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All content copyright 2010 by Chelsea Biondolillo. Seriously.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 364 & 365

Here it is: Day 365.

I never had a chance to write yesterday, as several members of the cohort went out after we were released from our final orientation, and well. It was a long night.

Yesterday was a much more momentous day than today (in part because I have spent all of today recovering from a brutal "altitude induced" hangover--the altitude, she befuddles). After we finished the last of the teaching demos, we had some pizza with the second-years and our subject librarian, and then we were done with the colloquium. We're teachers now.

In the afternoon, all of the writing program met in our devoted building, The Carriage House. We heard three really amazing, inspiring speeches from the faculty and students and then our Director, Beth Loffreda stood up and said that our number one job for the next year is to write. We can be good teachers and good readers, but we need to write and write and write. She urged us to appreciate fully this time when so many people are invested in our words and our progress (because who knows when that will happen again). And most importantly (for me) she said this was our time to figure out the ways we fuck ourselves over as writers: our distractions and the stories we tell ourselves about our writing and our processes that keep our pens still.

We all walked out of there in high spirits (which was SO important after the mostly exhausting and occasionally frustrating colloquium all week).

How fitting is it that my "year of being a writer" ends the day before my year of writing begins?

Today, as I lay around nursing my bruised liver, I tried to think about the last year. One year ago today, I was pretty certain that I might never be where I am. While I poured my heart into my applications, there was the threat of a second shut-out hanging over my head. All fall and into the new year I tried to cultivate a habit of writing and submitting. And a bunch of stuff got published! I placed essays, book reviews, even a poem. I met hundreds of writers like me on Twitter and Facebook, trying to get into programs, into print, and into their own process.

This year taught me, above all else, that determination and hard work really can make anything possible. That's not some cheesy bullshit platitude: it's the stone cold truth. AND, Nothing easy or truly valuable happens overnight. Shit takes time and patience. The patience part is something I am hoping to cultivate here, now that the scrabbling part is over for a little while. I can exhale for a bit.

Thank you, everyone, for reading along and cheering me on and keeping me going. I may not post daily going forward, but I will still keep track of my progress here.

1 comment:

Amanda said...


I'm so proud of you -- for everything you've accomplished this year, and for everything that you stand to attain in the coming 365 days. So excited for your MFA journey, and for the stories that will come.

You're such an inspiration. I hope, somehow, that you can carry that with you, and know that I'm thinking about you and will be sending lots of love and writing vibes your way as the year progresses and brings its inevitable struggles, and its joy ...

Congratulations on a FANTASTIC year!

Amanda xoxoxo