Beautiful photos of Iceland by my friend Andy Lee. See more of them here, and see them in person at Atlanta’s One Twelve Gallery until October 10. Beautiful photos of Iceland by my friend Andy Lee. See more of them here, and see them in person at Atlanta’s One Twelve Gallery until October 10. Beautiful photos of Iceland by my friend Andy Lee. See more of them here, and see them in person at Atlanta’s One Twelve Gallery until October 10.

Beautiful photos of Iceland by my friend Andy Lee. See more of them here, and see them in person at Atlanta’s One Twelve Gallery until October 10.

Last night was so fun and Brooke Hatfield is like a Flannery-level goddess and if you’re at the Atlanta Zine Fest this weekend you should get yourself one of these beauts. Art by Natalie Nelson and Emily Wallace and Alvin Diec and so many other wonderful humans!



I’m releasing a zine of Flannery O’Connor portraits at the Atlanta Zine Fest next month! And we’re having a release party on June 12 at Mint Gallery!

“Scale Highly Eccentric: A Zine of Flannery O’Connor Portraits” consists of portraits by 14 artists, whose mediums include everything from acrylic to cross stitch to custard. Basically, this is the Ocean’s 11 of Flannery O’Connor portrait zines, and a portion of the profits will benefit the Flannery O’Connor – Andalusia Foundation, Inc.

Ashley Anderson
Rebecca Bowen
Jenifer Carter
Alvin Diec
Travis Ekmark
Christine Ernest
Brooke Hatfield
Yoonhwa Jang
Tori LaConsay 
Elisabeth McNair
Dan Murdoch
Natalie Nelson
Emily Wallace
Lydia Walls

We’re celebrating with a profoundly excellent group of readers who will fill your ears with tales of ladies and toughness as we celebrate a Georgia girl who remains one of literature’s most acclaimed writers.

Jolisa Brown
Carleigh Knight
Rachael Maddux
Kay Powell
Bobbin Wages

Admission is FREE. Doors are at 7:30 p.m, and the show starts promptly at 8 p.m. This is going to be the Flannery O’Connor portrait zine event of the season! 

This is such a great thing my great friend Brooke has put together and I am so excited to be reading at the release party. Y’all come out and see us!

Downtown Atlanta, Monday morning.

This guy came to live with Joe and me on Friday. We named him Charles Darwin but we’re mostly calling him Charlie, or Charlie D or Charlie Buddy or Charlie Butters or CHAAAHHLES or Charlesworth or Charliemange and, at least once, Charlene. Also, lots of singing, lots of horrible nonsense and strangely-pitched vocalizations. I’ve basically lost my mind. I am so in love with this little dude and feeling very woo-woo about the whole adoption experience. It has been weirdly meaningful and profound for something—human acquiring canine companion—that has been going for just about all of human-time. It feels somehow both “duh, yawn” and weirdly impossible until it happens to you and then it’s this earth-shattering, brain-exploding, Instagram-clogging EVENT. I would say “kind of like having a baby” but that seems both tempting fate AND the ire of actual parents of actual babies and those are things I would like to avoid right now, mostly because I am too busy cuddling this freckled Charlie who snoozes with his eyes rolled back into his skull but not fully closed, like a little fur-demon, like he’s here for my soul, and he might be.

When Joe and I started talking about adopting a dog a couple friends said, “Oh, when you find the right one, you’ll know, you’ll have a MOMENT,” and I wanted that to be true but I wasn’t counting on it. But then I met this guy. On Monday Joe and I decided that we would go to Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption on Saturday, and it seemed like a reasonable plan at the time, but by Wednesday I had fallen in love with a few from the shelter’s website and that afternoon felt a very strong and certain pull to go over there and see what was what, which sounded crazy but didn’t feel crazy, so I did. I met Ally McBeagle and Clancy and Jim and Mica and they were all very sweet and I began to think this would be harder than I expected, that there was no way we could pick out a dog to be our dog when there was a whole shelter, a whole world, full of dogs that we could love just enough.

But then there was this little scruffmonster. He had just been brought in Wednesday morning and wasn’t on the website, wasn’t fixed, wouldn’t be able to go home with anyone until at least Friday. The shelter had named him Frodo but I knew as soon as I met him that he would not be called Frodo for long because he was going to be our dog and our dog would absolutely not be called Frodo. When they brought him to me I think I said “Oh no,” because I knew he was it and it was him and because I also knew there was no way to guarantee that no one would come get him first before Joe and I could get over there on Saturday and my whole life felt suddenly on the verge of complete emotional ruination. In other words, I fell in deep stupid love. I KNEW. And Joe knew soon as I played the video of me saying, “You wanna be my buddy?” and him jumping up to put his two little freckled paws on my knees. We knew. We had the dang MOMENT. It’s real. Or maybe it’s not, but anyway, we had one.

The Dog Formerly Known As Frodo got fixed on Thursday and wasn’t available to adopt until Friday, and we couldn’t put a hold on him, and I was so afraid someone would get to him first and break my heart into a thousand little dogless pieces, so Joe and I cut out early from work on Friday, drove out to Smyrna and made him ours. I’m not sure anyone else even knew he was there. They listed him on the website about 20 minutes before we got there, when we were already on the way. We drove back across town in Friday rush-hour traffic with him sitting in my lap. When we got to the last big intersection before the turnoff to our house, he stood up and strained forward, sniffing around, like he knew. Did he know? Probably not, but maybe.

The first night and day he did a lot of looking around at us like, “OK, what’s the catch?” but I think now he’s starting to understand that even when we leave we are always coming back. He doesn’t know I was also feeling like there might be a catch, like we were suddenly going to see very clearly why whoever had him before no longer wanted him. He’s slept in at least three different crates over the last week, in three different cities, and who knows what before then. I didn’t think I would be so compelled by the mystery of his previous life. We know nothing about where he was before except for somewhere up around Gordon County in a home with a doorbell—his first night here, when a doorbell rang on TV, he sat up and looked up at our door for a long time. We have no doorbell. Who knows what else we have, or don’t have, that wherever he came from had, or didn’t.

Someone in his former life seems to have housebroken him, at least, so thank you for that, otherwise inexplicable person. Joe and I went out today and left him at home for the first time, just for a couple hours, and the whole time I kept checking my phone like maybe he was gonna text me. 





Meanwhile, a few of the dogs I met on Wednesday that were Not Charlie are still looking for homesClancy, Jim and Mica are all sweet sweet sweet little goobers and I feel oddly attached to them and keep checking the website to see if they’ve been scooped up yet. I want to be a dog matchmaker and find them all homes but I’m too busy rewriting every pop hit of the last 50 years to be about Charles Darwin the wonder schneagle (?!). But if you’re in the Atlanta area and looking to adopt a dog (or a cat), I really can’t say enough wonderful things about APRA. Every human we encountered there was extraordinarily sweet and helpful, the facilities are bright and nice and clean and well-taken care of, and they seem to give all the buddies as much love as they can, but you can give them MORE! Plus you can blame your farts on them, and they can’t say a thing. Sorry, Charlie.

Snow in the South

Snow in the South happens in the night every three or so years, maybe once out of every five times it’s called for and rarely ever lives up to the panic its forecast usually inspires. Grocery stores are sacked for milk and bread and eggs as if doing so will appease some vengeful god, and usually it seems to work. We wake up, there’s white stuff on the ground, by noon the sun is out and it’s 45 degrees and the next day we’re shedding our sweaters at noon again. Of course a lot of idiocy transpires in the meantime because SNOW IS MAGIC especially when you’re never sure when it’s coming again. But until it’s on the ground there is a very real feeling it will not ever be on the ground.

At least this is how it was where I grew up in Tennessee and in Atlanta where I live now, where yesterday hundreds of kids and teachers got trapped in schools and thousands of motorists got stuck on roads and interstates as an otherwise seemingly routine snowstorm (yes, snowstorm! it was a storm and it was snow and we call this a snowstorm) dropped down over the city. Of course to those on the outside, especially to the northeast region of the outside, this is just laughable dogpatch weaksauce (snowshaming, it’s real!). And to many inside the ice-crust bubble there is a lot of (mostly warranted, I think) anger about insufficient infrastructure and transportation policy and government-directed preparedness, etc etc. But there’s a particular psychological element here that, while I don’t think it should bear responsibility for how all this went down, is worth considering anyway, as a factor.

Even yesterday when the first flakes were coming down (before they landed, half-melted, then immediately froze again) I was like, “Yeah, OK, this is happening, but it’s not really happening, nothing is going to be happening.” (If you, like me, are a certain kind of snow-appreciating person in the South there is a real element of heart-guarding in all this—the disappointment from unwarranted snow excitement buildup can be stupidly crushing!) I left work early but mostly because I was psyched about picking up some sandwiches and working from home the rest of the afternoon, and I was worried only because I know how people down here get when there is white stuff in the air, even just a little. I was more worried about how people would react to the nonevent than I was about the possibility of the nonevent actually being an event.

A week or two ago, one Sunday night when “snow” was “vaguely” in the “forecast” for Monday, I was out at Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market, looking for a can of chickpeas, and the canned food aisle had been totally decimated; when I heard other customers muttering about the weather being on the way, I got a little panicked and grabbed a few cartons of soup, just in case. This time I did nothing—fool me once, etc. If I’d been even slightly less eye-rolly yesterday, I might still be out in my car somewhere. Many people still are. What a mess. Stay safe, everybody. Except you snowshamers—I hope each of you bust your coccyx on black ice in front of a large crowd of people who you were desperately hoping to impress, and then they all just laugh at you and leave you there weeping.

Avondale Station, last night.

Barry Manilow. Barry Manilow! When I told my mother-in-law that I was going to interview him, she shrieked. I am now considering making all career choices henceforth based on what will make my mother-in-law shriek. In the meantime, my story/Q&A—with Manilow and his long long longtime songwriting partner Bruce Sussman about the musical they wrote years ago, which is finally getting properly premiered at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater next month—is in the September issue of Atlanta magazine and online right here. It’s very pink.

In the August issue of Atlanta, I’m all up in a Jamie Allen and Brooke Hatfield sandwich: We were each dispatched to go on a road trip to visit some Georgia small towns, north middle and south, and I got middle. I took my mom. We touched many antiques that we did not buy and ate pie that I sometimes still think about. You can read the story in the for real real print magazine or the 99¢ digital edition right here.


will you be in or near atlanta next thursday? you should come see me and a bunch of awesome people read words written by middle schoolers at the second annual vouched books birthday party!

there’s also a raffle and a silent auction featuring a VERY SPECIAL PIECE OF ART i made that was also DELICIOUS until i ate so much i EXPERIENCED SOME VERY REAL MALAISE. 

come support vouched, the wren’s nest publishing company, and my decision to use ham as an artistic medium!

I have seen a grainy iPhone photo of Brooke’s raffle art and it is indeed SO special, y’all. I will also be reading something written by a mega-smart and wonderful middle-school writer at this thing and believe that it will be a really great way to spend a Thursday night!

Plants and weather, yesterday and today. Plants and weather, yesterday and today.

Plants and weather, yesterday and today.

In the June issue of Atlanta, I’ve got an essay about the gross, harrowing, annoying, weirdly life-expanding and -affirming experience of riding MARTA, Atlanta’s beleaguered transit system. Kendrick Brinson took the photo; we had adventures! Also, I need to stand up straight, Jesus.

"We will be moving momentarily."

On MARTA this morning, in rapid succession

— A young man offered a young woman his seat (she declined).

— An older man thanked the young man for offering his seat to the young woman.

— Another young man complimented another young woman on her shoes.

— I braced myself for some shitty counterbalance, but nothing came.