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“Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one.” – Ploughshares


“Jen is an astonishingly sensitive writer.” – HTML Giant


“Jen Michalski excels in subtlety that is made possible by her nuanced understanding of voice.” – The Rumpus


“Jen is a writerly heavyweight.” – Nate Brown, American Short Fiction


“We’re lucky to have Michalski before the rest of the world discovers her. But they will.” – Baltimore City Paper

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The Neverending Story


My insomnia appears to be creeping back. I suppose it's fueled by stress. I've been overwhelmed at work for as long as I can remember, although I don't want to complain because times are tough for others and easily could be just as tough for me at any time, since I'm a freelance editor. Still, I lie awake at night and do pseudo math, fake equations running through my head that I try to solve. Or I try to edit medical papers, or revise my novel, even as I know I will forget mostly everything that pours through my circuits when sleep comes in the late morning.

I'm mostly fascinated by memory. I think about the porch of my grandparent's old house, where I live. The house is maybe sixty years old, not old at all, and only they have lived in it. Its memories are all theirs. I think about how their miniature schnauzer used to prance the porch in excitement when we came over as kids. I stare at those bricks, that mortar, now, and can't believe that thirty years ago that dog was alive and we were alive and did it mean anything, really. This memory that I cannot prove existed because I remember it, and I don't know why my brain remembers Ginger the schnauzer, the heft of her dry, curly hair, but not my password for my online banking. I look through the storage downstairs at my grandparents' things and they lived here, too, but I don't understand what it means to me. Or what my living here will mean to the next inhabitant, what I will leave behind.

I think about an older woman I used to work with fifteen years ago and wonder whether she's dead.

I think about catdog: how did catdog go to the bathroom?