The last time I blogged I was living in a house, in Cleveland, and resting up from the book tour that took every inch of energy from my bones.
It’s now October. I’m a month deep into my MFA writing program at Columbia University in New York, and live in an apartment in the Bronx. Life, how shall I put this in an understated manner, has changed.
So, pardon the lengthy silence. I was getting my bearings. Small things: selling a home, finding a home, beginning graduate school, child rearing my five year old, keeping my life partner and I sane in the process.
You’ll find me on here more often, I promise.
Welcome to October. I usher it in with my gratitude and passion.
I’m starting the MFA program at Columbia University in the fall. Literary Non Fiction. I have no qualms about going back to school, but once I started walking the hallways on a deserted Friday afternoon, the doubts began to echo as my 35 year old body passed by ear budded and beat covered ears, youngish faces with no signs of parental lines of worry. I went to the bathroom to collect my thoughts and found this:
It made me half smile. The rewording/defacing private property is something I would have done ten years ago. Something I would proudly do with my feminist friends, searching for our space in the world, restless to reclaim a corner of a university that has a harrowing record of its treatment toward women.
I feel secure in my age. Signs of age on my face have accompanied the deliverance of wisdom and understanding beyond my 20 something year old self could have imagined. And I am curious to see how this MFA program mixed bag of writers will mesh, in the classroom or the Women’s Womb.
For me, language is a freedom. As soon as you have found the words with which to express something, you are no longer incoherent, you are no longer trapped by your own emotions, by your own experiences; you can describe them, you can tell them, you can bring them out of yourself and give them to somebody else. That is an enormously liberating experience, and it worries me that more and more people are learning not to use language; they’re giving in to the banalities of the television media and shrinking their vocabulary, shrinking their own way of using this fabulous tool that human beings have refined over so many centuries into this extremely sensitive instrument. I don’t want to make it crude, I don’t want to make it into shopping-list language, I don’t want to make it into simply an exchange of information: I want to make it into the subtle, emotional, intellectual, freeing thing that it is and that it can be. – Jeanette Winterson
Taken from a presentation by Kaya Oakes, writer and lecturer
I am a little over three months away from beginning my program in literary nonfiction at Columbia. In the chaos and details of moving, I found it rather hilarious that folks keep asking me to define “literary nonfiction” and how that differs from journalism. There are plenty of differences, some explain it better than others.
I’ll start with Kaya Oakes.
Sometimes it takes a while to catch up on the coverage of the anthology, but here’s an interview/review combo at Bitch Magazine!
The San Diego event made headlines!
I’ve got one week left. In one week, I’ll be on plane flying home to Cleveland. The west coast sweep of the book tour will be over. Years of thinking, months of planning have gone into each event and then, poof, it will all be a memory.
I’ve never been on a book tour and I had to figure out how to do it. It was all DIY. Makes sense. The book itself was a DIY from the start. I think that’s one of the things I’m most proud: I finished it. It may have taken 13 years, it may have consumed the last 4 years of my life, but I finished it. I’m in an exhausted state right now, unsure what my next steps are going to be, half praying that somehow those steps will reveal themselves to me.
But I know better than to do that half prayer. I know that things most important in our lives are never revealed to us, they must be explored with tireless curiosity. And then built.
I built Dear Sister not just for you, but for myself. It’s a space where I wanted to learn about the intersection of complexity and love. It has not disappointed.