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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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Oh Pioneer!

Today I was able to get a ride into with two of the other fellows, great women—one a historian and the other a filmmaker/screenwriter—into Clayton, Georgia, a town riddled with roadside antique stands, farmer's markets, and, most importantly, a grocery store that sells liquor. In addition to some rather sporadic grocery choices (Pop-Tarts, salami), I picked up a jar of wildflower honey from one of the local farmer's markets, a purchase I have been looking forward to my whole time here. I had hoped to buy a slightly different, more exotic honey, but the shop owner assured me that wildflower would be the most neutral honey if I was only drinking tea. Which I do constantly here. Four, five, six cups of green tea a day, thrice-used teabags. (When I return home I will not have had soda for almost two weeks.)

I returned to the studio to find a wasp in the kitchen. I briefly considered catching it humanely in a glass or a towel, but in my northeasterner panic I grabbed the can of wasp and hornet spray and sprayed it at the wasp on the window inside the house like you are not supposed to. It slipped and slided along the window pane until I was able to assist it out the door (it literally walked out, drunkenly, and proceeded to walk along the window screens outside). I feel bad because it did not want anything to do with me, just to get out (how the hell did it get in? This makes me nervous), and here I have assaulted it with poisons. I don't even know if it died. It just sort of went on its way and disappeared.

After washing the windows and airing out the kitchen, I had dinner. But if it didn't kill the wasp on contact like it was supposed to, I guest the wasp and hornet spray won't kill me.

The novel is almost finished. I'm having trouble completing these last couple of chapters—mostly research-related dead ends, but also a sadness that is forcing me to distraction. Didn't Truman Capote say something about finishing a novel is like taking your child out in the back yard and shooting it?

It least it will have the wasp for company.