Settling-In

Since moving to Wilmington, NC to start my MFA program, I’ve realized something extraordinary.  I’ve realized what it is to feel as though you are in the right place at the right time.  I’ve only ever gotten snippets of this beforehand, once at the 2011 A Room Of Her Own Foundation retreat, and again a few weeks ago at the 2013 retreat.  What I mean to say is that I’m finally, as Thoreau calls on his reader to do in the final chapters of Walden, laying down the foundation for my castle in the sky.

I’ve always wanted to write.  To call myself a writer.  Yet, as I waded closer into the ocean of adulthood and out of the baby pool, I felt myself getting swept up in a current of to-do lists, of ambitions that “looked good on paper” but did not quench my deepest thirst.  I felt a hardening of my oughteries.  I felt despair plummeting into depression, which oozed out into lazy stretches of watching hours upon hours of Law and Order: SVU reruns on my days off, desperate attempts to stave off the stress of the workweek by fading into someone else’s racy imagination.  Days slipped by into years, and I hadn’t accomplished any of my long-term writing goals.  I’d forgotten the most essential part of my identity in favor of surviving in my new ones: as novice teacher striving to be good enough for her troubled students, as grad student itching to unravel race tensions and other political ramifications about teaching language in urban settings, as potential girlfriend turned jilted ex-lover, and as estranged daughter struggling to re-enter home.

But here, I have the utmost privilege of being surrounded by talented, enthusiastic, encouraging, like-minded writers and teachers, and of being called upon to do what it is I have always wanted to be called upon to do: write.

The goal, however, of participating in this three-year program is not to bask in the so-called permission I have been granted by a fine institution of learning to write.  It is to learn, each day, through habitual act and practice, how to give myself permission, so that when I leave and the oughteries come rushing back in like the tide, I can stay afloat.  To re-learn until I have it memorized with my muscles what Annie Dillard said: “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”  I’m ready to marry my pen, my books.

This blog will consist of writing exercises, book reviews, musings on the writing life, reflections on teaching, and anecdotal fun facts about life on the coast of North Carolina.  It might even cross with some of my interests in the form of vegetarian recipes, running accomplishments/plans, and yoga therapies.

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Filed under north carolina, teaching, Uncategorized, writing

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