Liner Notes: “Particularities” and “Consistencies”

I grew up in Southern California, where, as I like to say, there are only three seasons: hot, hotter, and fire. Wildfires are a common occurrence; I even had one encroach close to my childhood home, though thankfully firefighters were able to stop it before it did any damage. “Particularities” was based on a real experience I had: My family and I were driving on a freeway—I now forget which one—when the sky became orange. Somewhere up ahead, there was a wildfire that was throwing enough ash into the air to mess with the sunlight. When I later saw photos from the massive dust storm that happened in Australia in 2009, I was struck by the resemblance to that day in the car. Then, before inkscrawl submissions opened, wildfires in Canada cast enough ash in the air so that sunlight in Ohio was just barely orange. I was perhaps the only one out of my friends who noticed that the color of the light had changed, and I’d only noticed because of my own experiences that they’d never shared. I found myself struck by the fact that this, of all things, made me miss Southern California. When it came time to write a poem about atypical weather, all these factors coalesced into this tiny poem about Mars and the strange things that spark nostalgia. My betas for this piece...

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