Friday, July 23, 2010

The story of my epic bike humiliation

Allie Brosh's Bicycle post brought up a resurgence of emotions in me: nostalgia, pain, and hatred for that most secretly malicious of transportation devices, the bicycle. My traumatic bike experience came when I was 19. It was then that I learned the horrible truth about bicycles: given the chance, a bicycle will gleefully turn on you in the most embarrassing way possible. This is their way. Every bike accident I've had has been in front of a public audience, with a high humiliation factor and a low chance of dignity recovery. This one took the cake.

I was home for the summer, and classes at my high school across the neighborhood were still in session, so it seemed like a great time to visit my old English teacher. Hopping on my bike, I thought of how awesome I was gonna be, walking into his classroom like a BAMF college student and regaling him with tales of, like, literacy or something.

Still daydreaming, I decided to cut through the parking lot of the middle school next door to my high school. And still daydreaming, I saw the curb coming up and thought, "I'll just jump it." I don't know why I thought this. I'd never jumped a curb before.

My front tire slammed into the curb, and I went flying over the handlebars. My face hit the sidewalk and skidded, making this horrible grinding sound. When I sat up, blood pouring from the left side of my face, I couldn't see anything out my left eye. I started sobbing hysterically, convinced I'd ground my eye out against the concrete.

A mom waiting nearby in a minivan came over to help and escorted me to the front office of the middle school. Everyone in the office gasped when I entered, making me even more certain that I'd irreparably mangled my face. the rest of my life was going to be like that Mel Gibson movie, and I'd have to find some underappreciated kid to teach stuff to. But what stuff? WHAT STUFF?

A student aid took me to the nurse's office. The nurse sat me down, wiping blood and grit off my face, and said, "What grade are you in, sweetheart?"

"A--a--c-college fruh--freshman."

The sympathetic look fled from her face as she realized I was just a short, wussy pseudo-adult and not some poor child, and she said, "Oh, stop crying. This won't even need stitches."

Fifteen minutes later, fresh from the middle school nurse's office with a bandage over one eyebrow, a black eye already forming, and my dignity severely injured, I skulked into my old English teacher's classroom. "Oh my god," he said. "What happened to you?"

I told him, and he tried really hard to keep from laughing. I did not regale anybody with tales of literacy or something, because every time one of his students wandered in, they immediately asked what happened to me, and I had to repeat the tale while my former teacher tried not to laugh.

On my way out of the building, I caught two middle school pricks trying to steal my bike. I should've let them take it. Haven't used the damn thing since.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Kiah and I moved into our new apartment Saturday. I have no brain or photos of the place (two facts which might be related), so have some doodles about the new place.

Our landlords, who live in the apartment below ours, have a gorgeous German shepherd named Heidi. She's friendly in a voyeuristic sort of way and will follow you in the windows if you're outside the duplex. It doesn't matter if you're juggling furniture or just standing there staring at the concrete - SHE MUST KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
The big disappointment of the move was our couches. Kiah and I had two giant 90's furniture monstrosities that were extremely comfortable and well-loved. They fit in the front door, up the stairwell, around the landing, and up to the inner door to our apartment...and then got stuck between the wall and the door, unable to angle their Sasquatch-proportioned frames far enough to slide inside. So close, and yet, so impossible without a chainsaw.

We set up the couches on the curb and put up a free ad on Craigslist; they were gone in less than three hours. What we're left with is something like this:

There's also a chair with cardboard boxes wedged decoratively around it. We're investigating options for new furniture that doesn't involve cardboard.

Until I figure out whether I'm going to be dropping several hundred dollars on new furniture, I'm trying to avoid spending more money before payday by eating what's already in the fridge. The previous tenants left some stuff in the freezer, and it's not...completely terrible.

One of these days I'll have food and furniture again. Will report back when that happens - or when I have photos, whichever comes first.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Break out the champagne and obnoxious party horns!

I got this news less than twelve hours after the writing contest news, but it was immediately followed by a four-day weekend of con, sleep deprivation, and very little internet access, so this kind of got lost in the chaos, but...


My short story, "No and the Walking House," is now online in the first issue of Kazka Press. They write:
It’s tough to create memorable, believable characters in such a short space, but Nicole Lorenz does so with her No with energy, sharp language, and a strong sense of direction. We’re proud to have her short story, No and the Walking House, as our first published short story here at Kazka Press.
So much flaily hands, you guys. SO MUCH FLAILY HANDS.

I love Kazka's philosophy on drawing out new voices in fantasy. They pitch themselves as a place for "the fantasy author looking for a home," and that idea couldn't be more fitting for this story.

"No" is my favorite piece of short fiction I've ever written. It's about about a little girl whose touch brings well-loved objects to life - and the dangers of leaving such a child in garage sales, artists' living rooms, and mid-renovation 1910's Sears homes. To me, the heart of this story has always been No's struggle to find a home where she's welcome. I never expected this story to be published - I wrote it at the last minute for my Clarion application two years ago, praying it wouldn't suck, and only showed it to friends and family before submitting it to Kazka on a whim. The fact that this is the first story of mine to find a home gives me both the writer happy and the Nicole-sees-symbolism-in-everything happy.

"No" is dedicated to my Aunt Suzy, whose perpetually mid-renovation house was its inspiration and the place where it was written. Credit for publication must be given in part to my friends on the Very Longest Thread on Ravelry, whose loud love and encouragement for this story first made me think it might be worth submitting anywhere.

Read "No and the Walking House" here.