Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Poem on Verse Daily (2020)

I have a poem on Verse Daily which you can read here. It is my third time on the site. Thank you to Verse Daily for featuring this poem, and for their support over the years. You can read more here and here.

Also, I want to say thank you to Daniel Handler, the NEOMFA, and everyone who watched on zoom for such a wonderful event last week

Monday, November 30, 2020

Cyber Monday (For Readers)

Update (12/2/2020):
For some reason, videos are having trouble playing on blogger/blogspot lately. I looked into it and a lot of people are having this problem. All the videos on this blog (at least from the last several years) are also on my website so you can view them there if you would like. Hopefully google will fix this issue with videos on blogs.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Vine Leaves Press Black Friday Online Sale (Nov. 23-27)

Vine Leaves Press has some really great deals happening right now (online, of course), which you can check out here. The book discounts go through Friday, November 27th.

Stay home. Stay safe and healthy. Help other people stay safe and healthy. 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

November 14, 2020 (Various Topics)

This post will be about a mix of things, so it might seem a bit disorganized. 

Last weekend was amazing. Historic. Biden-Harris! It feels like more than a week ago because of the coronavirus surge. I've been thinking about this video. These poems were first published in an online lit mag last Inauguration Day (January 2017), and the video of me reading them is from February 2017. 

You can currently vote in the semifinal round of the Goodreads Choice Awards. If you voted in the opening round, you can vote for a second time. If you missed the first round, you can vote for the first time in this round. I think you can vote until late Sunday night. 

There is a review of Without: Body, Name, Country in Portland Book Review. If you would like to read it, you can check it out here.

I recently read Dark Horses by Susan Mihalic. It was one of the most disturbing books I have ever read in terms of subject matter (abuse). The author kept drawing me into the book by making the esoteric equestrian world (which I know little about) feel familiar and almost homey to me. It is sort of like how I felt about chess when watching The Queen's Gambit. I know nothing about chess, but the way Beth visualizes the chess board above her (often before she falls asleep) from childhood through adulthood, made me think about my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and the process of visualizing dance/choreography/performing and writing/editing (as well as the inner monologue of writing). 

Next up I am going to read The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon.

Over the course of the pandemic so far, I rewatched the entire series of the TV show Episodes. (The BBC/Showtime show.) In terms of pandemic era TV watching, watching this show for a second time cheered me up more than other funny shows.

Somehow, the Vine Leaves Press team found time to make even more videos.

First up...

I'm the frickin' Lorax.

Here's the rest of the videos...

Update (11/15/2020):
Another video...

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Another Video from Vine Leaves Press (& Other Info)

My book, Without: Body, Name, Country, is a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee.

If you would like to order the book from an independent bookstore, check out Bookshop and IndieBound. The UK now has Bookshop too. 

For various ordering options (some indie, some not) for both the paperback and the ebook, check out the Vine Leaves Press site. In the UK, you can also order it through Waterstones.

The vote count is still going in the United States... Go Biden-Harris!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Nomination (Goodreads Choice Awards)

I found out on Tuesday (Oct. 27th) that my book Without: Body, Name, Country is a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee. Thank you so much!

It was a nice surprise in the middle of election anxiety and pandemic anxiety.   

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Thank you!

Thank you for a great release day! If you click on the screenshots, you can view them in a larger size.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Goodreads Giveaway for Without: Body, Name, Country (& Other Updates)

Thank you to everyone who entered the Goodreads giveaway for Without: Body, Name, Country. All 2,922 of you. 

Congrats to the ten winners. The signed copies have been mailed. You should receive your copy well before the official release date (September 15th).

I hope everyone who didn't win a copy knows that the eBook is only $2.99 and the paperback is only $12.99.

I'm relieved to be back online. I recently didn't have power for seven days because of the derecho in the midwest. Because of the pandemic and being severely immunocompromised, I couldn't go to public places that had power restored before I did. It was...rough... At one point during the outage, I had a dream that a group of people I didn't know were forcing me to perform 1930s-esque tap dances to try and win them money. (What?) I'm glad the outage is over. I felt really tired afterward for a few days.

I hope everyone is doing as well as possible right now. I hate knowing that there are so many people who are sick and/or unsafe right now. Some people are living in tents now because of the damage of the derecho. I don't understand billionaires who don't donate significant amounts of their money to people who need help. There needs to be a redistribution of wealth in the United States. 

Hope you have a good weekend.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Lately (Late July 2020)

The screenshots below are from the evening of Friday, July 24th. You can view the images in a larger size if you click on them. I was peeking at my book on different retail sites online.

I peeked again the next day. (Saturday, July 25th in the afternoon.)

I stopped peeking after that. I don't want to be obsessive. I am glad that presales have started.

Some copies of the book arrived, even though the official release date isn't until September 15th. I wasn't expecting to see Without: Body, Name, Country until August, at the earliest, especially because of the pandemic. Vine Leaves Press made the production schedule before the pandemic and it hasn't been delayed at all. I'm really happy about the book.

I feel like I'm in a daze. Three books. Two nephews. A pandemic. Being severely immunocompromised during a pandemic. 

I'm shocked by the number of deaths. Shocked by people who don't take it seriously. Upset that millions of people could be evicted. Upset about the extreme cruelty of the GOP. I feel sick about what the United States has become.

While trying to write this post, I keep finding myself staring off into space. I listen to the sound of a box fan as if it will tell me the right thing to say.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Thursday, July 16, 2020

New Book Available for Pre-Order & New Poems Out

You can now order Without: Body, Name, Country! The book and the eBook can be ordered from various places (IndieBound, Amazon, iBooks, etc.). You can read more about the book here and here. I'm excited.

I have new poems published in Mayday Magazine which you can read online. Mayday Magazine, which is published by New American Press, accepted these poems a long time ago and then their site was under a redesign before the poems were published. I think I wrote "Instagram Envy" in 2017. "Sasha Velour as Joan of Arc" was written either toward the very end of 2016 or very early in 2017. Similar versions of these poems are in the new book. 

I'm currently catching up on the new season of You Must Remember This. The podcast's current season is "Polly Platt, The Invisible Woman." I finished the fourth episode last night. When I'm all caught up, I think I'm going to read Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh.

I took a break from baking. Then this happened...

I feel like I'm forgetting something. Lately, I feel like that a lot. I think it might be my brain trying to constantly remind me that there is a pandemic and I'm immunocompromised. As if I could forget. 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

June 2020

I was going to blog earlier this month, but like many people, I've been upset about the state of the world, especially in the U.S.

So before I share any updates about my life, I want to say...

Black lives matter.

Trans women are women.

The pandemic is far from over, especially in the United States.


I know Joe Biden is not as progressive as many of us would like, but I don't understand how anyone could possibly vote for someone else. People who do not vote for Biden in November will be directly attempting to sabotage the country, whether they understand this or not. All of the heartbreaking inequality in the U.S. will not improve with more years of Trump. That is the mildest way I can put it.

Some good things are happening in the world. On Friday, June 26th, my nephew Grant was born! I have two nephews now. Elliott, Grant's older brother, will turn four in August. It's crazy (in a good way) that my brother now has two children.

Later this summer, my new book will be available for pre-order. I will keep you posted. (Release date: September 15th) Thank you so much to Mark Leidner, Shaindel Beers, Anne Champion, and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) for writing about the book!

"Meg Johnson’s third book of poems is a fierce, playful, unapologetic, and morally complex examination of life. The poems range from breezy to formally inventive, from serious-hilarious soliloquies about the vagaries of identity to psychologically insightful reports on the author’s own harrowing journey through womanhood and through illness. Without: Body, Name, Country is a deeply personal, brazenly satirical, and subtly political call to awakening. Those who enjoy memoir and poetry will find both forms seamlessly and searingly interwoven here."   —Mark Leidner

"Without: Body, Name, Country is a blazing manifesta for our current world. Meg Johnson battles “the beast of chronic pain,” and navigates her survival from a sometimes-fatal disease with a ferocity that has to be read to be believed. “Post images of empty landscapes as / if no one has survived,” one poem demands of the reader. But these poems will survive, long after we are gone, and I, for one, feel lucky to have shared the earth with them."   —Shaindel Beers  

"To enter Meg Johnson’s poems in Without: Body, Name, Country is to enter a spiral staircase in a tower full of fun house mirrors: the language distorts the familiar into new but recognizable realities, sometimes wryly hilarious, sometimes hauntingly unsettling. The images in these poems will catch you like a trapeze artist, bending and contorting in wondrous ways. The poems explore the subject of girlhood: the speaker “is forever entering a room. Inhaling the cusp of capture.” In prose poems and free verse, Johnson excavates the topography of the body, of illness and anxiety, of politics and patriarchy, lamenting, “I guess I was supposed to be flattered because people said I was pretty. But it felt like a liability to me.” This liability of living in a body, gendered, fertilizes the landscape of all the imagery. Read this collection and marvel as different parts of you are “lighting up like a pin ball machine.”"  —Anne Champion 

“I’ve known Meg Johnson’s work for a few years, but not until now did I realize she’s been sitting on a rickety folding chair in a corner of my buzzy brain, transcribing the flukey rants and loopy ferocities that all of us—all of us—are feeling right now slash all the time. Pick up this book and eat it, I mean love it, I mean eat it.”  —Daniel Handler 

In early to mid June (somewhere around there), I wrapped up my baking spree. Here are the rest of my cookie pictures.

Yesterday I finished reading Followers by Megan Angelo. I would say it is sort of a dystopia. Disturbing things happen, but there are some darkly funny moments in the book. Sadly, reading this book during a pandemic with an awareness of real life violence makes the book seem less scary than it probably is. It held my interest though, and I'll read any books that Angelo publishes in the future. 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Reading, Baking, Stressing, Etc. (Pandemic/Coronavirus/Covid-19/Social Distancing)

Welcome to what will likely be a very disjointed blog post. I decided to put a bunch of stuff in one post instead of a series of short posts. I'm trying to save my concentration for what's most important, but still want to let people know I'm doing okay. 

Obviously as an immunocompromised person, this is a very stressful situation. I've had autoimmune issues since I was a kid. I think most people are really stressed. If a person isn't feeling freaked out right now, they probably need to be educated about what is at stake.

I've been social distancing since early March. My forthcoming book is still on schedule to be released in September. In February, I answered some questions for Tinderbox Poetry Journal which you can read here. I'm glad the word is getting out about the book.

Anyway, now on to more frivolous topics. I didn't wear makeup for a full eight weeks, so one of the last days in April, I put some on and took some selfies for the first time in months.

Are we done with photos yet?

Are we?

I recognize myself the most in the blurry photos.

(And semi-blurry.)

Now I'm back to going makeup-free. I'm a couple weeks in. I'll see how long I go again without it.

Here I am a few days or so before those photos were taken (late April) not wearing any makeup. My hair is getting really long. This is my natural hair color.

I was looking at old pictures recently. I had no idea my highlights were so bright in the spring of 2014.

Lately I've been reading news articles even more than usual (like everyone else), and short pieces like individual essays and poems. My concentration hasn't been at its best for reading longer works. Right now I'm reading Birds of America by Lorrie Moore. 

In mid-March, I read The Body Double by Emily Beyda. It's a fast read. It is a book that makes sense to read while social distancing. There are very few characters in the book. The main character is actually in isolation for most of the book, only seeing one other person on a regular basis. I'm not sure how I would have responded to this book if I hadn't read it during a period of quarantine. With some celebrities being tone-deaf during the pandemic, the book's focus on the hollowness of image was satisfying.

Fairly early in The Body Double, [WARNING: SPOILER ALERT] it seems obvious that the real Rosanna is dead. I don't know if this was an intentional choice by the author or not. Knowing this didn't ruin the book for me because the main character doesn't know. Or maybe she is just in denial until the final moments of the book. If you like ambiguity in stories, you might like this book. It was interesting to see how the author maneuvered the writing around some of the bold plot and character choices. 

There are a bunch of books I want to read this summer, but my notes are all over the place. I'll try to post what I've jotted down another time. 

I've been baking a lot the last ten weeks. 

Chocolate chip cookies (milk chocolate chips)

Chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips

Peanut butter cookies with milk chocolate chips

 Peanut butter cookies with semi-sweet chocolate baking chips

Chocolate cookies with semi-sweet chocolate baking chips

Peanut butter cookies with extra peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar

I also made brownies with caramel chips on top and brownies with milk chocolate chips on top, but the pictures of the brownies weren't as cute as the pictures of the cookies. 

I have some really adorable photos of my three year old nephew eating one of my chocolate cookies (and wearing a teeny tiny Prairie Lights shirt). I thought about posting them, but I don't want to post too many pictures of him online. I guess I would rather be an overprotective auntie than not protective enough.

I've been watching Mrs. America on Hulu. I really like Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem. I wish the show was centered around Steinem instead of Phyllis Schlafly. I like the contrast, and obviously Cate Blanchett is an amazing chameleon as a performer, but it makes me think about the Schlafly types we are still dealing with in 2020. A pie in the face is not enough.

Last, but not least... Something new (sort of) from Dressing Room Poetry Journal. It's a flashback issue with poems to read while social distancing. It consists of twelve poems from various issues and you can read it here. You can read Dressing Room Poetry Journal on any device, but it is best viewed on a computer.