Oh poor neglected blog. It’s the last semester of my MFA and I have to-do lists that never get shorter (as it seems. I promise they actually do). It’s been almost two months since I blogged (oops) and, because one can typically find me complaining about how much I have to do yet also binge-watching Parks and Rec on Netflix, here’s what I’ve been up to in the past two months.
1. Sitting on the floor with a bunch of poems (aka doing actual work on the thesis).
It was actually really fun to print out all my poems, lay them out on the floor, and see how they fit together. For a couple weeks, every night, I’d turn on the Olympics at around 7:30, lay out the poems, and stare at them a lot until around 10. They’re going to make a thesis, that’s for sure. Side note: the intensity of luge is great for the intensity of poetry.
2. Doing non-legitimate work on the thesis.
Involves keeping actual Word docs with epigraphs to include. Involves asking myself questions such as “How many things that I love can I reasonably include in this thesis?” and “Do Josh Ritter lyrics count?” Also involves unreasonable amount of time spent vowing not to forget anyone on my acknowledgments page. (Y’all know who you are.) Also involves knowing that it’s probably not appropriate to include a Leslie Knope quote there: “No one achieves anything alone.” (IT’S TRUE, PEOPLE.) Revelation: also inappropriate to start that page with “To all the Ann Perkinses in my life.”
3. Going to Seattle.
#AWP14. Highlights included the rare books booth, seeing a bunch of old friends, a new Dear Sugar mug and poster, time with MFA friends, a new-and-improved Nashville Review booth, and some really fantastic, encouraging panels. I also saw my favorite poet of all time, Robert Hass, give a reading. It was magical. I spent time with family in Seattle, too, including my cousin Peyton’s weekend basketball tournament, lots of catching up with my aunt, lots of coffee, Korean food and goofing around with my cousin Rylee. And oh my goodness, the seafood. I also ate lunch where Tom Hanks sits in Sleepless in Seattle in that scene where he’s learning what tiramisu is. And Edgar and I looked out at the mountains one clear, gorgeous afternoon. Being on the other side of the US was pretty incredible.
4. Spring Breaking.
AKA uninterrupted-work-time. But still, I saw Kentucky. And I love it there. And I spent some work time in the Woodford County Library, at a table by the window overlooking Main Street. So it was pretty okay.
5. Binge-watching Parks and Rec.
I don’t even remember how I started watching this show, but for some reason I started it from the beginning and now I’m almost caught up to the point where I can watch new episodes as they come out in real time. Leslie and Ann are basically Dienesa and me. And I love Leslie’s friendship with Ron (nothin’ like some friendship moments to get me all weepy—when she sends him to the Lagavulin distillery, omg. And the wedding!!). Turns out writing a thesis is equal parts writing it and watching a lot of TV.
6. Turning 24.
Whoa, I’m 24. I was at home on March 6th this year, so mostly I just snuggled with our new puppy and hung out with my parents. And I spent a bunch of hours at Common Grounds, where I ordered an extremely indulgent Caramel DeLite (yes, the Girl Scout cookie) latte. Calories don’t count on birthdays.
7. Obtaining a spring wardrobe.
Birthday weekend was also shopping-at-home weekend, and now I have some spring teaching dresses, a cropped jean jacket (because the South), and a chambray button-down (which I have wanted for a while). And chambray Keds-ish shoes from Target. I love blue.
8. Writing fellowship essays.
Time to make a future plan for myself, again, so I’ve been cobbling together manuscripts and writing about my poems and my goals and crossing my fingers a lot.
Still to go: thesis defense. Several more weeks with my students. An actual future plan (maybe). Giving two readings. Seeing my people. Sitting on the apartment swing. In the springtime. Finishing this thing up, y’all. And waiting and waiting for everything to unfold.
And taking the time, every day, to move forward.