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It’s All About Perseverance

24 Oct

I got the oddest (and most welcome) letter in the mail last month in a hand-addressed envelope from the North American Review. It was my original query letter with a lovely handwritten note from the editor, letting me know that they were interested in one of my poems (huzzah!!).

What made it so odd was that it had my old New York address on the query letter, which is strange because I haven’t lived there in almost two years. As I reread the editor’s note, my eyes finally shifted up to the date on my letter – October 12, 2010. Two thousand ten, people! Almost three years from the date that I mailed out my query, I was finally hearing back. Amazing, right?

Two Thousand Friggin' Ten

Two Thousand Friggin’ Ten

I don’t know which is more fantastical, knowing that the NAR’s reading backlog is two plus years long or that they still finally got back to me. I had long given up on those submissions. Heck, I haven’t submitted a poem in almost six months. And yet, here was this little welcome nugget of approval! Even after so much time, they still liked the poem! They still wanted to publish it!

Which gets me to my point: perseverance. You have to keep at it. Day by day. Week by week. Month by month. Even year by year. Because you never know. Someday, somewhere, someone will get your poem. It will speak to them in a way that they’ve never heard before, just as it was speaking to you when you wrote it.

With all that goes on in our busy lives (work, family, friends, hobbies, paying the goddamn bills), it’s easy to get discouraged and stop making the time to write. It’s easy to make excuses for why you’re not writing, not reading, not listening to poetry, not paying attention. There are more pressing, more fun, more rewarding things to do – at least that’s how it feels sometimes. But if you’re anything like me, the most amazing thing you can do is write. To write a really great poem, short story, novel, play. Because only you can do this. Only you.

So don’t give up hope. Get your butt in the chair. Keep writing, keep revising, keep reading, keep submitting, keep working.

Rock on, people.

~ Jho


How Jho Got Her West Coast Groove Back…

18 Jun

So what happened was that I went into work one day intending to ask about the possibility of relocating back to California (as I had diligently discussed with my hubby) and ended up giving my notice, albeit for 30 to 60 days in the future. Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of things I loved (and miss) about living in New York City, but the daily grind, coupled with a total lack of private living space and a completely unfulfilling (and often crazy-making, I-am-going-to-kill-someone-and-end-up-in-jail) work life made for a decidedly unhappy Jho.

CityBoy and I discussed the pros and cons, got out our lists of potential relocation cities, and started thinking about dates and times and tasks and things-to-do. Then I jumped the proverbial gun. I asked for a sit-down with my then boss and in a space of mere minutes, decided “fuck it, let’s just do it” and committed to my leave-taking. About two seconds after that, I remembered that I was no longer the sole decider of my destiny. Many “shit”s and “oh crap”s floated through my head.  Continue reading

Field Trip: Wave Hill, Bronx NY. . . with Bees

30 Oct

Last weekend, CityBoy dragged me out of the City for one last, pre-winter hurrah. As you probably know, Jho and cold weather do not mix. I am a very unhappy camper. CityBoy jokes that it’s always too hot or too cold in New York for me. Which is almost the truth. There are about four weeks each year that I enjoy. Two weeks of spring/heading into summer and two weeks of fall. Otherwise, it is an abominable mess out here.

But back on topic, being the impressive planner that he is, CityBoy realized that last weekend was going to probably be one of the last nice weekends we’ll have for a long while (how depressing is that?), and he decided that he really wanted to get outside of the city for some Nature, with a capital N.

the Pergola Overlook

Which is how we ended up trekking out to Wave Hill, a gorgeous public garden and center set atop the cliffside in way upper Bronx. If you’re familiar with the area and/or have taken a MetroNorth or Amtrak train heading north from New York, you’ll remember seeing these amazing red cliffs from the train as you’ve speed along the Hudson. That’s where Wave Hill is.  Continue reading

Did I Mention They Like Statues?

11 Oct

Statues of horses. Or horsepeople, to be precise.

Yup - those are giant horses waiting to trample you from on high.

They are lording it over massive fountains.

Horse King of the People

Charging over the tops of municipal buildings.

It's a bird. It's a plane. Nope, it's a giant statue of horses.

And rearing triumphantly over their self-named parklands.

Where's my charging-horse, spear-in-hand statue, damn it?

In general, swanning about, making you feel tiny and insignificant. Because they have been immortalized in marble, granite, or limestone. More than life-sized and flexing their artist-enhanced biceps.

Makes you want to go out and commission your own sword-wielding, chariot-driving, wild-stallion-driving statue, no?

Wedding gift, anyone?

Turkey Leftovers = Pot Pie Heaven

20 Jan

[Be forewarned: this should have been posted sometime soon after Thanksgiving, but I’m a lazy slob, so here it is. Pretend it’s November 27th.]

At first I thought I was going to make some funky turkey soup with olio nuovo (the latest thing in olive oil supposedly) with my turkey leftovers. But then Giada interceded, with a perfectly timed Day-After-Thanksgiving appearance on the Today Show. The poor thing had to deal with the twin horror show that is Hoda and Kathie Lee, but she managed to impress upon this amateur cook how easy it would be to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into individual pot pies.

Which gave me a reason to pick up these totally cute mini soup crocks at my local Crate & Barrel.

All ready for pot pie goodness

Continue reading

Thankful…for Unicorns and the people who love them

25 Nov

Discovered during a walk of our neighborhood over Halloween Week. If this doesn’t make you smile, you just might be dead inside. I’m just saying.


19 Nov

In the mail today, wedged in between the junk mail and the seemingly endless number of magazines to which I now subscribe, was this welcome bit of “real” mail:

Special props to my Tita Lou for this super cute, and super homemade, Thanksgiving card. It elicited a smile and a comment (“cute card”) from one of my normally sullen neighbors during a painfully silent elevator ride. So good job, Tita Lou, and thank you.

And in the spirit of thankfulness, I’ve decided to share with you a few things that brighten my day:

1) The Starbucks Morning Bun – it’s like a cross between a croissant and a cinnamon roll, but only better. Way, way, way better. I don’t always luck out at the ‘Bucks because these babies go fast. But when they’re there, watch out – that’s my Morning Bun, not yours.

it's the one in the middle

2) My Land’s End JHO bag – cuz it’s big, it’s orange, and it says my name in big BLOCK letters. Oh, and it’s got pockets up the ying-yang.

so geek chic, right?

And lastly, 3) a certain forty-something Andrew McCarthy. Because he’s reinvented himself as a travel writer, and a pretty good one at that. Because he’s still so damn hot.

oh, Blaine!

And because I got to hear him read at Strand Books, where I was [thiiiiiiiiiiis] close to him.

giving Patrick Dempsey a run for his money in the hair department

It was a reach-out-and-touch-someone moment, though I controlled myself, being a good New Yorker (our motto is “celebrity, schmallebrity”), and also because CityBoy was with me and ready to lunge out and pin my arms to my sides so I didn’t get arrested for fondling a grown man’s hair.

So in a world of nearly endless crappy news, let’s focus on the positives…our family and friends, our health, our ability to create, and the knowledge that Blaine, that blue-blooded charmer, still has it. In spades.

Rock on, people.

– Jho