All posts tagged: home

Winter Break

When people ask you where you are from, practice a different answer each time.  Give the name of a region, an adjacent town, the street you last lived on.  Take each place and hold yourself against its light to see where the edges meet. In January, move the writing desk to the other side of the room.  There is no window there.  Later, you will empty the last of the boxes from August, the ones filled with ephemera: photographs, letters, slips of paper that hold memories of people and places that have never been more distant.  There, you will find the porcelain figurine that belonged to your late grandmother, the one your mother accidentally smashed, then glued back together again, and gave to you when she could no longer stand to look at it.  In this reordered room, set it in the corner of your desk. Christmas will have come and gone in this new place.  A month ago, you felt the blood of your origins ticking through your veins and wondered how this type …

October in Three Acts

  Ryan my waiter is “happy having me.” I’ve just downed an 11 dollar burger with bacon and blue cheese. Food is fuel and fast and should be, why else eat? Redskins vs. Saints. Lions vs. Panther. Cubs vs. Indians. There are 300 TVs. Half blare Trump. Players are kneeling for the anthem, but their screen time has obviously been cut by owners and media outlets. The FBI have sided against Hillary. Drones vs. Yemeni hospitals. Who wins America? Sundays. I used to enjoy the flipping the pages of a newspaper. Today, “the Oregon Militia” have been claimed innocent, white guys with guns protecting an amendment. Meanwhile natives are being rounded up and beaten for trespassing on their own land. Their beef is water and the 13 million people below them that don’t mind or care that the extract economy is running oil pipes under their water source. They side with consuming more. Their temple is a mall and Chinese plastic is better than anything else. Trump Trump Trump will bring back coal mining, manufacturing, …

What Does Home Mean?

Does home mean decorating your apartment? Does it mean buying a map of the world to fill the empty wall in your living room? Does it mean running along the Oconee River and learning how many songs it takes to complete a loop? Does it mean adopting a gray and black striped tabby named Allie, who meows at your bedroom door in the morning, who falls asleep in your lap? Does it mean receiving two homemade chocolate cakes for your 23rd birthday? One from your roommate Pooja, who uses frosting to write your name in pretty cursive letters. The other from your friend Scarlett, who brings the triple-layer cake to nonfiction workshop, and asks for a list of birthdays so she can do the same for everyone else. Does it mean gathering for Channing Tatum movie nights and Grey’s Anatomy nights, where you take turns bringing red wine, popcorn, pizza, sour gummy worms, and brownies? Does it mean exploring the cities that surround you? Does it mean experiencing southern hospitality firsthand in Macon—where, in the …

Shakarean Hutchinson Introduction (Cornell University ’18)

Image: Robert Thompson It’s a weird thing, leaving the only place you have known for the first time. I was never one of those kids that moved around, not state to state or city to city or even from one house to another. My family made its home in South Carolina (many many generations before I ever came to be) and despite a few excursions out of the state I always came back-to the South, to Charleston, to home. I chronicled my application process here on the MFA Years some months before so there is no reason for another rundown, but part of my happiness in being accepted into multiple programs was that they were far away and I knew I would be getting out. There was now a justifiable reason for me needing to leave the state outside of the “want to” that was my reason before. And in the months leading up to moving to Ithaca, NY, I had been excited. I was moving across country and getting a chance to learn at …

Wrapping Up: It’s A Start

Image: Ignacio B. Peña I wish I had more time. Invariably, this is the one consistent thought that creeps into my thoughts, time and time again. It always comes at the end of things: deadlines, holidays, relationships, courses. Times in a city you’re about to leave. I left Wellington this time last year, ready to move on and begin a new journey as a writer. But it wasn’t until I was sitting on that plane, as it started to move and the white houses set in lush green hills began to drift behind me, the plane rushing along the runway and lifting into the air, that I felt suddenly and horribly sick. As the plane took off I thought: I’m not ready to leave. At the time I thought that maybe it was some too-late epiphany dawning on me, that I was making a mistake leaving a city that had become home for me over the course of those few years; a realization in itself that hadn’t come until long after I had made the …

Home for the Holidays

Image: Ignacio B. Peña Two things. Thing one. On Christmas Eve, I walked the markets in Edinburgh alone. I had a German sausage and stood against a corner street lamp watching people walk around until the markets closed at 8, until they asked for everyone to leave because it’s Christmas Eve and the Christmas market folks have places to be on a night like that. All of my flatmates had gone off to their respective holiday destinations, whereas I stayed in the city. I knew that I was coming back to an empty flat. It’s not like I didn’t have the opportunity to spend Christmas Eve in a place with people, as I had been invited by several friends, new and old, to come down closer to London if I wanted company during the holidays. However, I was being stubborn and I had started seeing someone local in the city and I wanted to be here for that. There was, in my mind, an unspoken hope that while this isn’t quite my city, I was …

46,397 words

Image by Ignacio B. Peña I have now handed in my creative portfolio, which officially marked the end of my first term as a writing postgrad student. Last week became a mental pressure cooker of revising and rewriting and now that I printed, stapled, and handed in two hard copies of my creative portfolio, I felt like wasting a little bit of time; I started going through everything I had written since arriving in Scotland and pasted them all into an empty Word document just to get a sense of how much I’ve written. The total comes to 46, 397 words. It’s not an exact science since I’m not obsessed enough to go through every social media post or message in that time, but that breaks down to: 14,542 words of fiction (latest versions on everything) 6,306 words written in response to novels read for my literature class 3,998 words written for my final literature essay 8,005 words written between all my posts for this site (not including this post) 13,546 words written in e-mails …