Friday, April 19, 2013

11:49 p.m. on a Thursday in mid-April

An old friend turned 55 today. I'm right behind her in age. I turn 55 in August, a week after I defend my thesis.

My thesis
a manuscript
of poems
book length
but the thesis
is not (yet)
the book

It has a theme, this thesis. Or several connecting themes. Classmates have helped me discover them. My professor, too. She's dear. All the professors at Ashland are dear.

MFAs are odd, though, and I'm not really ... well, I won't say that because it's not true. No, I'll say it and then contradict it. Sometimes I feel as if I'm not exactly what the program wanted. But I'm a really good student and a halfway decent poet.

When I attempted to get a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia (early '80s), some of the professors actively attempted to prevent me from graduating.

Well, they didn't attempt; they succeeded. But only because I was so unsure of how smart and good I was and could be. It was my own damned fault.

This MFA program? They want us to graduate. It's good marketing.  I've been working hard and have 57 pages of poetry (maybe more if I add a poem and a section to another poem). It's not good poetry, but someday it might be. It's not so much the quality as the process that counts.

When I'm done, I won't have the hoped for (because I'm ridiculously optimistic though I pretend to be a defensive pessimist) and much needed position as an adjunct English instructor at the branch campus of Ohio University. I wrote a good letter, have a decent resume, but don't have experience teaching comp and don't yet have my degree.

There's no doubt I'll graduate. But the "job-getting" hoops are on fire, and right now, I don't have the skills to jump through them without being burned.

So, maybe by Winter term. A friend who has been in the department for at least 20 years is trying to champion my cause because he wants people like me teaching his students.

In the meantime, I'll check other places, finish the thesis, be here for my child, try not to go broke, love my family, my daughter, her father, my dear friends.

Since I didn't leave my house today, except for a solitary walk in the wonderful 80-degree weather, I didn't get to share the poem I carried in my pocket for Poem in Your Pocket Day. So, tomorrow, I WILL leave my house, and I'll bring a stack of lovely poems by other poets, and I'll scatter them around town. At Walmart and Kroger. At the library. At the wine store. In my daughter's car, at the bank....

Poetry has saved my life.

Oh, lordy this is random.

I'm keeping Boston in my heart. I'm keeping West, Texas, in my heart (worked with a lovely man from West in the '80s). Keeping a young woman I know in my heart (too young!), my siblings, my friend, my child...

Oh, this is a silly post.

But, here, just let me love you, OK? Love. LOVE.


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