1. How You Know

    It’s that deep exhale
    that makes you realize
    you’d been holding your breath
    in some subconscious,
    protective measure.

    It’s finding out you pronounced
    that word wrong,
    and have been for years —
    that sense of relief
    ‘cause now you know.

    Now you know.

    How you repeat it
    over and over again —
    how you gulp air
    with renewed appreciation
    for life and all it means.

    That’s how it feels
    to love you. That’s how
    it feels — to know.

    © 2014 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

  2. Anatomy of a Tumblr Romance

    It started innocently enough — he followed her, or she followed him. Maybe it was a particular post that drew one to the other, or perhaps something as simple as a compelling icon or a selfie that seemed to speak volumes. For a time that could have been days or weeks or even months, there was the following. At some point the following became mutual.

    Perhaps they exchanged a message, or two, or even a dozen — but those messages weren’t anything extraordinary. “Thanks for the follow,” she said; “My pleasure,” he replied.

    And so it went on, for days or weeks or even months, until something happened — something microscopic, something no outsider would notice — and there was a shift. He started to look at her in a different way, or vice versa. A bubble of interest burst through the surface and transmogrified into a very blushing and romantic form of hope.

    Of course, everything continued just as it had before. They still followed. They maybe hit that little heart a little more on each others’ posts. They searched for things to say to each other. They worried that they were saying too much, that they would come across as needy or clinging. They worried that they were saying too little. Each wondered what the other thought, but didn’t want to disturb the delicate balance by mentioning it.

    But eventually, one of them did mention it. Maybe it was a throwaway comment in a message about something else entirely, or perhaps it was as simple as a flirtatious and open-ended reply to a post. You can ask them if you want — neither will remember. It’s impossible to pinpoint the precise moment it happened.

    It just did.

    Before long, they begin infiltrating each others’ posts in a less subtle way. People that follow both (or one) of them become aware that something’s going on. Maybe they say something, or maybe they don’t — but they know. And maybe she begins to notice that most of the things she writes or reblogs are directed toward him, or perhaps he finds himself drawn to things he thinks she’d like.

    They find their every thought consumed by this other, this person who, of course, lives either far away, very very far away, or somewhere in between. “You are my first thought when I wake,” he says; “You are my last thought before I fall asleep,” she replies. The rest of the world, and the people and things that occupy it, become irrelevant and inconsequential.

    They start to make plans. Maybe they’ll meet on some neutral middle ground and split the difference, or perhaps he’ll come to her (or she to him). They start saving, every spare cent going to make flesh of the abstract. They’ve exchanged phone numbers, they video chat on Skype, but they can’t bear another moment without the ability to make a mental experience tactile.

    Finally, it happens. They are standing before one another, and all the words they planned to say become ashes flicked out car windows on highways. “You’re real,” she says; “So are you,” he replies.

    And so, it begins.

    © 2014 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

  3. Similes

    I want to say he fell
    in love with me like ….

    it was metaphorical.

    There’s nothing else
    to say about someone
    who saw you at your worst
    and didn’t shy from more.

    There’s something else,
    something beautiful in the way
    he says my name
    like no one else does.

    I want to say he smiles
    at me like …

    it is metaphorical.

    © 2014 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

  4. How About No?

    I’m skimming writing gigs on Craig’s List. I do this occasionally for shits and giggles — or more accurately, for giggling at little shits. Tonight was one such occasion — a call for comedic/creative writers that ended with the following statement:

    If you write and are funny and creative, send me your funniest/best material and I will get back to you promptly. Thank you.

    I don’t think I need to explicate further the various ways this is pretty much the most blatant attempt to steal ever.

    Incidentally, in the “compensation” field, this charming gent wrote “if this all works out, will be payed [sic] later on.”

  5. Sometimes it’s all about my comfort and fuck your aesthetic. Legwarmers and Chucks. I do what I want.

    Sometimes it’s all about my comfort and fuck your aesthetic. Legwarmers and Chucks. I do what I want.

  6. Starshine

    Who are we, love, and where
    are we headed? When
    night descends, will we transcend
    the omniscience of reflection
    to become

    what we intend? Will sharper focus
    bring us closer together? Will
    sharper focus bring us closer,
    together. Though weary hearts
    and wary feet

    may tarry through the dreck
    and fodder, we press solid —
    both forward, and into,
    each other. Knowing love
    never falls short

    of becoming what, and who
    we’re meant to be.

    © 2014 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

  7. Status Update (Godalming)

    I’ve come to the point now where I feel it necessary to mention this. Awhile ago, I quietly started a series, Godalming. I didn’t announce it, I didn’t talk about it at all really aside from simply posting the pieces.

    Then life happened. I haven’t written anything for the series in about a couple weeks, although I have at least a dozen serial posts outlined. Initially I wasn’t writing it because I wasn’t in the headspace to write it, due to loss. Then, because I also wasn’t really in the headspace to do anything else, I got swamped with work since I’d taken a few days off of everything to deal with that loss. So.

    For the half-dozen or so of you who are really keen on the series and waiting with bated breath for the next chapter (I feel you, especially knowing my own penchant for leaving things hanging off a cliff) — the next chapter should be ready in the next week or so.

    After that, I’m going to set them up on a regular schedule (which I probably should have done from the first, but I was excited about it). I don’t plan on letting you know what that schedule is (unless you ask me privately, in which case I probably will tell you), because I don’t like to intrude on the story. But I did think in this case it was warranted.

  8. I don’t know why my hair decided to fade from that dark burgundy to this lavender-ish color in less than a month, but I’m alright with it. Hi.

    I don’t know why my hair decided to fade from that dark burgundy to this lavender-ish color in less than a month, but I’m alright with it. Hi.

  9. History is a burden. Stories make us fly.
    Robin Hood, in Dr. Who, Robot of Sherwood
  10. The Art Lesson (Short Story by Jen Mueller)



    I was grabbing some lunch and checking messages on my phone when I looked up and saw her. Just two tables down from me, a red ribbon holding her blonde hair back from her face but not from her shoulder. It spilled over, getting in the way of whatever she was feverishly working on. She brushed it back and sighed, her brow far more knitted and serious in concentration than that of the typical little girl her age — or what I assumed to be her age. I’m terrible at guessing ages, particularly of children — if you ask me, they’re either around four or around ten. I was an only child, and I kept to myself, and I had more friends between the covers of books than I did on the playground.

    This may have been part of the reason I decided to speak to the little girl as I walked past her table to toss my empty cup and sandwich wrapper in the bin behind.

    “What are you drawing?”

    She put her purple marker down on the table and picked up the green one without looking up. “I don’t know yet,” she said, more to the paper than to me.

    Somewhere inside I smiled. “Then how will you know when it’s done?”

    At this she looked up at me with an expression more of exasperation than anything else. I knew her feeling well — the eye-rolling, mind-numbing chore of trying to explain your process to someone who existed outside your own mind. “I listen to it,” she said, with far more patience than I possessed myself. “It tells me when it’s done.”

    Read More