It feels strange writing a grand, sweeping blog post for the changing new year. Because I am mostly writing this into the void. But in 2015 I am going to blog more. I am going to write more. I am going to read more. I am going to do ALL THE THINGS MORE! Except eating. I am going to do that less.
At the beginning of 2014, I had no idea how life changing this year would be. At the beginning of 2014, I was probably a little depressed. I was stuck in a dead-end job. I was no longer “just turned 30” but rather “in my 30s” and I had none of the regular hallmarks for success. I was excited, because my friend Lindsay Crandall had invited me to join her book club the previous October. That very first book club I met with her and told her how I never graduated all those years ago, and I surprised myself, by crying in a room full of (mostly) strangers. The thing is, that book club was the beginning of something. I didn’t realize how much I had been holding down, how much I had been holding back. This little book club called me to life again. I have told her, but I don’t think Lindsay realizes just how much I meant it. It began reopening the world of literature and literary-minded people. I had been living in my own literary cocoon. I had thought it was enough for me. But it wasn’t.
Soon afterward, a friend who was stuck in the same dead-end job as me said one day, “Screw this, I’m going back to school.” I laughed. But she was dead serious. I thought about it for a couple of days. Could it really be that easy? Could I just go back to school?
I definitely couldn’t afford returning to my alma mater, whose tuition prices were high 15 years ago and have probably increased since. I have been living ½ a mile away from that school for 10 years, hoping to one day have the funds to return and complete the one semester I had left to go. I had gotten sick while in school years ago, failed some classes due to absences, and never graduated. Yes, I know there are programs, or the schools can make exceptions, or, or, or…but they can’t if they don’t know, and I was so depressed by my failures, and depressed by my depression that I couldn’t speak up.
I applied to transfer to the state school with her on a lark. I hadn’t even told my husband yet. I can assure you, he was taken aback when I did. I told him it wasn’t for real, it was just “to see.” But after I got accepted, he was completely supportive.
That single act was precipitated by so many things in my life coming together. And that single act completely changed my life in 2014. I went back to school, and I was afraid. I’m old. What if I’m no good? What if I can’t make friends? Turns out, I had nothing to be afraid of. I am excelling in school. I have made friends. The 18 year olds I thought would think I’m an old fogey actually think I’m all right. I met people who I am sure are going to be part of my life forever.
My poetry professor asked to meet with me about my poems. He said I need to be submitting them places. He said if a grad school student turned in my stuff he would be thrilled. He said I needed to go to grad school. Due to finances, that may be postponed for a year or so. My husband lost his job right before school started. It has been difficult, but his parents have been helping out. But it’s OK. It’s OK because the option is out there. Because that professor said he will write letters upon letters of recommendation for me. Because I know that other professors I have met this semester would do the same
Right now I’m just ECSTATIC that I will be graduating in May. I started college in 1999. And I will be graduating. In May.
These exciting things all led to the other great thing about this year. People at school were talking about the Amtrak residency. I thought it was such a cool idea. I read about it. I saw who won. I read articles about Ksenia Anske who had won one of the residencies. I have already posted the story about the happenstances that came together to allow me to meet Ksenia and to become her editor. But if I really think about it, all of the things that came together to get to that point? It’s simply astounding.
It is as if when Linsday invited me to her book club, the universe, or God, or whatever, nudged me, or more like kicked me in the pants and said WAKE UP, THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING IN YOUR LIFE.
This year I:
-Collected my poetry into a book. For myself. I have it. I made it on CreateSpace, and ordered one single copy. It’s lovely, but I’m going to wait for this semester of poetry writing before I decide whether to actually put it out there, or to send my poetry out to “real” publishers.
-Returned to school after 12 years
-Worked on my freelance editing and became editor to Ksenia Anske
In 2015, I plan to do all these things, and to grow all of the areas of my life which seem to point towards the right paths. It’s all still a nebulous direction. I just know that I want to be connected to and enrich my life with literary things. And people. And also my husband, who is not literary at all, but I love dearly, and can balance me out if I get to highfalutin.
Oh, and also, according to Ksenia, I (and everyone who follows her) must resolve to write a book this year. OK, OK, I resolve that too.
And eat less. Because dang when I graduate in May, I want to be able to take some pictures.