First Packet is Done!
It goes like this, see: I work all day and then wish that in the morning I was going to class and could talk about my work with someone. Or I get stuck on a sentence and when I walk outside, as if to search down the dormitory hallways for a friend to swap papers with, I am surrounded by small mammals that eat nuts and speak in Squirrel or Rabbit.
For a break between drafts I call Collene, who is one semester ahead of me at Pacific and knows what I am feeling. We talk books, sentences, residency gossip, conferences, genre. It goes well and hopefully there will be a cross-country visit between us sometime before January.
At the next round of drafts I call Vic, who is always game for chit-chat or bitch sessions or poetry talk or advice. We talk about her week, her commitments, my plans for time management, my need for classmates.
By 5:00 p.m. I am done with all the contents of my first packet to mail out and call Britt for a celebratory drink and catch-up. We visit at her house for two-and-a-half hours and still, it is only the tip of the iceberg. But still, we’re on the same page with our critique group goals, with facts about websites, with expectations for the local open-mic women’s night. She gives me a token from her beach vacation – a shark’s tooth that is serrated,“fitting for the MFA,” she says, explaining that it will fit her analogy in a poem she’s working on.
There are also phone calls from Veva and Cam, two more artist friends. I could not do this without support from all of these people.
Am I willing to slave for twenty years just to become proficient? Will I be able to maintain my dedication even if I never get recognition? Will I always be in love with writing? Is this only the beginning?
Yes, yes, and yes. Yes.