My advisor keeps telling my I need to relax. He says I’m disciplined and doing a good job and all that stuff, too, but mostly, that I need to relax. And of course, that I need to tighten my scenes and fend off my allegiance to the poetic if it’s taking over the storyline. I’ve got 750 pages to read in the next two weeks, three stories to revise, and a minimum of one new one to write. I’ve got drafts of the revisions going strong, but the new piece is only in spit-scribble form – first draft at best. Oh, plus I have to write three commentary essay son the books I read. Meanwhile. I’ve just closed up one deal for a freelance piece with a magazine and have one more in draft form that will be off my shoulders in two weeks time.

As for poetry, Cam and I continue to study it daily. Our current collaboration ends August 31st, then onward to our next collaborative effort which will be more like critiquing and motivating each other for the sake of submitting a flurry of new writing to literary magazines. The critique group Britt and I started is going strong and just met last month for our second annual check-in. We’ve invited Vic as our latest member and seem to be rolling through the weekly critiques with relative ease.

Somehow, in all of this, I’ve forgotten the mountains. They’re there, always, staring at me even when I’m the craft school pulling shots for a triple-soy-extra-hot-latte-to-go-in-my-handmade-mug-please. This summer I was going to hike every trail leading up the west slopes of the Black Mountains. I made that goal before I started grad school, however. I have one week off of work in September and with all the homework, there’s no way to tackle every trail in that time but if I can honor my own health, I’ll stick to my word and get myself outside and up, up, up to the summit of those sweet-rock-stars that never tire of kissing the horizon.

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