Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weird, I go to a huge school

If anyone's looking for me, I'm the (almost) 24-year old walking wide-eyed around a college campus in Cheney (i.e. the middle of nowhere). Since most of my MFA stuff has been in Spokane so far, I forget that I go to this huge school with thousands of youngsters. But it's SO much fun thinking that with a student status, I can take advantage of a lot of great opportunities on the main campus of a huge university.

The last couple days, I've come out here to Cheney (about an hour-long bus ride, including one transfer, actually not too bad) to get some training in the Writers' Center. I'm starting out just learning how to do the "responding" (like tutoring, but not tutoring at all), and as the quarter goes on, I'll learn more of the GSA responsibilities I'll be taking on next quarter. So far so good.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hooray, school!!

Let's be honest... I've waited over two years to start this MFA program. And here I am, starting it :) Last night was my first class, 3 and a half hours of Form and Theory--Nonfiction I, Pre-20th Century. Tons of work--reading a book and writing a 500-word essay every week, two big research projects and two final papers, plus various daily assignments at random. A lot to fit into 10 weeks. But it felt so good to sit in a class again, go over a syllabus, have a class discussion.

I've met a bunch of people in my program now. I went to a couple Willow Springs meetings, went thrift-store shopping with Cathie, a classmate from California, went on a hike with a bunch of fiction and poetry first years, and now have met people in class. I love that everyone is from somewhere different--North Carolina, Indiana, Hawaii, Wisconsin, D.C., Texas, California, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Iowa. I think it says a lot about the program.

Things are almost totally together move-wise. I have all my furniture except a desk chair, and I have everything set in place except internet. Senia stopped by on her way from Minnesota-Vancouver the other day, and I was telling her how I like Spokane because it's a low-profile city...not a destination, nothing huge, just this little city no one really appreciates but which has some awesome stuff to offer. It feels really good to be here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

the end of the road (in a good way)

I really do plan on keeping my blog up. I’ve been thinking almost daily about writing in it and haven’t had the chance.

Had a wonderful time in Portland/Seattle/Maui. Spent a short flurry of time with family and friends, got to see Martha in her new apartment overlooking (kind of) Puget Sound, met her awesome boyfriend Austin. Caught up with a lot of people in Hawaii, all my old coworkers and friends from church. Went on hikes and swims and snorkels. I’m kind of amazed at the crazy vine-swinging rock-jumping water-plunging stuff I did while I lived on Maui, and was much more hesitant to do it again. The wedding prep took up quite a bit of time. We helped the family wash dishes for catering and ended up putting together all the music for the ceremony, reception, and dance (I had the honor of working the ipod at the wedding). It was all a lot of fun, and great to spend more time with Isaac’s family (not to mention finally getting to see Isaac again and knowing we don’t have to part ways this time!).

I forgot how beautiful Maui is. I must have said “it’s so beautiful” a hundred times when I first moved there, and it hit me fresh. I’m glad to not be living there anymore, but it still felt like a special place and there were plenty of nostalgia waves.

And then Isaac and I flew back to Seattle for a couple more nights to hang out with Martha and Austin, and then drove my car back to Spokane—what a feeling of homecoming! Here we are in a brand new city neither of us has ever lived in, and it feels like we can finally put down roots and establish a sense of normalcy individually and together. We stayed at Wescombe’s for a few nights, but I moved into my new apartment pretty quickly, and very shortly thereafter, God provided the perfect apartment for Isaac, and he moved in two days after we first looked at it. We both found total gems…. My apartment gets amazing light, has fantastic kitchen and bath
room floors, and has a fold-down bed, table, and ironing board; his has a balcony and beautiful hardwood floors and a gas stove (which he really wanted for cooking). Both are in our price ranges and have very few problems.

The last week has been kind of insane, what with moving, registering my car, getting my WA drivers license, figuring out new driving/biking/walking routes, going to a million thrift stores, buying groceries and other necessities, meeting with people about various school-related things, buying textbooks, setting up electric and internet, getting renters’ insurance, changing our addresses with a bunch of companies, and working out problems with mail delivery. But good. I’m having kind of extreme nesting anxieties because I’m missing major pieces of furniture—a futon (my Murphy bed is not very comfortable) and a desk—so I’m still sleeping on the floor and my stuff is still in boxes lined against the wall. I’m so antsy to put things away and decorate, but it feels like I’m (still) living out of a suitcase.

I met with the director of a program called Get Lit! through Eastern Washington U, and I think I’m going to go that route for my required internship credits. They have this huge literary festival every year that brings well-known authors to Spokane to do readings and workshops, and they also hold poetry slams and kids/teens writing programs. My position would be writing/editing assistant, and I’d put together little articles and author bios and write press releases, mostly. It sounds like it could be great experience working for a non-profit that focuses on something I love. As the time gets closer, I’m getting anxious for how hectic my school schedule is going to be, but I’m also so excited to read poetry and write again. One week to go!

Oh, and exciting news—this summer I finally got my act together and submitted poems to a couple journals. One turned me down, but the other—called Rock & Sling—is going to publish one of them! Yay!