Category Archives: Short Story

Thoughts On The “Slow Food” Movement

This piece of prose is meant to serve a dual purpose: provide a life update and artistically reflect on 2020.


Have you heard of this thing? It’s called, “Slow Food.”

I shake my head. “Isn’t that cooking?”

“No, no. Not like that.” Judgmental tuts put me in my place.

People are always waiting to tell other people they’re breathing the wrong way because it isn’t the way they learned how to breathe.

I stare at my ceiling as my partner falls asleep. “Is my food meant to be causing constipation?” What is meant by slow? Sounds uncomfortable.

2020 distorts time like light passing through water and glass – the concentrated pockets brighten momentarily, but fade into the surrounding textures and patterns. I’m reminded of Bay Time – of a place in my past that no longer exists – when waking up during the blue hour meant a circuit of nets and crab pots, checking juvenile oyster baskets for conchs as they float tethered and returning by mid-morning on a clear day – when our family’s laughter sparkled off the water for hours as we chattered and picked steamed crab from exoskeletons. Hand-packed. Frozen. Thawed. Remembered.

Did I remember to respond to those emails last week? What about those interview questions I was going to write? What is Slow Food?

I create daily menus as my partner’s coworkers abandon ship for economic mirages. The grass is always greener… says the cow chewing cud.

What started as a chance to write 6 books turns into 6 unfinished books and 4 shelved ones. No one reads this. Why would anyone want to? Is there a world where my words matter?

“No, no. Not like that.” Say the rejections I receive.

I search for staff writing and editing positions at places that might acknowledge and apologize for microaggressions. Where I would feel safe bringing them up. I try to imagine a writing position where I could continue to find growth. I take two weeks off wondering if they’ve realized I’m the only staff editor they didn’t acknowledge the birthday of yet.

“No, no. Not like that.” Says the writing group I try out, but don’t feel comfortable going back to after the group leader says those that are talented at writing fiction are narcissists… after she compliments my ability to write fiction.

I read antique poetry books for inspiration and tell myself I’ll finish A Hundred Different Skies. I’ll finish at least one to be sure. But no one will read it. Why would they? Not even my family supports me anymore.

I stop getting on Twitter after our friend dies. He’s not the first death this year. My heart hurts. I’m told to take care of myself, but in isolation it’s not that simple. The words don’t come when I try to talk about the brick building on Poquoson Ave. I begin seriously considering mortuary school again.

“Have you tried Slow Food?”

“Isn’t that cooking?” I stare at these pages of unpolished text.

I lose a close friend to schizophrenia. She creates 15+ phone numbers and iMessage accounts to call and harass me about how I am the grey goo in her computer — about how I knew about the people living in her walls — about how the literary magazine I gave her in Summer 2018 predicted all of this. I try not to dwell on wedding pictures. My voicemail box fills regularly to the point my doctors can’t get ahold of me.

For the first summer since undergrad I lose count of the number of times I’ve been camping. This feels like the correct number of times. I start to wish I didn’t have to go home and find myself learning how to do seasonal prepping of food for the winter. I already knew.

“Have you tried Slow Food?”

“Isn’t that cooking?” My entire life has changed, but I haven’t found a new normal. Nothing is normal, and the only thing “slow” is Schrödinger’s Time in this box of a year trying to tell me everything is both fine and not fine at the same time.

But “No, no. Not like that,” says the world as it spins madly on.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read my writing today. If you enjoyed this piece, please like, comment, and/or share it. This helps me know which posts my readers enjoy the most.

Short Story: Cicadas

I’m happy to announce my short story ‘Cicadas‘ is live on Coffee House Writers! I’m excited to bring my readers back to one of my past homes as I pay homage to a city I love. Richmond is a beautiful city filled with rich history and the kind of muggy summer heat you don’t easily forget.

For those not from The South or eastern United States, cicadas are those insects you hear about spending the majority of their lives underground (17 years; 19 years; etc. depending on the species) only to emerge for a couple days to molt, eat a lot, mate, and die. In parts of the United States, cicadas are eaten because they are so numerous. They’re gluten free and low carb!

Thank you for taking the time to read my short story today! Have you ever written or read anything set in a place you have lived? What did you think of it? What do you think of this piece? I’d love to hear in the comments!

If you’d like to see more flash fiction, please like, comment, and/or share this post. It helps me know what content my readers are most interested in seeing, so I can better know what to share here.

New Short Story: The Vacant House

Photo by Sidney See on Unsplash.com

Up now on Coffee House Writers is my short story The Vacant House.

This is an experimental piece I’ve played around with since its first draft in 2015. Since then it morphed into what it is now and I decided that it was time to throw it out into the world for some feedback. My editor didn’t have much to provide, so maybe others can help?

The initial idea:

How can I tell a story from the perspective of something that would normally not be given the benefit of thought and perception?

How would a house try to communicate with its occupants?

I had to make certain decisions that frustrated me, such as the house being able to read and understand English. This introduced a supernatural element that, while I am already pushing things by talking about a house capable of thought and perception, seemed a bit too farfetched.

Another thing that frustrated me about this piece: the house’s existential crisis.

What are your thoughts on the piece? Do you have feedback?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my work and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day!

If you enjoy my work, please take a moment to like, share, and/or leave a comment. This helps me know what y’all are most interested in seeing and how I can best engage. Without you, these letters mean nothing -– your brain assembles them in a way that generates meaning and decodes the way my brain encoded this information as I typed this out. It’s viewable on brain imaging studies on language processing!

No Me Gusta Col Rizada – A Short Story

Content Warning: This story contains mention of suicide. Reader discretion is advised. This is a work of fiction.

Photo by Cedric Letsch on Unsplash

In a little Italian neighborhood near the Coit Tower, a swath of green space invites families to sit on park benches with aesthetic spikes, keeping them empty. Some stray travelers use their time to read real books or eReaders; many play on their phones.  The locked public toilets hide behind green and gold painted metal – inaccessible monuments to the city ordinances against the homeless. On a light pole near the Washington Park toilets, hangs an Italian flag – acceptable ethnic pride in a city so focused on Pride.

Two large dogs – larger than their owners – try to distract each other by initiating play. The Bay’s blue water shimmers through the trees as Union Street heads downhill. Against a clear blue sky, the world maintains an invisible boundary: the city on one side, me on the other.

This boundary follows my neighbors when we enter stores, or avoids us on trains. It turns heads when I speak Spanish to those that speak it to me. It garners looks in even the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods, depending on the street. Fuiste de mi vecina. Hablé el idioma de mi vecina. Planning outings, I hear people say they’re “just not comfortable taking public transit because of the people using it.” By “the people,” they mean anyone too poor to use Uber or Lyft – my neighbors, as they’re priced out of their homes. Anyone forced into homelessness by landlords taking advantage of the influx of affluent young people coming to the city, anyone hurt by those supporting and choosing to be part of the problem.

San Francisco culture obsesses over hustle and definitions of achievement, creating blinders for “focus.” I watch my coworkers and the people I thought I knew focus to the point of denying that anything bad ever happens here. They shun or punish those that dare try to draw their attention to something outside their minds. In our company’s Human Resources department, I watch as they “solve” problems by silencing employees that raise concerns rather than admitting any harassment incidents occur. The company wins workplace culture awards from a third party reviewer based on an employee survey none of us ever see.

My friends seek out cults of social acceptance on the weekends. Each event they attend promises their problems will go away and solve themselves with enough positivity (and denial). I hear them talk about the latest seminar over a group dinner. Mental illnesses are a mindset problem. Anxiety, depression, or anything else can only be solved by seeking out “your higher power” – the goals you wish to achieve rather than fall for this weakness. They discourage each other from seeking medical help. 

One friend throws himself in front of the commuter train. I imagine him, so positive that the only escape from the pain he felt powerless against was to throw himself in front of that train he shut down for four hours. His mother sobs over thousands of crackling miles of static and telephone lines. His mother lives in Vietnam. I meet her at SFO and pay for the Lyft to her hotel. We sit in silence in the back seat, and she reaches for my hand. “Sean was a good boy,” she whispers to me. I squeeze her hand, feeling the lump in my throat grow and choke out tears. She flies out two days later after collecting his remains and making arrangements for his belongings. I never hear about a funeral.

But the mantras continue for the others: yoga and kale cure everything, including major depressive episodes. Your higher power is what you wish to achieve. That causes people to throw themselves in front of trains. They tell me that I don’t understand. They tell me I’m not eating enough kale. I’m not doing enough yoga. In San Francisco, every conversation leads back to Yoga and Kale. No me gusta col rizada.

From the top of Twin Peaks, I gaze out at the sun reflecting off The Bay and compose my resignation letter. My brain can’t choose to ignore what I see. Closing my eyes, I imagine Sean with his mother – a pair I never saw in life. His beautiful mother, a refugee in America, now, a returned Việt Kiều, lives on without her son. Would my own parents return to the land that they fled? How far does this invisible boundary between water and sky extend? ¿Hasta dónde llegaría para echar agua en el mar?


If this story brought up any difficult feelings for you regarding suicide, please reach out to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call 1-800-273-8255 (USA). They are also available to chat 24/7/365

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story today. If you enjoyed this story, please like, comment, and/or share it. This helps me know which posts my readers enjoy the most and can help me cater content.

If there is anything you see in this story that needs correction, please let me know! I am happy to work on aspects of this story to improve it for my audience.