First year contributor
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Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart

(The “you” in my title refers to MFA program applications…)

(Brief moment of silence for George Michael, with whom I share a birthday and therefore a Christmas half-birthday…I had “Careless Whisper” on repeat all day at work and am now planning to researching the history of the saxophone in pop music for a new work. But I digress)

Hi Everyone!

Sorry for the delay in posting; I’m very excited for this year to be over, is all I can say…I doubt next year will be any less hectic, but hopefully it will be more focused.

Took a while to recover from the midterms/Halloween/moving houses debacle, but we managed to get the new place all set up, just in time to host my program’s Holiday Party! The event served as much-needed motivation to get everything cleaned up and to go grocery shopping…made a vegan chili that turned out well and didn’t kill anyone with its spiciness so yay. The party culminated in a White Elephant book exchange, in which we all contributed a copy of books we felt that everyone should read. I put in a copy of Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson (a nonficiton book that tracks the evolution of the English language), and wound up with the aptly-titled The Vegetarian by South Korean writer Han Kang, which I can’t wait to read!  Other than a Carl Hiaasen book here and there and an “80s Literary Brat Pack” phase that I never entirely left, I haven’t read that much fiction in the past few years, let alone contemporary works highly regarded by other writers, so it’s overall been immensely useful sharing my workshop space with fiction writers, and primarily studying works of fiction in my Ecofeminism course – it’s helped me sharpen up my narrative arcs in the works of nonfiction I write. I even managed to get through the science fiction book I had to analyze through ecofeminist and New Materialist lenses, even though sci-fi is decidedly not my thing and I’m still not sure I’ve fully grasped New Materialsim. Ah well, I did well in all my classes in the end so yay!

Otherwise, still working a lot (and finally feeling more confident in my knowledge on vintage clothes – maybe confident enough to write something about it?) and exploring Orlando every chance I get. When my mom was down for Thanksgiving, we spent one day taking the canal/lake tour through the affluent Winter Park, then went to vegan brunch at a wonderful restaurant (that has since closed 😦 😦 ), and wound up driving through different neighborhoods and taking in the real estate. December was largely the realm of final papers and housecleaning, but I did make it to the tree lighting in the SoDo (South of Downtown) District, an event which featured local artists selling their works, Orlando Brewery beers at dangerously reasonable prices, and Christmas songs courtesy of local performers. Our District Commissioner, Patty Sheehan, then took the stage and reflected on the sense of community that Orlando has forged after a terrible year. After the tree was lit up, soap masquerading as snow began to fall and everyone ran into the (sectioned off) street to catch the foam flakes. My kind of White Christmas, my kind of city.

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