There have been many many MANY times this last year (and the year before and the year before) when there wasn't really anything that I liked most about the world. There were always important people to me; there was always some dim hope on the horizon--I mean, it was dark but never that dark. But actual optimism had escaped my reach. "Everything works out" has always been my motto, yet I'd lost faith in the outcome. It's easy to say now that good, shining, changeful things are on the horizon, but I still feel like it's true: things are better because I worked to make them better, not because they just became better.
And I will be the first to admit that I did not go to that work whistling like one of Snow White's dwarves. I was dragged to it, bawling and exhausted most days, by some force of will that I can't seem to harness when the alarm clock goes off, but that's always there for me when it really counts. I am stubborn as a mule. This is usually not one of my more charming characteristics, I know this. I try so hard to temper it with generosity. This dogged mulishness that once upon a time got me into and through art school seems to have come through again. And again, I am just as amazed as anyone else.
BUT, no one is an island. Or a rock. (Even Paul Simon had Art and Edie.) I had so much support to get here, these past few years. I would like to appreciate out loud and without reserve the following people (in no particular order):
- My parents, who took me in without hesitation (twice) and gave me the space to get out of debt and apply to schools and store my shit. I am lucky to have them and lucky they'll still have me.
- My sister, who brought me and all my earthly belongings out here and who for months was my only friend.
- Jeff C, who gave me a ton of love and support when I needed it most. Thank you, not least, for the adventures, for holding me while I cried, and for listening to a lot of shitty first drafts.
- Warren, Ramona, Scott, and Chandler who have each let me talk their fool heads off while talking myself off of ledges COUNTLESS TIMES in the last couple of years. I wish I could adequately thank y'all for being such compassionate and indulgent friends.
- Jeff Q, who didn't want to be published at first, but is maybe coming around to the idea. And who, in the meantime, has been a tireless cheerleader, editor, designer, Spanish tutor, and friend.
- Gail and Dennis: two professors who believed in me, which is a powerful and amazing thing.
- Maya, who gave me a writing gig just when all seemed lost. It was the nudge I needed to get back up on my wobbly feet.
- My WFM coworkers, especially my "bosses" Jeff and Jane, who knew that this was all I wanted and who helped me every way they could. Everyone else on the team: thank you for happy hours, bowling, running, helping me move, listening to my stories and all the rest.
- The writers I have met through the various online spaces I frequent, who have encouraged, cheered, and mentored me, and who have even traded mix tapes with me. It means the world to me to be a part of a vigorous and interesting community; thank you for including me. I can't possibly list all you cnftweeters, draftees, and colonists--but I hope you know who you are.
- The editors who have printed my work, giving me a sustaining swagger.
- All you lurkers/FB friends and etc who tell me when you see me that you've been following along: it's really the coolest thing ever to know you're out there cheering me on.