Listlessly, I flip through the pages of the New Yorker. My name is not on the masthead, and none of the articles or authors there seem to interest me. Yet I flip nonetheless.

I risk paper cuts by doing so. Judging silently, by now a young 30-something with no longer half baked ideas in her head. These ideas are well done. Overcooked, perhaps. Not yet crisped beyond palatability, but one day we will be there. But not today.

I can taste the ash of dreams in my mouth. This is not a pleasant feeling. To have been writing for so long but still be here, at my kitchen table, flipping idly through the pages. And still not feeling a sense of belonging.

Part of me still believes that it has to do with my college education, or lack thereof. I understand the Oxford comma, but fuck anyone who lets a comma get in the way of grand, human emotion.

I deserve to be on these pages. I deserve notoriety. I have slaved through the word mines of fear and near death. When will I be worthy of New York style fame. When will I be vaunted from this holding place in Oakland, California, which stymies me more as the days go by. When will I be set free from the cage of a city that no longer loves art. Who will save me.

I flip. Through this magazine and that. When will my name be here. When will I be lifted away. When can I leave Oakland. When will I be good enough. When will someone deem me worthy of saving, of paying for a way to not be here, where there is nothing, but the ashes of the dead and the deceit of the living. When do I get to be pretty on a magazine page. When do I get to be anywhere but here.

Here is a dying place, and I am biding my time among the dying. Perhaps one day I will live in a world where right here and right now are not the anathema of existence.

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