My pledge.


I’m thinking a lot about protest as a genre of art.

I kept wanting to do big sweeping gestures, like sit in the street in front of motorcades. (And yet may.) But then I was thinking about morning pages. I write at least a page, no matter how I’m feeling or where I am. Each entry is small, but added up, it’s the foundation and engine of my entire practice.

So I thought I could do a similar thing with protest: to just begin by writing down, every day, “I do not consent to this presidency,” and then posting it on Instagram and Twitter. (I use the word “consent” quite deliberately.) And I pledge that this will be my daily practice until he is not elected to office nor in office. I understand that may be years. But it’s the least I can do. It’s the least I NEED to do, to go forward, and I’m hoping that it will add up in some way I can’t yet see.

Anyone who wants to join, feel free, but no need. I hope all of us keep thinking about how to respond in our own ways.


LAST DAY to get 20% off and free shipping on illuminated letter prints!

TUSRET.COM. Discount code: “arbol.” Go get ’em!

But also, someone asked me: “Why are your art prints so expensive?” (I.e., $99 regular, $79 discounted.) GOOD QUESTION, and I’d wonder the same in your place. Here’s the quick answer: because I print them using the highest-quality process money can buy, all but indistinguishable from the original, made by hand at the family-owned Arete Frame Gallery in Durham. It costs me $40 to make, package, and ship each print (and it costs me much more for framed prints). Each of the letters took hours of work using the best art supplies available (Strathmore paper and Copic markers, which go for $350 a box). So? That’s why they’re expensive. In other words, in fine art terms, they’re actually…not that expensive 🙂

Again, I wouldn’t have known that either before I got into the business end of things, but there’s the answer. And now: IT IS THE LAST LAST LAST DAY TO GET 20% OFF AND FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ILLUMINATED LETTER PRINTS! They will make the PERFECT, unique, lovely holiday gift! Go to and use the discount code “arbol” at checkout. And thanks.❤


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SALE. Of my ART. 20% off and FREE SHIPPING.


Go to and apply the code “arbol” at checkout. You’ll get 20% off all of my illuminated letter prints—framed OR unframed—plus free shipping, only for the next four days. I’m biased, maybe, but they pretty much make the PERFECT GIFT. And it’s not just hustling for the sake of hustling—I’m trying to raise money to finish my novel in the new year, which is, among other things, an answer to the awfulness of the election. So, purchase for a purpose!

Here is how they look framed, too:


Go get ’em!, checkout code “arbol.”


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One species of fury.

This isn’t meant to be a polished post. This is meant to record one of the many threads of fury and grief I feel in the wake of this election. It’s all I know how to do.

This election result tells me: “It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are. It doesn’t matter how hard you work. It doesn’t matter how smartly you play every move. You, as a woman, are not to be trusted.”

When submitting my novel trilogy this past summer, the reply we got from publishers over and over was, “This is brilliant, but we can’t commit until we see the whole thing.”

How many men in my position have heard only the first part of that sentence, and not the second?

I’m told, “Oh, it’s because Patrick Rothfuss and George R. R. Martin are taking such a long time with their books. Publishers are afraid to commit.”

Didn’t Suzanne Collins deliver all three books on time? Didn’t J.K. Rowling deliver seven? 

We’re told, “There’s just something I can’t quite trust or like or know or believe about Hillary, though I can’t exactly say what it is.”

She was the most brilliant and qualified candidate for President in our nation’s history.

This is one message of this election, among many: that because I’m a woman, I will never be judged better than even the worst man.

So why even try.

I do not consent to this presidency. 

Trigger warning: sexual assault.




This morning, woken by another anxiety attack, I texted my friend: “I’m so scared. This election feels like a sexual assault. I said no, over and over, but now it’s coming anyway, and I just have to wait until it’s over.”

Later at my desk, I had a vision of a protest: that on Inauguration Day, a hundred thousand women and men will sit down cross-legged in the streets of Washington, D.C., saying one simple thing over and over: “I do not consent.” And we will not move until removed by force. And then more of us will take their places. And the presidential motorcade will have to stall there indefinitely, hearing us say it over and over, “I do not consent.”

I’ve heard people say, Well, let’s see what he does or What’s the worst he can do. But he’s different from Bush or McCain or Romney. He is a sociopathic sexual predator. I believe nothing can go back to normal. I believe this man–whose name I can’t even say or write–is an existential threat to the country and to the planet. I believe he is the closest thing to pure evil I have ever witnessed in my life. 

I believe an unimaginable amount of human suffering will result from Tuesday’s election, and that it’s our moral duty to limit it.

I don’t yet know how. Except to say over and over, “I do not consent.”

A comment that really hurt.

I’ve been avoiding the blog. Even though there are 4,000 of you reading. And last night, driving home from my Lyft shift, I finally realized why: because of a comment I got here recently. To paraphrase, it said: “I’ve really valued your posts in the past, but now, you’re talking too much about your Patreon. It’s getting tiresome. If you keep doing this, I’m just going to look elsewhere for content. Just thought I’d be honest.”

It hurt a lot, so I deleted it quickly before it could hurt more, but hey, it did its damage. So thanks, commenter, you knew exactly how to get to me—by basically saying that you felt entitled to free work from me at a time when I was staying home eating nothing but grits to get by. Cool. Thanks.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know the whole story of my last few months, but for those of you who don’t, it’s here. The good news is, I’m in a better situation now specifically because I made changes in the way I valued my work, and because my community responded. And I’m not going to apologize for that. Or for posting about my Patreon. It is literally my job.

For years, I could afford to write essays for free on this blog, because my money was coming from somewhere else. In the future, when my basic needs are met through Patreon, commissions, and other sources, and I can afford to occasionally write for free, I definitely want to! On this blog! About all kinds of things! But right now, I can’t. Right now, I’m working primarily for the people who are paying me—my patrons on Patreon—and they’re getting my thoughts and essays and stories and letters and pictures and travelogues and videos and audiobooks and they’re all REALLY REALLY GOOD. As good as anything you’ve ever read here.

So if you can afford to pledge just $1 a month for all that content? Go here! If you can’t, I understand!, and I’ll write here whenever I can afford to. But if you want to write a comment shaming me for trying to make a living from my work, don’t. I’ll delete it. And this time, I won’t feel bad about it.



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In praise of freebleeding.


Photo source: The Independent.

When I read about badass businesswoman-artist-musician Kiran Gandhi running the London Marathon without a tampon, I was like, “Oh! You can do that?”

And ever since, during my period, I just sit on dark towels, and it is the loveliest thing.

I find that it “works” even though I’m a really heavy bleeder. That most of the blood just comes out when I go to the bathroom anyway. That I really dig not having to stick anything up inside myself, especially when they’re expensive (tampons) or give me yeast infections (Divacup). I just get to let my body work the way it’s designed to work.

Granted, I’m at home most of the time, so it’s not like I’m risking a lot of social stigma here. And I do still wear a tampon when I go to the gym. But when the entirety of the “feminine supplies” industry is built on the assumption that there’s something inherently wrong with our bodies, I notice that freebleeding is just another, tiny, deeply satisfying way to say, “No there’s not.”



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