Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of the novel The Border of Paradise (2016) and the winner of the 2016 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. Resources for ambitious creatives living with limitations can be found at; she is active on Twitter at @esmewang and Instagram at @esmewwang.


11:26AM, my bedroom


I never wake up this late, but for whatever reason, my efforts to sleep in have worked; I got up at the usual time (4AM or so), made lemonade slush (lemonade blended with ice), ate some leftover spaghetti, and went back to sleep; I woke up at least one other time to make and eat more lemonade slush before going back to sleep again. I can’t believe it’s so late. Chris (my husband) asked me if I had an appointment, and I do–I’m having my lash extensions refreshed. I have ten minutes to get ready to leave.


11:42AM, in an Uber


I am makeup-less and wearing the same dress I wore to bed, but am also wearing heels, which might up the glam factor a smidge. Getting lash extensions is one of two beauty routines that I take the trouble to do regularly.

Since I’ve had less than a fourth of a cup of coffee this morning, I’m fairly sleepy. I put a lock on the Internet this morning using the Freedom app, so I haven’t hopped on Twitter yet; Twitter has been a huge part of my life for the last year, but I’ve been thinking about its role as a distraction in my writing life. I have a book due in a year, and I want it to be extraordinarily good; I also have late-stage Lyme disease, the symptoms of which mean that any time I have when I’m conscious and alert are rare. Being on Twitter has been a way to stay connected when I was largely housebound, but these days I might not need it as much.

The driver is taking a strange route to get to the lash place. We’ve gone past my favorite bookstore in the city, which isn’t normally something I see on this monthly trip; I also have a terrible sense of direction, so I don’t feel fit to tell him otherwise. But I will be late.

I check my email. There’s an email about a conference where I’ll be teaching a workshop in Palm Springs later this month–last-minute information about roommates, getting in touch about food allergies, and the like. The woman who’s running the conference, Jen, is someone that I’ve known online for a few years–I was supposed to speak at the conference in 2014, but developed pneumonia and had to bow out. We have yet to meet. I hear that you’re not supposed to use your inbox as a to-do list, but that’s what I’ve been doing lately: deal with email about PEN America membership, attend to medical marijuana registration, answer a question from someone who’s purchased my online journaling course, edit a piece that’s due soon, etc. That last one: I have yet to see an editor at any media site use anything other than Google Docs to edit work, and I find Google’s products to be aesthetically unpleasing.

I just asked the driver if he knew why traffic was so bad. He says it’s because of the long weekend, although I’m not 100% sure what that means. Are people trying to leave the city? Are they all going to the beach?

12:07PM, still in an Uber


Texted Lily, the woman who does my lashes, to let her know I’m close but running late.


12:16PM-12:47PM, The Girls’ Lounge


Lily is more visibly pregnant now than she was before, wearing a snug jersey skirt and a cute crop top—she’s four months along now. I’ve been coming here for something like three or four years. She exclaims over my hair, which wasn’t lavender the last time I saw her. “Keep it this way,” she says, “it suits you.” I’d been thinking about going back to platinum on my next salon visit, so I file this tidbit away for reference.

While I lie on the table in the back and she applies the lashes, we talk about her daughter, who’s now sixteen months old and loves the Disney Toddlers version of “Old MacDonald”; my niece, who is almost six months old and recently went on her first plane flight (it was fine); Lily’s upcoming trip to Disneyland; Chinese school and whether it’s a good idea for kids; her upcoming eight-month break. I tell her how cool it is that’s she’s been successfully running her own business in San Francisco for four years. “I was 24 when this place opened!” she exclaims.

Before I climb off the table, restored to my fully faux-lashed glory, Lily compliments me on my skin. I haven’t been complimented on my skin in years–in my twenties, it was my most commented-upon feature. I tell her I’ve been doing a new skincare regimen, which is true, and is courtesy of Arabelle Sicardi’s blog post about excellent skincare products under $20.


12:53PM, in an Uber


I check Twitter. Chris has tweeted at me about today being the 15-year anniversary of the day we met. Criminy, that’s true. I tend to celebrate tomorrow (the 4th) instead, because that’s when we first kissed, but 15 years ago today, I met my now-husband at a bad party as a frosh at Yale. He was a junior.

The Castro is crowded with folks today, even though the weather is grim. Again, traffic is bad–it must be because of people leaving the city for Labor Day weekend.

Labor Day weekend is a bit fraught for me because it reminds me of being raped and not being able to find a clinic for the morning-after pill due to the holiday. This is why I give a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood. So: anniversaries, memories.


1:13PM, my bedroom


Daphne (our dog) greets me. Chris hasn’t left yet. I tell him about this Enormous Eye project, citing different people we know. I read to him from Tony’s [Tulathimutte]. After looking over a few more, I realize mine is way too long. I go back and do some editing.


I decide to stay home instead of going with him to my brother’s house. Before he leaves, he tells me that it’s been nice knowing me for fifteen years. We kiss; my heart softens. After he leaves, my mouth tingles from mint.


1:32PM, my bedroom


The main thing about waking up this late is that it’s fucked up my morning routine. Now I’m off-course.

I do my morning skincare routine, put on a face mask, and make my fancy coffee. It’s fancy coffee because it includes two supplements that my Lyme doctor recommended to address fatigue–which is not just being tired, by the way, but is a symptom that makes it hard for me to get from one room to another, often makes it difficult to breathe, and causes full-body pain.

I listen to a popular literary podcast for the first time, and it makes me laugh because it’s the most Lit Bro thing I’ve heard in my life; the two hosts are spending the episode ripping apart Elizabeth Gilbert. I DM a friend, from whom I learned about this podcast. Apparently, there’s another episode in which they fawn over Jonathan Franzen.

In my late-morning journaling, I pull the Knight of Swords.


2:37PM, my bedroom


I quickly respond to a customer who bought my restorative journaling e-course and has questions about one of the lesson prompts.
My body has had enough of sitting up and writing–it’s beginning to hurt, and I’m having a hard time breathing. It’s time to lie down.


4:06PM, my bedroom


I’m behind on some client work, so I prop myself up in bed and work on editing. Daphne (our dog) is dozing in her bed. I hope she’s comfortable.


5:04PM, my bedroom


I take a nap while listening to a low-quality murder mystery thriller.


5:43PM, my bedroom


I wake up in less pain, and am oddly not flooded with adrenaline the way I normally am when waking from a nap (a PTSD thing). The low-quality murder mystery thriller is still playing.

I eat the remaining half of a mini watermelon in the fridge and go back to bed.

What I want most is to write, but my body and mind are still too foggy for it. This is something that the intensive medical treatment I do twice-weekly these days is trying to fix. Dear God, I am tired of being sick.

I look at my arm, which is covered with goop from the bandages that wrap the place where the needles go in.


6:42PM, in bedroom


Chris is still not home yet. I thought one thing I might be able to do is to make notes in my Tarot journal, or leaf through the Home issue of Kinfolk, which I was inspired to buy after seeing my friend Mensah tweet out some quotes from it.

Instead, an hour has gone by and I am still not doing anything.

I have a brief conversation with Rachel on DM and apologetically explain that I’m losing the ability to hold onto my phone and use it. I hop off of Twitter.


7:27PM, in bedroom


I go to sleep.


11:45PM, in bedroom


I wake up. Chris is home; I can hear him playing video games in the other room. I make notes in my Tarot journal for an hour, and then I fall asleep again while listening to the audiobook version of Home by Marilynne Robinson.