Dispatch from the Unknown

At this point in 2018, without the structure of having class to attend every day, I’m wandering around my head as if I were in a Narnian wardrobe, which is to say in a bamboozled state of wonder and not particularly sure what to do with myself. I’ve been steadily creating writing projects, reading so many books, and watching and rewatching all the seasons of the British Bake Off. And yet, my studentia soul aches to get back into a familiar rhythm. It doesn’t help that the world outside my windows is a snow-icing landscape of white with creeping mists, hazy mountain silhouettes, and gnarly-fingered trees. So there’s that Vermont in Winter otherworldliness factor, too.

Luckily, the wait is short, because this coming Monday, I will dive right back in to my studies— this time with some new and old faces at the front of the classroom. My schedule for this semester is:

  • Modules with Julianna Baggott (Screenplay), Matthew Dickman (Poetry), Jericho Parms (Creative Nonfiction), Trinie Dalton (Fiction), and Sean Prentiss.(Thesis Development)
  • Workshop with Robin MacArthur
  • Publishing with Miciah Gault
  • Professional Development (with various Module instructors)
  • Internship (TBD)

Here’s a pic of the latest book haul (all school books):

More information on classes are sure to follow soon!

Today was a mix of the mundane and the historically significant. In between cleaning my studio and a bit of list-making/email housekeeping, I walked in the local Montpelier Women’s March anniversary event. Donning a hot pink scarf and a “I have more than enough courage” button, I joined the hundreds of others who gathered at the base of the Vermont State House. Even a T-Rex traveled through time and overcame extinction to make an appearance. What I find thrilling about this particular Vermont event is that it was a youth-led, youth-organized march and speak-out for youth of all ages and their allies. I think it is an incredible thing to give young people the stage and respect to be heard by their townspeople, many who are decades older than themselves. When we show up to events like these, we’re not just saying “Impeach Trump” and “We want change,” it’s showing (and therefore speaking volumes) that we believe that what children have to say and feel about this country’s future matters. They are our future. We are all in this together, literally, sharing this world and all of Earth’s resources. I know from my experiences as a preschool teacher that children produce some of the most intelligent and rawest ideas and feelings. Because they don’t always have the speech capacity to vocalize these thoughts efficiently, children are written off as dumb or naive. But I think this is far from the truth. Children hold some of the most fundamental qualities of life to be self-evident. For example, in the photo below, a child in the right bottom corner holds a sign that says: “Be nice and share.” How many adults do you know who struggle with this advice every day? Just some food for thought.

Portrait of Montpelier’s Women’s March with T-Rex


And now to something completely different…

I’ve been listening to a TON of Moby lately (my favorite tracks are the gospelly ones: “Honey“, “Natural Blues“, and “In This World“). Mostly, because I realized that I need very specific music to settle my brain down and tell itself that it’s time to write. Certain music, like Emancipator or Moby, creates a sort of cave for my brain to curl up inside and produce these sprigs of ideas which sprout outward from me like degravitized roots. Caves are the perfect environment because it’s dark in there and echoey and my brain can practice sounds, while also not feeling super calm. There’s always a slight dripping sense of unease in caves, which is what I like in a good story. Also, good writing music: the soundtrack to American Beauty. The last time I saw that movie, I think I almost bit through the pillow I was clutching during the last scene. The soundtrack though is worldly, disturbing and comforting all at once — again, quintessentially cavernous.

So right now, I’m standing in this snowy cave of Vermont looking at 2018 spread out in front of me, all full of possibility and exploration and nail-biting political nervousness, and I’m not sure where the year is going to take me, what it’s going to teach me, and who I’m going to become. But I have my boots, and I trust them to take me one step further and then another.  I’ll make sure to send dispatches back from the unknown.


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