Friday, November 7, 2008
This is the last year I am in my twenties. I used to be jealous of my high school seniors who were facing their undergraduate degree, but now that I'm in the MFA program, I know I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be at this point in my life. I never thought I'd be able to say that: "Now that I'm in the MFA program." On election day, I was doubly happy: I was also accepted into an advanced workshop at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival in January. I'll be working with Kimiko Hahn, who I met in 2002, I believe, when she came to the University of Minnesota for a once annual (intentions were good) poetry festival. I went to the PBPF last January, but it was an intermediate workshop; this year I'll be working with one of the headlining poets. If I could continually splurge, it would be on travel. If I could travel anywhere, it would probably be to Ireland, though I have a long, long list of places I'd like to go before I die.Despite this, I am fairly happy we settled into Minnesota. Even though I love the coasts, I love them in my imagination; I don't know what it would be like to live there. My favorite spots in Minnesota are Red Wing and especially the north shore. I would move to Duluth if we could; Ryan was lucky enough to live there as an undergraduate. My new favorite vegetable is brussels sprouts. We attempted to grow them this year and yielded a tupperware full of tiny buds; they're good raw in salads as well as cooked. I am one who loves vegetables and doesn't eat enough of them. I'm not sure what kind of laziness that is. I was twelve when we moved from Tennessee to Wisconsin. I was nineteen when I moved to Minnesota to go to college. And while Wisconsin has some nice spots, like Door County, I would not move back; I am not fond of Green Bay. But of course, I would never take that move back: Green Bay brought me together with my husband and my dearest friend Kelly, among many of my girl friends that mean the world to me, like Chris, Nikki, Mandy, Kim, and Jen. It's true that most places I look back on with unpleasant memories have also brought me together with some of the best people in my life. Case in point: Old High School brought me together with Emily, who has proven crucial to my sanity and is a blessing. I'm lucky like that. The people in my life are good. I'm spending Thanksgiving in Michigan again this year; I started that up a decade ago when I realized we hadn't been visiting our parents' parents often enough--I wanted to attempt Michigan for Thanksgiving and Chattanooga for Christmas, but it was too expensive to fly on that sort of regularity. That lake in Michigan plays a significant role in the work that I've been doing. I might not get a chance to work on that chapbook manuscript as hard as I've wanted this winter break. The local bookstore called me and asked if I wanted a holiday job. I haven't turned in an application, but I did mention in passing that I missed working in a bookstore, which is true. I've secretly always wanted to work there. Temporary is best though, given how crazy my schedule can be during the semester. When I first moved to the Midwest, I couldn't handle the cold. I practically lived in my long underwear. Now, it's been years since I've worn any. I consider myself a Minnesotan now, though people in my program have suggested a "Tennesotan," after MDB's "Anglosotan." I must say, looking back on these journeys, these years landing me here, this is how I feel: Lucky, indeed.