)
Our "little box in Brooklyn" was just that when we moved in: a box. A blank slate with every surface but the floor painted in that characteristic thick white landlord paint. Over the first few months, Alfre and I took the time to rummage through Stooping NYC, IKEA, Macy's, and Home Depot to fill the place out. We painted a little, reconfigured furniture, and while we donated about half our possessions before we left Houston, we must have donated another half of what was left once we got here.
Our apartment in Houston wasn't even that big! How did we have so much shit?
In any case, the apartment is coming together. The sofa we bought won't be here until November (we bought it in July), but that's alright. It'll make that moment when our sofa arrives and pulls the place together that much sweeter.
While Alfre's been working for his company here in New York (the reason we moved, in fact), I've continued to work remotely for Legacy back in Houston. I mean, we've all been remote for over a year now thanks to this pan dulce, so my supervisor(s) allowed me to keep my job from 1,500 miles away - for now.
I've spent my days (when not working on the apartment with Alfre) working from coffee shops like Fiction, Black Brick, 787, Think, Felix, and Café Grumpy. I recommend all of them if you're ever in New York. If you're here for a couple days, rotate through them.
Specifically however, I want to recommend the rum-infused espresso at 787. Per the barista, the beans are soaked in rum prior to roasting. The roasting process cooks the alcohol out, but you're left with espresso that has a unique vanilla-esque flavor to it that makes for an excellent Americano.
I've also been working on my physical and mental health while I've been here.
Let's not mince words: the last year and a half has really been something. It's been rough on all of us. The pandemic, a presidential election, vaccine rollout, conspiracy theorists with far-reaching platforms, and that's just what's taken place on the macro scale; the stuff we've all been through. On my personal scale, I've grappled with all of the above, plus keeping my journal afloat and on schedule, my 9-5 job, and a major cross-country move.
Changes had to be made if I expected myself to continue operating with my wits about me, if I'm being frank. So I logged out of Instagram, Twitter, and for fuck's sake, Facebook.
Granted, I still have to utilize all three social platforms for the journal, but as I'm not personally tied to those accounts as an individual and I'm merely interacting as a brand, that feeling of dread isn't there. I didn't delete my accounts; they're still online as fun little time capsules to look back on some day if I so choose, but I'm no longer using them. I posted a fun goodbye before signing off in order to avoid ghosting my friends and colleagues.
It's only been a few days since I left social, by the way. Not months - days. And I'm already feeling more human.
I don't wake up and doomscroll, I wake up and open the NPR app and listen to the news as I get ready for my day and walk Wolfgang. I check my morning news notifications from the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN (and take them all with an establishment grain of salt).
I read a book on the train.
I read a book before bed.
I got my nutrition in order (again) and began lifting heavier than before, too. I really want to feel healthier - inside and out. This felt like the best way to do so.
I think social media can do a lot of good when utilized correctly. I bore witness to this (and participated in it) in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We had open source information at the ready, telling everyone who needed donations where, where people needed rescuing, and which shelters had capacity - and which didn't.
But that was 2017. This is 2021, and much has changed.
I refuse to throw my head into the sand and become oblivious to the world around me. The activist spirit in me remains alive and well, just as much as it was back in Houston where I was involved in The Work in every way I could be. So I remain informed via the news, blogs and RSS feeds, etc.... I don't think I need social media to be active. What I get from the aforementioned sources is so much clearer than the picture I could get from social media, where I could get info on the goings-on, but also had to compete with an algorithm to remain relevant myself while simultaneously watching the idiocracy of America grow stronger with the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, and the like. I can be a part of the solution and put in the work - but I don't have to sacrifice my mental health in the process by watching that in real time, some of it from people dear to me, even.
So here I am now: back on the blog (but without a schedule, sorry), off social media, and living my best gay writer life.
I have a few stories up my sleeve already. Let's see when I'll have the serotonin to write them out for you.