Three crumpled up yellow pieces of paper with some visible but illegible writing, in a waste basket.

I’m Not Overreacting, I’m Over-Feeling!

I’d received a rejection letter just minutes earlier. This demonstrated that I was an utter failure and needed to move on—maybe take up candle-making and open an Etsy store or finally veganize all my grandmother’s recipes or literally anything that didn’t require putting words on a page. Almost instantly, responses began pinging my phone and inbox. Most went something like this: “You’re overreacting. Rejection’s part of being a writer.”

Amber bottle with ivy plant in front of a window against a mostly dark background.

Devil’s Ivy

I’m not good at growing things. My tomato plants always wither and brown. One of the apples became quarter-sized until it shriveled and died, and the guava, fig, and pomegranate lost the few flowers they had.
It’s my fault. I like the idea of plants, but it’s hard to maintain a routine. I forget to water, rarely prune or fertilize.

Jason Masino leaning against a wall

Take This to the Pharmacy

Rx:

men’s daily multivitamin/one per day in the morning

Zoloft/100 mg per day in the morning, watch for signs of hypomania

Atenolol/50 mg per day, perhaps at night, for blood pressure

monthly massage membership: $60/one hour session, once a month

I’ve Stayed in the Front Yard

My father never drank except at Christmastime, I’ve
never seen a brown bottle drain until I was seven, stayed
at my grandmother’s house and knew the skank smell of alcohol, in
winter where cigarette smoke looks ghostly, the
ash tray a black patch of night, he sat on the steps in front