All posts tagged: memoir

Writer, Queer

This morning, I woke up in time—before I had to start rushing for work, before the heat turned us both into puddles—to actually take my dog on a decent walk. Titus, a corgi, loves gallivanting through his territory, a little Napoleon up against the big dogs who roll over in his presence. He loves people, especially if they have food, and he loves finding their leftovers in the grass, often gulping them down before I can stop him. As a kid, the only family dog I remember well enough to have had a bond with was a mutt named Tristan—with the colorings of a German Shepherd and the floppy ears of a Golden Retriever, plus the curly tail of a Shiba Inu, he had the attention span of a third-grader on Koolaid. While Titus’ favorite activity on walks is sucking up anything remotely edible like a vacuum sucking up Cheerios under a toddler’s high-chair, my childhood dog Tristan lived to chase cute little woodland creatures. He’d run from window to window in our house, slobbering …

And Thus Concludes…

…the classroom portion of our MFA entertainment package. Last Thursday I attended the last session of my last class for my MFA. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but I’m done with my classes. Forever. My mind cannot fully comprehend how quickly two years can fly past. That does not, however, mean I’m ready to graduate because I still have to finish my thesis. I had hoped to have that done by now, as well, but this semester turned out differently than I had planned. Don’t they always?

March Forth

March 4th. Yesterday’s date happens to be my sister’s birthday but it is also a message, as I learned on Facebook (the oracle of our times) when someone pointed out that it is the only day of the year that gives you direction: march forth. That sort of sums up how I feel at the moment, that I’m in a “chop wood, carry water” phase of just keeping it all moving forward. March forth.

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Meeting Alison Bechdel, WUSTL’s Visiting Hurst Professor in Nonfiction

Photo Credit: David Blank   Something that really excited me about WUSTL’s MFA program was its impressive rotation of visiting writers. In nonfiction this semester alone we hosted readings from Dinty W. Moore, who also visited one of our graduate classes; and Meghan Daum, who led a small discussion workshop prior to her talk. Hurst Visiting Professors spend even more time with us: we invite one writer per genre per semester to present a craft talk and/or reading, read student manuscripts, and meet with students one-on-one. This semester, our poets met with Claudia Rankine, and our fiction students met with Joy Williams. Being the inaugural year of nonfiction, I didn’t know who WUSTL would be able to bring in. When I found out that our Hurst was Alison Bechdel, I felt pretty embarrassed that I didn’t know who she was. As my partner put it to me, “How do you not know who Alison Bechdel is?” I blame a few things: my somewhat isolated and closeted life growing up in a little bitty farm town …

Week Five: Return to Zero

Image: Aikawa Ke I wish I could tell you my feelings of insecurity and worry have gone away. That I’ve come to learn that I not only belong here, but was accepted to Stony Brook Southampton. While the notion of belonging is getting better now that I’ve made a few friends, I still have trouble accepting my acceptance. For me, being in an MFA program feels like going to the gym.  I am convinced everyone is looking at me – judging how much I lift, wondering why I don’t increase the resistance on the treadmill, snickering at my Old Navy compression pants. But no one is actually looking at me. Over the past few weeks, I’ve finally gotten into a routine. I write two hours a day, every day. Thursdays are for homework. I go grocery shopping on Saturday morning, and cook on Sundays.  Evenings are for reading. Last week, the routine went to shit. A requirement of the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton is the Intro to Graduate Writing Course. If you asked me about …

Year Two: Two Weeks In

And so it begins – Year Two of my MFA – with homework piled sky-high. I’ve been describing it to people like this: Year One was like learning how to plan a fabulous, fun-filled, memorable vacation. Year Two appears to be more like learning how to build your own airplane. From scratch. With your bare hands. As I write this (and yes, procrastinate on homework for a while) I am thinking about all of the assignments due before my next class meetings. The list looks something like this: