My thoughts always seem to come in threes. This week it’s – 1) isn’t it wonderful to embark on an endeavor as exciting, fulfilling and amazing as a MFA degree at a school I love? Particularly at the age of… well somewhere between 30 and dead. 2) Isn’t it wonderful to open your inbox and have mail from not one, but two nieces? And 3) Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could get this blogging thing down to a regular art?
As for the first – school is everything I’d hoped it would be plus about 100 things more. I’ve already learned more about the craft of writing in three weeks than I’ve learned in three years of reading books, attending workshops and going to conferences. That’s not to detract from the other things – they’ve been wonderful as well. But I’ve wanted this for so long – to have it turn out as great as it has is amazing. I’ve wanted other things in my life equally, but then gotten them only to think – hmmm, what was that all about? Or even worse, to think GET ME THE HELL OUT OF THIS!! (For those of you who know me, think Connecticut. Those of you who don’t, think Connecticut – cold, lonely, setting sun at 4pm, freezing in winter, gray in summer, and when the sun does come out the humidity is 100% and the black flies are frenzied! Not my favorite place to live.) School is different. It’s demanding, challenging, in my face confrontation of 90% of what I know. About writing yes, but also about politics and activism and me. Looking back on November and December, I can only smile, knowing I chose well. I may be in the early stages, and things may not always seem so rosy (talk to me when my thesis is coming due… AHHHhhhhhh!) but I don’t think so. I feel the rightness in my bones. I go to sleep exhausted, my eyes red and bleary, too tired to read more than a few paragraphs of my bedside book, and I sleep like the dead. This is a good thing.
Add to this pleasure the absolute joy of coming home from my last trip to Maryland feeling good instead of sad. I can’t explain this, except to say two things were different about this trip. One, I got to spend a day with Lauren all to myself – a treat almost unheard of lately. We slept late, went to DC, had lunch at a perfect, bustling, loud, sunny, tasty, French Bistro, perused the stacks and stacks of books at her favorite used book store (Capital Hill Books – it is amazing!), sat in a coffee shop talking about life and love and dreams and words, and then went home to make dinner for the family. It was a perfect day. Just as good, we had spent the day before with Eric and his family celebrating his 50th birthday. And again, I had them all to myself! (Really, I’m not a selfish person, but it really is a lovely gift to get to have the people we love all to our selves now and then.) We spent the day just talking. The tv was on, but no one was really watching, instead we were laughing at Charlie, talking about life and celebrating Eric. And that felt so good. Riding the train home that Tuesday gave me plenty of time to bask in how fortunate I was to have such a family, such a life. A few days later, there were emails in my inbox from two of my nieces – one Rizzo and one Maier. The Maier niece is eleven and writes short, breathless bursts with random punctuation and lots of questions (“I guess ok well I have to go. How was your weekend?? Did you have fun?? Where are you right now?? I’m home and I’m about to do the dishes I think. (BYE)!!!!) The Rizzo niece is 20, studies poetry and writing and wants to study at Oxford this summer. Despite being brilliant and beautiful and all grown up, she still calls me “Auntie Annie.” I could just weep. A good weep, that is.
And then there’s this blog. Some members of my critique group and I were talking about how lonely it can get out here. You type, type away and when you press enter your words fall like weak neurons unable to make the next synapse down down into the abyss. It’s very disconcerting. I do have a few readers, though (like Romper Room: “I see Lauren and Russ and Jerry. And there’s Maureen, and look, is that Caity? Hello my friends!) and as Lauren says if you’re going to have a blog it comes with some responsibility to visit now and then. So here’s my thought. Even if all I post is some discussion from class, I’m going to aim at once a week. Daily is ridiculous. I don’t have that kind of time, and I certainly don’t lead the kind of life that would make that worthwhile for anyone happening upon 2wordjunkies. It’ll be fun. A challenge!