Goings On

I’ve been lax in posting here lately. Sometimes the number of things I have to keep track of gets overwhelming. So, I thought I’d mention some of what I’ve been busy with over the past month.

In January, the first issue of Flycatcher: A Journal of Native Imagination went live. We’ve received some great feedback, which makes the long hours we put in all worthwhile. I’m especially proud of being able to help emerging writers get their work in front of an audience. Now it’s time to gear up for Issue 2, due out this summer.

Also in January, I began working as a graduate research assistant with the Georgia Writers Association. I’ll be editing their monthly newsletter and helping out at workshops held on the second Saturday of each month.

One of my poems is published in the latest issue of The Cleveland Review, which I’m particularly happy about because I’m from Cleveland. I was thrilled when I discovered this fairly new publication several months ago.

And then there are my classes. I’m taking two this semester, which didn’t sound like too many when I registered, but which I now realize are two rather work-intensive courses. The good news though is that when this semester is over, I’ll just have one more class to take. My focus will shift to my capstone project, which I’ll be starting in the fall, assuming I get my proposal done this semester. Oh yeah, my proposal . . . .

First Time

Last December, I published my very first essay, in the anthology Oil and Water . . . and Other Things That Don’t Mix. The book was a creative response to the BP oil spill and we authors hoped to raise a good sum of money to help the struggling gulf coast.

As time goes on, people forget how outraged they were when the spill happened. They forget that the people who live along the gulf coast are still dealing with the aftermath.

I was happy to learn today that a new review of Oil and Water has been published by the African American Literature Book Club. It’s great to see the anthology back on people’s minds. I hope the review generates more interest and more donations.

And, with this review I’ve experienced another first–my writing has been quoted for the first time! Thanks, Robert Fleming.

Worth It

At times I’ve wondered if going back to school was the right decision. I mean, couldn’t I have learned the writing craft by reading good books, by listening to webinars, by participating in virtual critique groups? Couldn’t I have done this on my own?

Maybe. But then I would have missed out on what is probably the most important benefit of being in school: People. More precisely, people with similar interests and goals. Yes, I’d met similar souls online on various message boards. But I never truly felt connected to a community of writers like I do now. Even us solitary types need coworkers to bounce ideas off of or to vent our frustrations to.

And school has also provided opportunitites I wouldn’t have otherwise had. For example, last spring I took a class on social media for which I had to write a paper that is going to become a chapter in a published book. I saw the proof yesterday, and I can tell you it’s inspirational to see your name printed at the top of each page destined to become part of a tangible product. This particular work won’t define me–it was, after all, first and foremost a class assignment. But it’s one more push forward, toward the career I want to have. And it’s a publishing credit I wouldn’t have sought on my own.

Just one more reason I’m glad I took on the challenge of becoming a student once again.