Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Name Dropping

I survived my first residency at VCFA. If you want to read about what residency is like, head over to my classmate Lisa Papademetriou's blog or learn a little about my faculty adviser Kathi Appelt at Through the Toll Booth.

As some of you know, I also took a jaunt up to Montreal for a couple of days after residency and climbed Mont Royal, watched Shakespeare in the Park, ordered some food in French, visited a library and saw a lot of churches. Here are some pictures:

Now that you're all caught up on my life, I really need to get back to homework. I've still got a ton of reading and writing to get done before Monday (like ten pages of creative work, one more critical essay [which is almost finished] and four books for my annotated bibliography). But I'll leave you with a new list: a few books by my classmates. (Sorry if I missed any of you! Let me know and I'll update the list.)

Haiti Noir by Ibi Zoboi
Lantau Life by Jane Houng
The Moon Came Down on Milk Street by Jean Gralley
Sixth-Grade Glommers, Norks, and Me by Lisa Papademetriou
The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph
Tina Cocolina: Queen of the Cupcakes by Pablo Cartaya
Little Lions, Bull Baiters & Hunting Hounds by Shelley Ann Jackson

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Life Ever Changing

As I sit here, taking a break from packing for grad school, I can't help but think about all the different adventures I've had in my life. I left home when I was 17 for an internship in our governor's press office, and I feel as though I've been on the road ever since. In my eyes, that's not a bad thing. I've been lucky enough to put down roots in many different places across the United States, and no matter where I am, I'm never in want of a friend.

Getting my master's degree in creative writing for children and young adults wasn't exactly in my life plan, but now that I'm about to embark on this new chapter in my life, it feels so right. My roots will extend a little farther, and my experience will extend a little further.

I feel I need to make a little disclaimer about my grad program attendance. While I often post highlights from book talks, writing conference and literary events on this blog—and will continue to do so—the content of the lectures I attend, communications with my advisors, discussions with my fellow students, etc. will not be shared on this blog. That doesn't mean I won't post my personal, general impressions and pictures of outings with classmates, but the content of the program will not be featured.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Storm Update

Growing up in tornado country, you spend a lot of time cleaning up after storms. You spend at least one weekend every summer shoveling muck out of a basement, cleaning up downed branches or picking up debris. And then serving a mission for my church in hurricane alley... Well, let's just say I saw my fair share of floods, over-turned trailers, uprooted trees and water-logged garbage.

But I've always been the lucky one. My home has always felt like the calm in the storm. Knowing my mom and dad would take care of us, that the power would be turned on soon, and that friends and family would be there if things didn't turn out so well.

This weekend has been a strange mix of the two. While I was without power for only 25 hours and I had plenty of nonperishable food and emergency supplier on hand, many people in my community haven't been so lucky. None of the stores have reopened, a lot of the traffic lights are not yet working, many cars are still buried by branches and the garbage is piling up everywhere. Emergency services still haven't been fully restored, and there is a lot of uncertainty around here. Probably the worst part is that I didn't have my family right around the corner to help.

Then again, I had several friends come and check on me when our cellphones weren't working. Another friend invited me to spend the hottest part of day at her pool and then welcomed me into her home to charge my phone, check my email and get some homework done. Though she had family visiting, another friend made up a bed for me so I didn't have to spend the night alone in my overheated apartment, and yet another friend two states away was ready to have me as a last-minute houseguest if my power hadn't been restored.

I still don't know when everything is going to be back to normal. Heck, I don't even know if my office will have power in the morning. But what I do know is that even when the unexpected happens, there are always people willing to help.