I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
~Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
On the first of each month,
a guest writer
how they spend the day.
October 1, 2023: Minda Honey
Of all the cool places where you can find Minda Honey’s writing, my favorite might be her now retired advice column at LEO Weekly, which publishes Louisville, Kentucky’s arts and entertainment news. For three and a half years, you could ask Minda Honey anything. For example, “How can I be a better me after a break-up?” Minda recommended books, podcasts, and distractions. For example, listen to “‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. This podcast is all about getting unstuck creatively. When you’re serving your most creative self, you really don’t have time for any nonsense in your life.”
Minda’s relationship expertise was hard-earned as is evident in her debut memoir, The Heartbreak Years, which will be published on October 1st, the same day as her essay on how she spends her days. When the memoir opens, Minda is twenty-three and still dating her high school boyfriend. Together they set off from Louisville, where they’d grown up, to Orange County, California to house-sit for her boyfriend’s grandparents.
In May, we loaded up my little red Jetta for our road trip. I decided to leave my socks behind. I wouldn’t need them where we were headed. We didn’t own a GPS unit–they were still a luxury–and neither one of us could read a road atlas. So, we printed directions from MapQuest.com and followed each numbered turn and exit carefully from state to state, pitching crumpled-up sheets of paper into the back seat as we went.
Minda grew up reading Harlequin romances and memorized the formula that led to love. When she was twelve, her parents divorced.
Witnessing the end of my parents’ marriage deepened my subconscious belief that if I wanted happiness, if I wanted stability. If I wanted more than misery in the morning and arguing in the evening, then I needed to live my life by the rules of a love story.
The Heartbreak Years, with its beautiful cover, is the story of a young woman just out of college as she lives through her twenties, date by date and bar by bar, and how she manages to break free of her childhood fantasies in order to become an independent, resilient Black woman in a big world.
…I was never meant to be linear… [M]y progress in life wouldn’t come in a series of checkboxes. I grow like an ocean, swelling with energy. Understanding comes in waves. Then, recedes and returns. Always bringing me back to myself…
As far as family and race, Minda is the daughter of a Black veteran and a Filipino immigrant. “I am a Black woman,” she writes. “Yes, I am Filipino because my mother is Filipino.” But she’s never been to the Phillipines and didn’t grow up in that culture. “I grew up in the South in an all-white neighborhood, and I was the only Black kid in my class until I switched schools in fourth grade.”
Minda always wanted to be a writer, and although Orange County did not provide a permanent love interest, it was here that she first took herself seriously as a writer and joined a writing group. And it was not far from here, at the University of California, Riverside, that she received her MFA in non-fiction creative writing.
For more from Minda, check out her series of essays at Longreads on dating and politics. Her writing has also been featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Oxford American, and Teen Vogue. Essays by Minda can be found in “Burn It Down: Women Writing About Anger” by Seal Press and in the Hub City Press collection, “A Measure of Belonging: Writers of Color on the New American South.” She is the former director of the BFA in Creative Writing program at Spalding University and the current editor of Black Joy at Reckon News.
Come back on OCTOBER 1st to read how MINDA HONEY spends her days.