What I’m Learning

Dear Maggie,

You know this will be brief because this week, or at least, over these past seven days and what I anticipate the next few will be like, I haven’t had a moment to breathe. This is not a statement of complaint. I am not going to exhaust you with the shopworn phrase, I’m really busy. I am busy. I am busy between 8:30 craft reading, workshops, classes, graduate readings and presentations, evening faculty readings, and of course, as you’d come to expect, either a beer at 5pm or one at 9pm (at the Northern Pacific  Coffee Company. The campus is dry, a real shame but this place is just down Garfield).

I can’t breathe because I am thrilled, honored, stirred, shaken, even. I am here at the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University for my MFA program. I’ve arrived and I’ve fully immersed myself into the program: cohorts, teachers,classes, readings — all of it. I’ve never been so engaged. I’m going to each and every class, reading and presentation offered. My cellphone and laptop stay behind in my dorm room all day. I don’t care about the world outside of this place, with the exception with how Cole is doing, brewing away back home. I pay little attention to Facebook, and, if you can believe this, I haven’t even posted since I left Montana on Friday morning and drove west into the light.

OK, so I’m not trying to be pretentious. What I’m trying to say is that I am here and I am present. I am opening myself to this world — and it is certainly intimidating and encouraging at times. My first year classmates are smart and talented writers. So many of them, I’d say half, have already written a book or two!

A book or two. Can you believe that? I can’t even sit at my computer for longer than an hour or two.

Guess what, I’m going to have to. I really want to, in fact. I can’t wait to.

I feel like I’m at home, although the dorm experience doesn’t offer much to my happiness (I miss my bed and I hate to get up in the middle of the night to put clothes on to pee in the shared bathroom), I am at home with my peers, my teachers, my friends. Many cohorts have mentioned that this experience is where they found their tribe. I am known here. People know me. And not just that they know I’m from Montana and that I like to ski. They know me in a way that most don’t. They know that despite that fact  I haven’t written a book (yet) I am a writer. That I can endure. I can endure in the world and on the page.

Okay, okay. I know, I’m waxing. I’m making you gag. I’ll stop. Just know this: I am learning to be the person, the writer, that I’ve been hoping for. I’ve gathered clues over these thirty years and I’ve know found the place where they make sense, where they decipher the code. I’m not going to get to the secret just yet. Just know that I’m on the right track.

I just wanted to share this with you. You’re the reason I’m here.

Thank you.

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