Monday, March 21, 2016

The Jet Setter Life

Somehow it's already Spring Break, and unless I go on to get a PhD, or if I end up working in an academic environment, it may be my last official Spring Break ever! I was going to stay home and be diligent and work on my thesis, but some good friends talked me out of it. Instead I'm going to San Francisco! I haven't been since I was sixteen years old, so I'm excited to visit the Bay Area as an adult.

I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I'm going to San Jose. That's where I'm flying in, as the lovely Ashley makes her home in Sunnyvale, and I will be staying at her humble abode for the next several days. But I will certainly make my way across the bay to San Francisco, and maybe some other towns. We'll see. Hopefully I'll also get to visit Jane, lexicographer extraordinaire! I don't have any specific plans as of yet, but it's kind of nice when vacations are open like that. I can give free rein to my whims.

But my travel won't end with San Francisco--oh no. I'm the woman who took 24 separate flights last year, so I can't slack off in 2016. Of course, I won't be taking a flight to my next destination, but rather a car. On Wednesday the 30th I'll be driving with Austin and Olivia to Los Angeles for my third year straight at the AWP Conference. (Last year it was in Minneapolis, the year before in Seattle.) There I shall attend all the "what to do with your post-MFA life" panels, as my post-MFA life is approaching rather quickly. I'll be staying with Katie up in Los Feliz, and hopefully we'll be going to lots of wonderful off-site readings--as everyone knows that the after-hours, off-site readings are the best part of AWP.

I don't want to neglect the East Coast, so the weekend after AWP, I'll be heading to Florida with my mom for a miniature family reunion. The Boyds and the Kappelhofs will all be there. Lots of small children. Also humidity. I haven't been to Florida since 2012 (or perhaps early 2013? can't remember), so it should be fun.

In preparation for all the upcoming city-hopping, I've been working on my thesis furiously for the past week or so. I have to format it and print it and give it to my committee in the few days between San Francisco and AWP. And then the week that I return from Florida, I defend it! April 14th at 10:00 a.m., to be exact. And then...yeah. Like I said, post-MFA life. I'm working on it.

What else? I have a bit of event fatigue at the moment, as Black Mountain Institute has been hosting some amazing writers lately. On March 10th, Catherine Lacey came to read for the Emerging Writers Series. (You can read my review of her book Nobody Is Ever Missing here.) I was on the committee that selected her to visit, so I was lucky enough to introduce her before her reading. Visual proof of this, courtesy of BMI:

I make silly faces when I speak, but I rock vintage French dresses.

Last Monday BMI put on a fantastic panel called "Breaking Silence: Women Writers, Uncomfortable Truths," featuring investigative journalist Sally Denton, journalist/poet Eliza Griswold, and poet/nonfiction writer/recent National Book Critics Circle Award winner Maggie Nelson. It was a fascinating discussion, got me all fired up about writing. There was only one uncomfortable moment; Maggie Nelson was talking about gender fluidity, and then Eliza Griswold, who's spent a great deal of time in Afghanistan, jumped in to say that there was more gender fluidity in Afghanistan than people might expect--but the example she brought up was a warlord whose fourth "wife" was actually a little boy. I couldn't believe nobody pointed out to her that she was not talking about gender fluidity, but rather child abuse. There is a big difference between gender fluidity and child abuse. Other than that gaffe, though, it was an excellent panel.

On top of all that, Neon Lit was last Friday. I was almost late, however, because I was adding to my passport stamp tattoo sleeve! France and Morocco live on my arm now. We're already getting to the peeling stage of the healing process--but that means the itchy stage is not far off...

Alright. I have to hit the sack because my PMS is making me feel like I haven't slept in weeks. Not that you need to know that. At any rate, wish me a bon voyage!

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