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All content copyright 2010 by Chelsea Biondolillo. Seriously.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 255

There are less than 100 days left in this experiment. There are also less than 100 days until I pack a truck and drive off to school. Isn't that crazy? I most definitely didn't plan THAT shit eight months ago.

OK. I'll admit that this day did not deliver on all predicted scope for productivity.

But stuff and things were accomplished. Got my wildly painful MMR vaccine booster (34 years later), submitted three demand articles, wrote a couple of paragraphs on my book review of Silent Spring, made next week's lunches, and went for a morning slog.

There was also some dawdling, a bit of lollygagging, and just a hair of dilly-dallying. I mean hell, it was Saturday, after all.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 254

Does this chain look shorter?

Today was a trudging through work. But at the end of it, I sold my button machine, adding to the moving fund.

I also managed to make good (I hope) on a pending writerly commitment.

And I read a bunch of Annie Dillard, who I might love a very little bit more than George Saunders.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 253

My day started with a painful tooth cleaning and a sunburn. It could only go up.

I was able to take a half day, owing to my jaw pain, so I sent off my passport renewal stuff (this year's pic is vastly more awesome than the one from 10 years ago, so that's something).

I also edited and submitted the interview with Brie to an online journal with a running interview feature. AND, I turned in one demand article and drafted two more. I wish I could stay better focused on those, but two at a time seems to be my limit.

UWyo sent my proposed teaching schedule (Thursday afternoons)! And 52 | 250 wants to include one of my pieces in their third online anthology! And lastly, sent me a freebie 50 moo cards, so I should have some writer-business cards next week.

So, a damn sight better'n yesterday.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 252

I was not interested in participating in today from the get-go. (where did that come from, I wonder? get-go)

Today felt stuck and gluey. I just wanted to stay in bed! So bad!

I have to get an immunization for school. I'm apparently not immune enough to Rubeola.

Gotta get the passport renewed.

I have to move in a month. And my computer is acting funny.

I finished transcribing the interview, and I might freewrite a bit before bed. But bed is the priority. I'm done.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 251

Not having Internet at home sucks. I just spent a bunch of writing time fighting with my suddenly malfunctioning docking station. But with no Internet, there's no "quick, go download the newest drivers!"

I managed to research two more Demand articles, and I hobbled through transcribing half of my first interview (with my sister) when I got home.

Today it felt like there wasn't enough time to read and write everything I wanted to before school. And Spanish homework? Haven't done any in weeks.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 250

Some days, even if you had 19 good conversations it wouldn't make the one tough one any easier. You know?

I applied for a new writing assignment through Demand, today. I took some notes that might kernel pop into an idea--inspired in part by the Annie Dillard. But all that's sort of unimportant right at the moment.

Tomorrow is always unknown. So now I lay me down, in preparation for taking a giant step into the unknowing, first thing in the goddamn morning.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 249

Happy Easter.

PJ went to his new home today, which was rough. And then some crazy lady I've never met came to brunch at my parents and brought her cat in a carrier. She deposited the crying cat right next to the table. I ate as fast as I could and then went outside in the bright, bright sun and tried not to throw up.

It is worth mentioning, because I am at heart a selfish creature, that I am sad because I fell out of love with my cat. Not so much because I will miss him, because probably I won't for long. Ice queen. It's been a long day full of sugar.

However, it was not without writing. I finished up another article. I have almost made enough to pay for my renewed passport. I also took a stab at an edit of the hummingbird essay to send off to a competition.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 248

I had high hopes for my productivity today. I am about to head home from the coffeeshop with the best soundtrack always to spend one last night sitting on the couch with the cat who isn't mine anymore.

It's the best news ever that he has a home. But that doesn't mean I am not sad, mostly that I am so hard to live with that I can't sustain a relationship with even a cat, and that the cat is the one who has to suffer (by not understanding) for that. He will be fine. This new girl already loves him and feels that they are fated to be together.

So, I wrote a new Demand article (on birds!), researched another, read some Annie Dillard, and wrote my cat a dear John letter. And tried not to bawl at the coffeeshop over my fickle and prickly nature that always has me heading into the next phase alone.

And in other maudlin news, here's my 52 |250 submission for last week's theme, "Cold Front": Glacier . As usual, since it is a poem, I have no idea if it is ok or awful.

Letter to PJ

Last day, buddy. Of course I am sad, and yes that is why I was crying this morning because I will miss you and I am sorry that I don't enjoy hanging out with you anymore like I once did.
This is how these things always end, with the one who has decided It Is Done saying, "It's not you, it's me." And in this case it's true. I can't sustain any close relationship for long, Peej. Five years seems to be my maximum, that's how long that marriage lasted, so long ago. It's how long I have known you. Isn't that wild?

Five years ago, I had just ended a really unhappy relationship that I had allowed to engulf and smother me. Like a diver surfacing too fast, I was afraid of how I would be able to deal with sudden oxygen of no one needing me every day. I was so afraid of being alone. So when that woman at work said she had some kittens, I thought it was the perfect solution. I took you and your brother home with me, and it really helped.
You were always my favorite. At first, you hated to be cuddled. Your brother, Simon, couldn't get enough of it while you would stiffly struggle out of my arms to sit an arm's length away licking your paw or tailtip. So when you would finally sit in my lap, it was a triumph, a meeting halfway with your catness. At night, you would both sleep with me, one on either side, like we were a drowsing division sign.
Eventually we moved to Texas and you guys seemed really happy in that second big space. You kept yourselves occupied, tearing up and down the stairs, playing across the wood floors, hiding in your garage when you wanted peace and quiet. The economy kind of killed it for us all, didn't it?
 The time here in Phoenix has been hard, Monchhichi. Living with my parents was tough for us all, losing our house, our autonomy. When I could finally move out, the two of you were going to be too much for the new small space. So, I made a terrible mistake and found Simon a new home. I should never have given away your best friend, buddy. I'm sorry. And now we are here. You are so unhappy alone all day, and I am so unhappy with your new neediness. We are living uneasily together, in the awkwardness of the end of a relationship. We both yell too much and can't adequately apologize. I am never graceful or cool at the end. But I will miss you and I am confident and very slightly consoled by the surety that I have found you a good, loving, new home.

Friday, April 22, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 247

I just turned in two more Demand articles. That is five for the week, I believe. I am on a ROLL. While I don't love the actual writing, I am pleased that the site at least affords me the luxury of writing on topics I really know about--this week it was academic and tech writing. In the past it has been a lot of project management stuff.

Also, possibly the best news ever: I think I found a home for PJ. I will know for sure on Sunday morning, if the really nice young woman actually comes back for him with a cat carrier and the same good attitude.

The plan for the rest of the weekend (should I choose to accept it) is to write up the two reading list books, get out a new draft of the hummingbirds to send off to Crab Orchard, and read the shit out of the Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Her prose is so damn luscious, I just want to fall into the pages and stuff them in my mouth.

Thank the good green Earth it's Friday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 246

A soundtrack for today:
Unchained Melody
Unchain My Heart
(Don't Break) These Chains

I submitted another Demand article (library, baby!) and drafted out the supporting material for two more. I also conversed with a bunch of writers far too much.

Having finished Dr. Moreau last night, I decided to give myself a day off of reading list. But tomorrow I will start Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. This weekend, I hope to write up Silent Spring and the creepy, creepy Doctor.

Things I am looking forward to: the eventual (I hope) publication of my Coney Island piece on Used Furniture Review and of Finisher in Thunderclap! Press issue #6; dinner somewhere since I transferred $25 from my Demand earnings (go money!); having a cat free home (someone new is interested in PJ as I am losing faith in the current interested party, having heard no news for two weeks); another (non)lazy weekend chock full of reading and writing--since it is ALMOST! Friday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 245

This is a day-counting kind of place. So I don't mind sharing that there are 107 days left until I am done with this cube job.

Specifically, one for every link in that paper chain. Ridiculous, crafty, a waste of paper, or a sanity-saver, who knows? But I think I might like tearing the links off.

Today I spent my last lousy few dollars (I get paid Friday) buying cat food for the cat that someone is supposedly adopting soon (if the adopter doesn't come through soon, he'll have to go to a shelter and I'll be hoping for the best). And then buying myself a luxurious $10 dinner at a coffeeshop where I was going to write up 2 more Demand articles.

Except, I couldn't connect to the wifi. Restarted, deleted, re-added, deleted the network. I have not had the network grief that I have at this place anywhere else. I finally just had to go home before I burst into tears at the stupid hassle of it. I already had a headache and just, FUCK. You know? I wanted that ten bucks back so I could go somewhere else and work!

I'll have to take my computer to work with me tomorrow and scout out somewhere else for after. It will be a long four more weeks without Internet.

Moreau is going by much more quickly. Almost done.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 244

I got a new issue of Poets & Writers in the mail, and as I was flipping through it I kept getting distracted by all of the MFA ads. I kept having to remember that I'm already going to GET one of those. So then I'd get sucked into the workshops for a few pages.

I'm already going to get one of those, y'all.

I submitted another Demand article plus a rewrite. I resubmitted a story to a nonpaying market that I had previously pulled it from. I guess I had brief delusions of grandeur, but after 6 rejections all rapid-fire like, and two of them for this very piece, I just decided to take what I could get.

Also, I started Moreau. Digging! It!

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Monday, April 18, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 243

The day job tested me this morning, I'll admit it. Two tasks in a row boiled down to, "because I said so," first thing. And I can't handle because I said so. That's why I was not a stellar high school student. That's why I lost my last cube job.

It's not a reason. And if you don't know WHY just say, I don't know why and maybe it's dumb, but we have to. But "just do it and don't worry about why" sets me on some kind of fury-go-round. But, I put up a picture of Medicine Bow National Park as my desktop, I took a step outside. Even took a few cleansing breaths. And after a bit, I went back in and just did it. I wrote some dumb documents in a stupid manner, and I made nearly $200 for the day. I got nothing to complain about.

I am going to make a construction paper chain of the days left until I leave for school. I think that'll help, too.

I resubmitted a flash fiction piece to another new lit mag. On the lightrail headed home, I finally finished SS and so wrote for the majority of the ride. To lighten up the heavy reading, I'm going to tackle The Island of Dr. Moreau next. It was going to be the Mowat or Matthiessen books but those are set in Arctic Conditions and I will need those more in two more months.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 242

YAWN. I am beat, y'all. And I still need to drive home.

This dispatch is courtesy of the high-speed internet at my parent's house. I have spent the last couple of hours knitting and watching trashy police dramas on their cable. Tonight we went out to eat as a belated celebration of all of my recent good lucks.

Earlier, I got blood drawn so I can prove my immunization status (should have the documentation on Tuesday), I submitted two more demand articles, and a poem for next Friday's 52 | 250 theme.

Speaking of poems, I have been writing them lately. Weird.

It has been a full and writerly weekend. I feel like I have to make up for my less than scintillating weeks--but then those are full of writing every day, just not writing that "counts." It's also full of reading, which I do think counts... I don't know what I want to say about that. I was just about to give myself too much rope, I think. So I will quit now. Time for BED, Sock Monkeys.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 241

I mailed off my I-9 to UWyo this afternoon! I felt dorkily compelled to tell the notary at the UPS store all about my trials--at least he got the elevator speech version.

Then I went to a coffeeshop and finalized my submission (now up!) to Fred for his Sunday playlist: This was a fun collaboration--and makes a great setlist for a roadtrip.

I also managed to research two demand articles. I had wanted to get four done over the weekend, but it's looking like two will have to be it. I think a goal of two every week is acceptable. One from last week has been approved already.

On the home front, I went through three boxes of old records, papers, etc and managed to reduce them to one and a half. Do I need all my old tech writing samples and old leases? Yes and no.

And I am only one short chapter away from finishing Silent Spring it has been dense. But also wonderful and awful.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 240

I am juggling several writing tasks this weekend. I have drafted one.

In exciting news, Necessary Fiction is going to let me write a review for them (and hopefully more after that). It was nice to end the week on a comparatively high note.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 239

Here's a way that I am different from when I was younger: I appreciate that there are a variety of paths to happiness, not just the one I had my heart set on.

After a record five lit mag rejections in one week (there could still be more! It's only Thursday!) I have decided to pursue some other avenues. I submitted two demand articles ($7.50 an hour isn't nothing) and applied for a fiction reviewer gig at another online mag. Fingers crossed. I also played around with an idea for another funny piece. Not sure yet where it will end up, but it's percolating.

When I was younger -- like up until last year -- I would decide what success needed to look like and all else would fall away. For example, plowing through an art degree even though I never could picture myself as a working artist. It was because "going to art school" was the only way to succeed, then.

This year, I opened my possibilities to going for an MA, and was happy all season. (But man, I'm so glad I got into the MFA!!) it's not about settling--which is what I always used to think--but being more flexible about outcomes, defining the goal rather than the path to it.

Ways I am still the same: painfully socially awkward at times; poor filters; care too much about being "liked" for my own good; wildly reactive and overly reactive; &c. I also pick up concepts faster than details; I have to DO to learn; my body is much stronger than I give it credit for. I try to compensate for my coldness and lack of sentimentality with as much consideration and generosity as I can think of. My role as outsider serves me more effectively as a writer than it does as a person.

Ms Manners on the MFA

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a wonderful piece on MFA draft etiquette by Elise Blackwell, whose common sense and compassion seems second only to one other MFA director I can think of.

I am more than pleased to say that every school with which I had cause to correspond adhered to all of these points, and more. And I'd like to think I did the same.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 238

Rejection number five came today. It was vaguely encouraging in a completely non-confirmable way. Maybe this mag is just "nice" to everyone they turn down. Or maybe the story is worth resending elsewhere. Who knows!

In light of this recent rash of publication failures and my painfully tight budget, I spent some time today drafting a couple of Demand Studio articles. The pay makes me sad, but it is extra money. I'd like for it to be a way to afford a few niceties while I'm in school (cough-snowshoeing trips-cough), plus it does encourage clear, concise language. ugh, who am I kidding?

I also wrote for a few minutes on the bird essay--I have half of the conclusion done. Then it needs a tough love edit.

Finally, I asked another writer to look over the night essay, before it's next round of submissions.

A friend from high school is visiting and we spent dinner and afterward catching up and reminiscing. Good times. How do you think you are the same as you were back then, and how are you different?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 237

Rejection 4 for the week, and it's only Tuesday!

I researched today, and thought about the ending to my birding essay. I wrote a few lines on scraps of paper, but I didn't write.

Already, I have an idea for my next essay, but thinking about it is justified procrastination. I gotta finish up the birds first.

I'm getting kind of into my Tumblr. How many posts in a day is too many? Does it count as writing?

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Monday, April 11, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 236

Lots of writing news: three lit rejections this week.

Well, maybe that's not really lots. I worked a bit on the blackbird piece. Though after such a string of thank you for the opportunities and not right for our publications, it's hard. To write, I mean.

So, I'll read. Tomorrow is another day.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 235

I haven't really written in several days. Some of you have noticed. Part of that is a bit of stage-fright. I'm worried that I'll blow this amazing opportunity. Or worried that the truth will suddenly come out that I am a terrible writer unless I am abjectly miserable. (Perhaps the below freezing temps and small paycheck will help.)

But also, up until this last week, I have had so much on my mind that calming down long enough to write anything was tough. Now that school and a place to live are taken care of, I need to get back to my regular practice. This morning at the botanical garden I wrote for a bit about my trip to Utah all those years ago. The feedback I got from my readers was very consistent: tell me more.

I was also hoping to have a bird essay ready to mail to a publication by the 15th, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen. I am going to spend the next couple of nights trying, though. When I am not reading the Carson book, course. Which I dare say is a bit of a snoozefest. Don't tell the CNFpolice I said that.

Tomorrow, my home internet will be turned off. This is both about saving every dang penny I can and about reducing my distractions. While I can still post nightly to the blog from my phone, the acrobatics (videos, links, etc) will be tricky. I will be back at my parents house in less than two months, and will be back online then.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 234

Trading in books scored me five more books from the master list. And I read almost another 100 pages in Silent Spring. And I made next week's lunches. Feels like I should have gotten more done, but some days you just gotta sleep in to celebrate.

Friday, April 8, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 233

I'm not sure if this counts or not, but I secured a completely sight-unseen apartment for the duration of my MFA.

(hahahahahaha! It still freaks me out to write and/or say that.)

I will have a one bedroom in the old Connor Hotel in the heart of downtown Laramie. It has been described as quirky, funky, cool, haunted-y, and with hallways reminiscent of The Shining. Yeah!

Very little else got accomplished. I am a slow-ass reader, and it is hard for me to focus on what I am reading. No time like the present for practicing better reading skills.

Also, in my continuing experiments at thriftiness, I made granola bars from scratch AND from ingredients that were all already in my house. One pan of granola bars cost me zero dollars and made the equivalent of three boxes of those breakfast things, plus two bowls worth of cereal style crumbs. Who's the superstar? This guy!

First thoughts on Silent Spring:
  • I am amazed that such a technical book was such a smash hit. I need to look up the initial impact it had. In the first 30 pages there are chemical molecule diagrams!
  • There is also some amazing hyperbole that would never make it to print today without chemical companies screaming libel. 
  • Her conviction is passionate and unwavering, even as it is sensible. I admire the shit out of that. 
Now, off to read more gooder.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 232

More exciting emails happened all day, and I even called a couple of potential landlords. Man, if I could have a place lined up by the weekend! That would be huge.

I also asked Jeff Lockwood, one of the professors (who specializes in science and nature writing, among other things) for a summer reading list. Here's what he sent back. (Items with a * are books I already own, the rest are on the newest birthday wish list, along with snow boots, silk long underwear, and a mountain bike. Here that, Santa? I've already read the stuff in bold.)

*Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
Wendell Berry, What are People for?
*Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle
*Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Loren Eiseley, Star Thrower (essays), The Innocent Assassins (poetry)
Jean-Henri Fabre, The Life of the Grasshopper
*Stephen J. Gould, Reflections on Natural History
*Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac
Barry Lopez, Home Ground
Konrad Lorenz, King Solomon's Ring
*Peter Matthiessen, Snow Leopard
Patrick McManus, I Fish Therefore I Am
* John McPhee, The Control of Nature
*Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf
Kathleen Norris, Dakota, A Spiritual Geography
*Michael Pollen, The Botany of Desire
*David Quammen, The Flight of the Iguana
Pattiann Rogers, Firekeeper
*Mary Shelly, Frankenstein
Gary Snyder, Mountains and Rivers Without End
*Henry David Thoreau, Walden
*HG Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Elizabeth Dodd, Spirit's Eye **
Joan Didion, Slouching Toward Bethlehem **
*John D'Agata, About a Mountain

** (I added those.)

 In addition, the professor recommended three of his own books: *Locust, *Grasshopper Dreaming, and Prairie Soul, to help me get a feel for where he's coming from (which is only fair, since he's read my work).

With that in mind, today's act of being a writer is going to be to start reading. Up first, Silent Spring.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 231

The barest bit of writing got accomplished today. We're talking tiny. But it was a rewrite, so that's something. My poor Utah essay-poem has just bombed everywhere. So, I asked some of my fellow MFA hopefuls to take a look at it. So far, no one has responded. This does not bode well.

I also exchanged about a dozen emails between faculty and students at Wyoming. I'm really going there!

Here's a scary thought: when was the last time you lived on $1000 a month? I will probably have to take out some amount of loans to make it through with sanity intact.

Today I also browsed through some of the affiliated study abroad programs that Wyoming works with. There are a few that offer a month long Spanish/rain forest ecology program in Costa Rica. Also, through the student rec center, they run kayaking, caving, and snow shoeing trips. SNOWSHOEING, you guys! Someone please buy me snowshoes for my birthday.

I'm pretty exhausted from all of the hopping around yesterday, so I'm calling today done.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 230

So, I will admit when I am wrong. Yesterday, I was wrong. My oldest friend in the world specifically said that I should not freak out until I heard from Wyoming, and I nonetheless freaked the fuck out.

And today, Wyoming called to offer me a spot in their program.

After crying a little bit and calling my mom, and writing to one of the professors that I consider a mentor to get his blessing, and hopping around my apartment like a rabbity nine-year old--I called them back and accepted.

I have written to both TTU and KSU expressing my sadness at being unable to accept all of the offers.

I'm going to attend the University of Wyoming's MFA program in the fall.

You guys!

So, for the second time this week, I am going to go cry a little but this time I'll be listening to a few more repeats of Queen and jumping on the bed before going to sleep.

Monday, April 4, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 229

One of the last two Wyoming candidates accepted today.

She told me she was 95% sure she was going to turn them down. Totally my fault for getting sucked in, getting my hopes all up... They had been down. I was excited about an MA. But now, it feels like what I'm left with, instead.

This feeling will pass. I just need to keep reminding myself that I already turned down 3 MFAs in preparation for this exact scenario. I never thought I would get into Wyoming this year--but I knew I wanted a second chance. So it looks like that's what I'll get. They said they would give me official word by Wednesday, so I'll wait until then.

So I'm staying away from the rest of the MFA hopefuls until all this is done. The camaraderie has ceased to help my mental state, and instead is hurting it.

Technically, the last candidate could still turn them down, but I don't think that's going to happen. Not after the amazing weekend they apparently showed their admits.

A bit too sick to my stomach to write today. Instead, I cleaned out my desk of a bunch of old CDs and organizers and junk. I am still moving, after all.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 228

Today begins the last week of wondering. I am tired of not having a decision!

My prediction is that no one will turn down Wyoming. How could they? And on Friday, I will choose between Texas Tech and Kansas State. But there are miles to go before then. The longest week ever.

I got some work done on my birding essay. It has more focus, and a braided now/then structure. I am still thinking through how I want it to end--how I want to close up the arc. And today wasn't the best day for birds at the botanical garden (though I did see an unidentified raptor, possibly a Cooper's Hawk) but it was still a good day. 

 Dakota Verbena with Perry Penstemons
 Eastern Fence Lizard

I have been wondering about the workload for the MA. I wish someone could quantify it for me against a 40 hour a week cubicle job, or grocery store gig. Most of the students who talk about always being in a crunch have never had to work 8 to 5 all week. Not that I am assuming a lighter workload at all, just that there is little objective comparison out there. I will be in class for 9 hours a week, I will have office hours/grading for some amount of time, and then have around 25-30 hours a week for studying/school writing. Then, just like now, I will try to get some writing done outside of class. (Though, probably not quite as much.) Does that leave time to workout and knit and have a beer with the cohort every now and then?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 227

It still looks like CNFer numero dos is going to keep her Wyoming spot. Do I check every hour, to see if she's changed her mind? No! Of course not! That would be Crazy.

I couldn't quite get out of bed this morning. It's good if Wyoming doesn't happen, I can't help but believe, but man I miss the mountains so much. But, if the universe feels that I need an MA, then I will abide the universe's not-so-subtle recommendation. Because, see? I am LEARNING, universe.

So the morning was spent doing about an hour of Spanish homework (my first past tense! fue ¿Qué día fue ayer? Viernes!) and definitely not staring at my iPhone.

It took forever, but I eventually made it to the library. I gutted a third of the blackbird essay and then added at least as much new material as I had cut. The goal had been to double what I had, but I am trying not to cling too hard to my failure to meet it.

When I got home, I tried to fix my fucked up printer. It's a huge bastard, and suddenly acquired a chronic and evil jam. I figured out the cause of the jam in about 2 minutes, fixed it and was feeling like such a badass. My prideful boasting was short lived however, as the repeated crumpled up and jammed pages seem to have tripped some untrippable error with the print head. This is why I hate these crazy complex machines. This is why I want an old portable typewriter. Now I have to throw out a thirty pound piece of equipment that should work just fine. And now I need to buy a new printer. 

Mostly I am just frustrated at my inability to fix something. Here's where I can take it to the next level of crazy, though: I'm signing up for the next 2-8 years being years where a printer or a new head gasket or a root canal might may not be possible no matter how necessary.

How the hell does my brain do that? And how do I stop it? In better news, I bought Tallest Man on Earth with my last ten dollars and I don't even regret it (yet).

365 days of being a writer: day 226

I'm working through some ideas of connection and disconnection in this birding piece. And I've no doubt that all this MFA business is part of the reason I am hung up on connections--writers work so much in solitary confinement, either actually imposed or metaphysically constructed, it's no wonder we cling to each other (as though clinging might save us*).

Birders, like knitters and writers, most often commune one-on-one with the objects of their affections. Banding together on occasion breaks up the loneliness, but can also reduces their productivity... Sorry, I just put myself to sleep for a minute. We know these things. Who cares? What does all this have to do with my grandmother? And Roger Tory Peterson? What does this essay want to be about?

Anyway. It was a crummy week. It looks like one of the two Wyoming candidates may take her slot--I think it's the other one that needs to give it up, but still that on top of the CNF thing was tough. And yet, and yet, I can't help but be relieved if she does. As another writer friend so astutely pointed out, I want Wyoming for dessert.

*apologies and gratitude to Galway Kinnell