This site is moving

It’s time for a fresh start. As of this afternoon, I’ve transferred the contents of this blog over to The only change is that my middle initial is no longer part of the URL.

I ended up getting stuck with having to use my middle initial in the URL for… reasons I can no longer remember. But I’d been meaning to upgrade my WordPress site anyway, and when a sale on WordPress plans came along, I thought I’d just see if the URL I’d wanted all along was available… and it was!

So please upgrade your bookmarks and/or your blogreaders. I’ll keep this site up until the end of the year, and then it’s going to vanish into the internet ether.

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Carol Dorf, winner of my inaugural monthly poetry contest! She won a $25 gift card to East Bay Booksellers.

Yes, inaugural winner, because this was so much fun that I’m going to run it again! Details in early November.

For now, please enjoy Carol’s winning poem!

At this Resolution

How do ants avoid drowning,
and how sympathetic to their plight

should I be? I admit I am a monster
when they form lines across the counter.

They (and I) wish I were on a sofa
zoning into the NBA finals, or maybe

attempting to mimic the choreography
that follows the irresistible rise of k-pop.

© Carol Dorf, 2020

Let’s have a poetry contest!

When I looked at my phone this morning, I saw the above notification from The Economist on my screen and thought, that could be an interesting prompt. But I wasn’t just interested in writing a poem based on the headline; I wanted to see what other people would write as well. So I’m throwing a quick weekend poetry contest!

All you need to do is write a poem using “the irresistible rise of K-pop, the NBA finals and how ants avoid drowning” in the title and/or the stanzas themselves. Email me your piece by Monday, October 12th at 11:59 pm CST. Send your poem to with a relevant subject line.

Since all contests deserve prizes, I’ll send the winner a $25 gift certificate to the independent bookstore of their choice.

I’m excited to see how this goes. I might make it a monthly thing!

Poetry in a Pandemic: My First Year of PoPoFest

The beautiful assortment of cards I received

I first heard about the Poetry Postcard Festival in 2014; I have several friends who participate every year. I never joined, largely because I was afraid to put up money and then not actually follow through with it. But since I didn’t get to attend any poetry festivals or go on vacation this year, when I saw in Submittable that the 2020 registration deadline was closing soon, I decided to give it a shot. This was a chance to connect with other poets, and to maybe get some postcards from places I’d never been.

I didn’t actually struggle to get my poems out in the month of August. In fact, sitting down to write a tiny poem became the highlight of my month. I gave myself prompts by drawing a card from my Emily Dickinson tarot deck. I then had to tie the theme of the tarot card to the theme of the postcard. I knew that the reader on the other end would never actually see the tarot card I used, but my goal was to write each poem so that you wouldn’t need to know what had prompted me to start it. Usually I wrote my first poem of the day before walking Astrid. I would sometimes write three or four in a day if I was feeling especially inspired.

I also developed an affection for vintage postcards. When I started PoPoFest, I had a sizeable stack of postcards, most of which had come from my various travels. Some, though, were vintage postcards I’d found in antique stores. I found that I had the most fun writing poems for the old-fashioned cards, and when my stack ran out halfway through, I ordered two dozen vintage postcards from an Etsy seller to get me through, with enough to spare for next year. I also found myself especially charmed by the vintage postcards I received. One of my favorites is an old postcard of a Tokyo hotel. Since I had to cancel my trip to Japan this year, that card had an air of serendipity to it. In a time when I’ve been unable to see my friends or attend in-person poetry readings, receiving tiny poems in the mail brought a regular sense of joy and gratitude to the long, stifling days of Texas summer.

Some people in my group were ambitious and got their postcards out early, so I started receiving mail in July. Some people didn’t get their postcards out by August 31st (some people in my group had to deal with the fire situation), but I actually loved how the postcards trickled into September. I felt like it extended the celebration of poetry.

I loved being part of PoPoFest, and I am definitely going to sign up again for 2021. Hopefully we’ll have gotten through this pandemic by next August, but I’ll still cherish the sense of connection that this festival brings.

Coming Full Circle: New Workshop Online this Fall!

I’m writing this from my partner’s family farm in rural Illinois. It’s pretty easy to stay socially distant when you’re 40 miles away from the nearest grocery store. Astrid did great on the drive, and I can’t tell you what a joy it is to leave 105-degree heat for 85. I love summer, but I feel like Texas has gotten hotter the past few years. On my first morning here, we saw a mated pair of bald eagles flying over the farm.

Give her a stuffed toy, a cozy bed, and a kolache. She’s a happy dog!

Just before I left, I signed my contract to teach my first workshop with the Loft Literary Center! When I saw the call for course proposals this spring, I decided to jump at the chance. I’m thrilled to announce that Hawks Don’t Circle: Accuracy and Expansiveness in Nature Poetry is now open for registration! And since their offerings are all online this fall, you can take this course no matter where you live. Don’t live in Minnesota? Intent on maintaining social distancing? Wondering how you can connect with the wilderness in your own back yard? I’ve got you covered!

I first encountered the Loft back in 2013. I was exploring the possibility of doing an online MFA, and trying different online writing courses to see if the format would work for me. I was awarded a scholarship to take Bent Forms: Exploring and Exploding Formal Poetry with Paula Cisewski, and that class still resonates with me. It deepened my appreciation of poetic form, and the writing prompts yielded some rich work from all of the students.

In early 2016, I pitched a course to the Loft. It was one I’d taught before, but back then I was a greener teacher with minimal experience pitching courses and workshops. My proposal was declined, and then I got busy with my MFA, and then I spent nearly two years in MFA recovery. But although the pandemic has taken so much from all of us, in a way it’s also brought me back to some things.

When I submitted my application this spring, I knew that even if my workshop proposal didn’t get accepted, I knew I had definitely grown as a teacher and a proposal writer over the past four years. Putting together an application I was satisfied with, knowing I’d done my level best, was its own reward.

Of course, I was still thrilled to get the acceptance email. While I’m not giving up teaching technical writing anytime soon, I am thrilled to be moving back into the world of creative writing again. Wherever you are, I hope you can join me in September.

A List of Quarantine Projects I’ve Undertaken in Somewhat Chronological order

The old power steering pump
  • Replaced my worn-out power steering pump
  • Tilled up 96 square feet of soil by hand
  • Planted 25 different vegetables, plus marigolds to keep the nematodes away
  • Completed an EP of yoga nidra practices for equinox and solstice
  • Built a hanging rack for my pots and pans, and generally reorganized my entire kitchen
  • Took a level 1 mat Pilates teacher training
  • Assembled and started submitting a new poetry chapbook manuscript
  • Started a new blog endeavor, The Best of It, to record the small niceties in my life
  • Took a course on the Matangi, Durga, and Lasksmi archetypes offered by Chanti Tacoronte-Perez and Stephanie Chee Barea
Warp board
  • Took a course on Buddhism called The Whole Path, offered by Sharon Salzberg
  • Made green tea ice cream
  • Made my first quilt, entirely by hand, using tote bags from End of an Ear
  • Began making a quilt for my friend’s baby
  • Created plans for a quilt to give my aunt and uncle for Christmas
  • Built a warp board for my table loom
  • Learned to make baba ganoush, as well as a few variations
  • Started submitting poetry regularly again
  • Helped Borderlands apply for funding for next year
  • Organized my bathroom cabined
  • Cleaned out my bedroom closet

I hope that, wherever you are, you are as safe as possible, and finding ways to stay happy and fulfilled through quarantine.

Notes on Teaching Under Quarantine

My last meal before quarantine: a giant boat of sushi that I shared with my friend Aneesa at Ichiban in Austin, Texas

I wasn’t surprised when ACC announced it would be switching to 100% distance learning for the remainder of the semester. And as someone who has been teaching at least one online class a semester since I started there, I’m pretty comfortable with the distance format. Because of my experience, I had a relatively easy time converting my classroom courses to online ones. Still, this challenge has given me an opportunity to reflect on my current teaching habits, and how I might shape my courses in the future.

Even students whose classes were already 100% online are struggling. Many of them have lost their jobs. Or they are essential workers, pulling lots of overtime and stressed out. Or their kids are suddenly home and also have to be on the computer all day for their K-12 classes, and there isn’t necessarily enough bandwidth or enough devices to go around easily. Some have even gotten sick. Every student needs to be treated with care right now, even if their course format didn’t suddenly change.

Converting a classroom course to an online course halfway is not the same as teaching a course that was online all along. My fully online courses are being run the same, though with an adjusted course calendar, because the extended spring break was granted to all students. I am also being as flexible as possible with everyone. But the converted courses are being run differently to maintain consistency where I can. Whereas my fully online courses were set up to be asynchronous, I’m running synchronous video sessions during normal class sessions for my classroom courses. Not everyone can attend (for all of the reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph), so I’m making video available after. But trying to maintain some semblance of regular weekly live connection has been helpful. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for how to do this.

Even students who attended live video sessions like being able to watch the replay. Many of my students have reported going back and re-watching the videos to clarify and reinforce information. This has been a great source of insight for me. Although my online classes will still be generally asynchronous, I’m exploring with ways to add a synchronous option once a week for those who want to attend. Then the video will be available for anyone who wants it. I haven’t decided how I want to implement that into established distance learning courses, but it will happen in some shape or form. And while I don’t love the idea of recording my in-person classes (once in-person classes can happen again) and posting them, I’m also wondering if that wouldn’t help student outcomes. It’s definitely something to consider.

Sometimes I still expect too much. This is true for both my students and for myself. In having to adjust all of my course calendars due to losing a week of instructional time, I had a great chance to see where I had too many activities, or was trying to cram in too much content. And there have been times in all of this where my perfectionism has caused me a great deal of stress. But I have to give myself the same sense of grace I do for my students and for my colleagues.

I’m glad I trusted my instincts. In the initial weeks of lockdown, there were a lot of articles about what teachers should or should not do, many of them with very black-and-white stances. Ultimately, I took some advice and rejected other advice. Implementation hasn’t been 100% perfect, but these are nowhere near perfect conditions. I’ve done my best, and most of the feedback from students tells me I made the right decisions for my particular courses.

This has truly been the most challenging semester of my teaching life. I already had a double overload before all of this started. I’ve faced a lot of doubt and overwhelm. But in all that, there has been a great deal of opportunity for reflection, and I think I will come out of this a better teacher.

Die Hard is a Christmas Movie, End of Story

Would walk barefoot down a path
of glass to reunite with your estranged beloved?

Add up all the unkind acts you commit
each day. The unfairly maligned spiders
crushed in their quiet corners. The outburst
at a child disproportionate to the infraction.
The yellow light you run too late, delaying
someone’s right of way. Trace the lineage
of your spite, see how easily the trail
goes cold before you reach the source.

Would you walk barefoot down a path
of glass to save an office full of hostages?

You’ll look at me askew when I say: think
of all the microbes you kill when you eat
a spoonful of yogurt. Think of how an apple
screams when you bite into it. Think of the roots
ripped from the earth so tubers can become soup.
Your almond milk is using up all the water
in California, and when the apocalypse comes,
your high horse will be butchered for meat.

Would you walk barefoot down a path
of glass for anything other than your own martyrdom?

You can write off action films for their
translucent plots, gratuitous explosions,
bad science, pro-capitalist agendas,
and glorification of brawn.

But do we need the hero who walks
on water and comes back from the dead—

Or do we need the hero who should have died
four times and didn’t, and walks barefoot
down paths of broken glass because he knows
that to live in a human body means to break it,
and that to live in this world is to commit violence.

Notes on creativity and community

Today, I had the honor of serving as a guest lecturer in my friend D’Arcy Randall’s poetry class at the University of Texas. D’Arcy asked me to address my editorial work, my efforts at Borderlands, and my own writing. When I thought about how I balance those, and how each feeds my creative life in different ways, the following essay came forth. Many thanks to D’Arcy for letting me be part of her class!

How many of you work on your poetry every day?

How many of you struggle to balance your creative practice with the rest of your life?

How many of you feel guilty if you don’t work on your poetry every day?

How many of you narrow definition of what it means to work on your poetry??

How many of you have a number of shoulds around your creative practice, such as, I should write X number of lines per day, or I should have published a book by now?

Where did those beliefs come from? Where did you learn them? Where did you hear about them?

What convinced you to believe them?

I’ve wrestled with questions like these for much of my adult life. I wrote reams of poetry in middle and high school (with maybe one poem a year worth remembering), but when I got to college, the demands of academic life changed my relationship to my work. At Kenyon College, you couldn’t just sign up for creative writing courses; every semester, you had to submit a writing sample and be selected for workshops. Workshop sections only had 10 slots, and as you’ve probably guessed, there were way more applicants than available seats. By the time I was a junior, I in the midst of my first bout of creative burnout from the stress of having my ability to earn a creative writing concentration determined by constant auditions. I focused on literature instead, and as I moved toward honors courses, poetry became something I worked on in the summers, if at all.

What I didn’t realize then, what I wouldn’t learn until years later, was that the narrow way I defined my creative life—through publishing credits, through the approval of professors, through comparing myself to my peers—was a self-limiting way to go about creative practice. That believing the only way I could call myself a poet was through generating fresh, publishable work on a regular basis was causing more anxiety than inspiration. That being hyper-focused on my own work was cutting me off from the benefits of immersing deeply within a literary community.

When I was 26, I challenged myself to write a new poem every day for a year. I managed this not just for one year, but three. Part of the reason I kept going was because I was so inspired by poet Nathan Brown, who has been writing a new poem every day for well over a decade. However, there came a point where I gave the practice up not because it was too hard, but because it was no longer helping me create the work I wanted. Focusing on creating a brand-new poem every single day didn’t give me the space for revision. Nathan’s practice serves him, but just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it has to work for you. You do not need to be a slave to the writing.

Don’t worry if your writing practice changes over time. Some people will find one practice that works for them through their whole lives. For most everyone else, our practices will evolve as we evolve. I think most of us will actually benefit from being adaptable in our writing lives. Try letting creative practice fit around your life, rather than trying to adapt your whole life around creative practice. Changing doesn’t mean that you’re lazy, or that you’re not committed. It means you’re willing to meet yourself where you’re at, and adjust so that you can be creative in the midst of life’s inevitable fluctuations.

Don’t worry if you go through a phase of life where you don’t seem to attend to poetry at all. I think the idea that we must engage with our craft the same way every single day is unhealthy for most poets. Yes, there will always be a small number of people in the world who do that, and good for them. That’s not the reality for all of us, nor should it be. There are times when we need to step away from our work completely in order to recharge.

Times when I went through long stretches without writing poetry: the second half of college; my first graduate program; my first full-time job, in which I worked over 60 hours a week; after I got hit by a car and had a brain injury; after one of my closest friends died of cancer at 36; after finishing my MFA in poetry.

You don’t have to stop writing in response to difficult life situations. But sometimes, you will want and need to push the pause button. And there are other times when you will want, in fact you will need, to write through stressful situations. Poetry was my lifeline during the months when I was going through a divorce. That was one of the most productive times of my poetic life.

If you get an MFA, there’s a good chance that you will want a long break once you’re done. It happened to me, though I went into my program believing that it couldn’t. After three years, though, I was creatively exhausted, and needed to turn my attention to any and everything else. It took me about a year to recover. Some people need even longer.  

Not that you only need to take a break after an MFA. There may simply be times in your life when poetry doesn’t speak to you. That doesn’t mean you’re no longer a poet. That doesn’t mean you’re not a failure. The whole world is full of ebb and flow. If the soil in the Midwest didn’t freeze every winter, farmers would have a tough growing season the next year. The Earth needs to freeze. On the surface, you see a field lying fallow, covered in ice and snow, nothing growing. Beneath the surface, however, as the soil rests, there’s a flurry of microbial activity that we cannot perceive. During the time of freeze and rest, the soil regenerates and restores itself, preparing for the spring and the next planting season. Sometimes, our creative lives are like that. Sometimes, we need those fallow periods, and it doesn’t do us any good to compare ourselves to someone else’s publication record, writing practice, or success.

While I’m back to writing new work and submitting a manuscript, these days, makes up a small portion of my creative life. While I was ostensibly avoiding poetry, I became administrative director of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. Most of my duties entail nitpicking over budget spreadsheets and applying for grants. I don’t even work on the manuscript until it comes time to do the final proof. If you want to help others share their work, know that it’s both immensely rewarding, and that there’s a lot of unglamorous tasks. Both of those things can be true. It’s not either/or. The work I do for Borderlands still feeds my creative spirit and my literary life. It kept me connected to poetry when I could write.

I’ve co-edited the Texas Poetry Calendar four times now. The work of an editor is quite different from that of an administrator, and has been a wonderful educational experience. Being on the editorial side of things made me more patient with myself as a writer. Each calendar has room for approximately 100 poems. We usually get at least 300 submissions, so roughly three times as many poets as we can even include. Poets can send up to three poems. While some poets just send one or two, most poets send three. My rough estimate is that we end up reading around 800 total poems. So we can only take an eighth of what we receive. I say this not to leave you feeling either overwhelmed at the thought of reading, or demoralized at your chances of getting published. As an editor, I’ve learned just how simultaneously difficult and rewarding it is to read through hundreds of poems and narrow it down to a small selection. The frustration of having to turn down a lovely poem because you’ve just gotten too many focused on hurricanes, birds, or Emily Dickinson (these were the three themes Zoë Fay-Stindt and I found overrepresented as we edited the 2020 calendar). Some thematic confluences are easy to predict: as Gulf Coast hurricanes get more frequent and severe, we find more Texas poets working through their fears and traumas in their poems. But not all of the manifestations of collective consciousness are easy to explain, such as the plethora of poems invoking Dickinson.

After spending so much time on the editorial side, I’ve learned that sometimes good poems get turned down because you can only have so much work about one theme in any given issue. Those of us who still work in print are bound by the limits of how big the journal can be—and some of that consideration involves people on the management side thinking about how much the print run is going to cost. Robert Graves said, “There is no money in poetry,” and it’s true that most of us don’t make a living at it. That being said, when you’re producing a volume, you are forced to reckon with ostensibly unpoetic things such as finances. Being aware of those limitations, experiencing them firsthand, has helped me take the submission process less personally. I still get disappointed when I receive a rejection, but I’m also aware of just how many factors went into making that editorial decision, so I can handle that decline notification with more grace than I have in the past.

Side note: my biggest piece of publishing advice is to read the guidelines, and then read them again, and then read them at least one more time before you prepare your submission. Double- and triple-check to make sure your work meets all the guidelines. Yes, sometimes some editors will give you a pass. But if you’re editing for a publication and can only take 1/8th of the poems you have to read, you’re probably going to be a stickler. I know that I am. You increase your chances of success by being fastidious about following directions. I’ve actually found this to be true in most areas of life.

Yes, things like having a day job or doing errands take time out of your day that you cannot necessarily devote to poetry. Yet I don’t think it’s always helpful to think of these things as hindrances to poetry. Of course, there are some really soul-sucking day jobs that leave you feeling mentally and creatively bereft. I’ve had a few of those, and I still remember what it felt like to put in an 8- or 10-hour day and then come home too worn out to even think about my own work. Once I got out of those jobs, though, I began to see the ways in which my day job, though it takes up a large portion of my day, really frees me up to write poetry. Not all of us want to be a starving artist. I found that my creativity flourished when I was financially secure, and dried up when I was living through periods of unemployment, underemployment, or general financial scarcity. Having a steady job that allowed me to meet my basic needs actually facilitates my creativity, because I feel relaxed. I’m not worried about making rent, and I have the income to go to festivals or afford workshops. Yes, that’s 8, 10, or sometimes even 12 hours a day I don’t have available for writing. It’s also a way to give me the stability I need to write well.

Wallace Stevens sold insurance. William Carlos Williams was a doctor. Art is not a zero-sum game. Yes, you can go too far in either direction. If you get too busy and deplete yourself, you won’t write. But once you find a balance (which admittedly can take a few years), your rich external life can inform your poetry in ways you never imagined. Wendy Barker’s collection One Blackbird at a Time is a book that draws inspiration from her years of teaching. As an educator myself, I love this book, because I feel seen and understood by a fellow educator. Phillip Levine wrote stunning work about his blue-collar jobs. Austin poet Cindy Huyser has a chapbook of poems all about her time as a power plant operator. If life itself is the source of poetry, than many of us are made better poets by going out into the world and working for a living every day.

Early in my poetry education, I somehow got sold the idea that a poet was someone who spent most of their time in isolation, the proverbial starving artist against the world, all alone. Ultimately, the idea of an almost monastic creative existence ran so counter to my personality that I spent most of my college years wondering whether I should try to be a poet at all. Yes, all artists do need their solitude. Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt said, “I can live alone and I love to work,” and I agree that poets, like painters, need to be comfortable with long bouts of solitude. I also believe that the life of poetry is found within community.

You can be deeply immersed in your poetic life without having to produce a new piece of writing. Former Texas Poet Laureate Karla K. Morton wrote that she spends three to five hours every day working on poetry, but that doesn’t always entail writing new work. She says, “If I have nothing new in my head to work on, I pull out previous work and begin editing. I devote some time to reading other poets’ work. Or I work on deadlines for sending poetry out or on upcoming poetry projects. The administrative side of poetry takes more time than we would like, but for those who want to be published, it must be done.” I love Morton’s broad, all-encompassing approach to working on her art. We need to make time for revision and for those administrative tasks. We need to leave time to get inspired from other peoples’ poetry. I find also great value in going to readings, and otherwise involving yourself in the larger creative community. I believe that a creative life is best lived when a poet is able to take a well-rounded approach: balancing their own writing with appreciating the work of others, and balancing a focus on individual artistry with an engagement with the rest of the world.

Nor does all community interaction have to take place in a physical location. Emily Dickinson is famously regarded as a recluse, and yet she had a rich life of written correspondence. As someone who remembers life both before and after home internet, I can say that while I prefer face-to-face interaction, I also have made some of my closest friends and had some of my best collaborations as the result of online interaction. Whether corresponding on paper or through a computer, your community does not have to be defined just by your neighborhood, school, or city.

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits all approach to creative practice, so take the parts of this lecture that resonate with you, and leave the rest. Just remember that much of the writing advice you’ve heard works for some people but not for others, you can change your writing practice whenever you need to, and that your poetry does not have to have an adversarial relationship with the rest of your life.

I believe the best gift you can give your creative life is to find a way to be part of your literary community. How that works into your life is up to you. Whether it’s in-person or online, whether it makes up the bulk of your writing activities or just a tiny portion, you get to decide what role you’re going to play, and how much energy you’re going to contribute. I’ll conclude with a few suggestions that I’ve found useful in my own life.

Ways to Live in Literary Community

  1. Attend open mics and read your work, even if you are afraid.
  2. Attend open mics and just be an audience member.
  3. Challenge yourself to attend one reading or open mic a week for a year. If that’s too intimidating, try it for six or three months.
  4. Go out for dinner or coffee with poets after an event. Or share a potluck together beforehand.
  5. Be sure to tell people what you love about their work.
  6. Promote the work you love.
  7. When people compliment your work, accept their praise with grace.
  8. Give fellow poets who don’t have cars rides to and from events, especially those that take place out of town, when they can’t rely as easily on transportation.
  9. If you have a spare room or couch, offer to host out-of-town poets visiting for events.
  10. Try new things to keep inspiration fresh. Attend readings or talks outside your area of interest. Try a new art form. Get out of your creative comfort zone.

This Space: A Reckoning

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that I hadn’t posted here in over a year. In truth, I almost closed this blog down entirely when it was up for renewal in January. I was aware then that I hadn’t posted in a long time, but I also decided to keep it open just in case. Still, months have gone by, and I haven’t felt an impulse to return. Every now and then I get an impulse to delete the entire thing. Still I can’t quite bring myself to let the site go entirely. It’s my hope that perhaps in writing a post here, I’ll work through some of my thoughts on the matter.

What happened?

The short answer is that I ultimately had a negative experience in my MFA program, and once I graduated, I lost the will to do poetry things. Aside from my weekly haiku exchange with one of my former classmates, I stopped writing poetry (and prose, for that matter) altogether. I stopped attending most poetry events (except for I Scream Social, which is one of the best things Austin has to offer). While I kept reading poetry, I no longer felt any desire to do much in the way of either create my own work, or participate in a poetry community.

What have I been up to?

Since April 2018, I started focusing more on my yoga practice. I started my own business for my teaching practice: Luna Nidra. I started recording meditations and hosting workshops.

I’ve also kept busy in my teaching life at ACC, helping to grow our department. We’ve started hosting more events, and I led the relaunch of our social media presence.

Finally, I’ve been having some amazing adventures, including travel to Mexico City (my favorite), a road trip through New Mexico, and a glorious adventure in Peru this past July.

After my trip to Peru, I started feeling called to write again. I finished an essay that’s out for submission. I revised my manuscript and started sending it out again. And I’ve even written a few poems.

Still, I wonder whether I really want to continue keeping this space. On some level, it’s so deeply connected to a past life: my marriage that ended five years ago, old jobs, old friends, old adventures that are distant memories. I needed that hard break after my MFA, and I am starting to re-emerge as a writer. And yet I don’t necessarily want to return here. When I think about this site, and how much of the past it contains, I’m just not sure I want to keep it.

I’m not making any decisions just yet. Quite frankly, I’d be surprised if there were any readers left to see this after such a long silence. Perhaps I just need a total fresh start with my digital life. I’ll always be writing, but maybe this isn’t the place for it anymore. We’ll see.