Somewhere along the past 7-year journey of roaming the planet and trying to find myself, I forgot what a Montana wilderness resurrection looks like—the valleys awakening to a freshly gifted vernal watershed, the mountains still snowcapped and picturesque despite T-shirt temperatures warming every hibernating heart back to life, and the steadfast wildlife emerging from the earth below to rear newly born offspring.
But now I'm remembering...and spring has won the favor of my favorite season; I like celebrating life.
That said, I’m feeling rejuvenated. I say this despite the raining rejections I keep having to shake. I did not make it into graduate school this year: I was declined by 11 schools and waitlisted by 2 others (which, ultimately, became rejections as well). I am strangely okay with this, however, as I am starting to have my doubts and suspicions if creative writing even has its place within academia—this is a question I am going to be wrestling with for a good bit to come (as most writers do). The following quote (by Flannery O’Connor) is giving me some relief on the matter:
Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
On a different note, I’m sure some of you have noticed I haven’t been posting as many stories lately. This, I assure you, is not due to lack of effort; the issue is that I have been investing the majority of my time towards trying to get individual essays (ones already written) into literary journals and magazines. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve submitted 5 different stories. This takes a lot of effort though, because it requires researching each publication, adhering to their requirements, and then revising and editing the stories to their best form. In doing this, I’m hoping to gain more credibility as a writer, something which will become important further on down the road.
I did actually have my first piece of fiction published in late April; it was accepted into an annual anthology called A Year in Ink, Vol. 7. The piece is titled “I Found Jesus” and depicts, in a very quirky way, my struggles with religion and aversion to having children. Here is the link to the publication’s website.
I'm excited for the months to come as I’m attending a workshop with one of my favorite writers in two weeks (David James Duncan), waiting to hear if I got accepted to one of the best writing conferences in the country (Bread Loaf), and hoping to get the rough draft of my collection of travel essays finished by the end of the summer (I only have about 20,000 more words to write). In addition to all of this, I’m also taking an online grammar class that has proven phenomenal (and also embarrassing; as a writer I know very little about the actual science of sentence composition—I suppose it would be like a musician who can’t read music).
I’m also, with a couple of friends, trying to foster more of a creative community in the Bozeman area. We call ourselves the Cold War Creative, meet twice a month, and are open to anyone looking for creative support and inspiration in their endeavors. If you’re in the Bozeman area and would like to join, let me know!
So, as I said, I’m feeling rejuvenated. Every day I fall more in love with writing (despite the hardships of the industry I so frequently hear about). I think the beauty of it all, at this point, is to just create and share…much like the season we currently find ourselves in (well, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere).
Lastly, I have amazing friends and would like to celebrate their recent achievements. Here is some cool stuff to check out:
- Gabe Thibodeau was recently published in the Fairy Tale Review.
- Chad Houseman (AKA Tom Hymn) had a strong influence on the new Muteflutes album (the record release party will be on May 10th, so buy it once its on the streets!).
- Bryn Hobson released a bad ass new book depicting his entire year of creation. Check it out here.