DECISION MADE, now hopefully I can sleep

PC

I have decided to go to Pacific University in Oregon for my MFA. I have been agonizing over this decision for a few weeks. Mainly at 3 a.m. I have weighed overall coolness, faculty, accessibility, time off work and away from family, costs, what I want to get out of each program, what I want my life to look like in 3 years, and how amazing it would be to meet Meghan O’Rourke and Nathan Englander and study in Paris as well as studying with Marvin Bell and Dorianne Laux in the Pacific Northwest. What it came down to for me really is that my goal is to study in a community of artists who will help me grow as a writer. My entire experience so far has indicated that I can most get what I need from the Pacific program. I may be wrong, and I may regret it, but I doubt it. I am not looking for the sexiest program, I am looking for the one that will give me the space and time I need to become the writer I know I can be.

My children are disappointed. My dad doesn’t know yet but he will be disappointed as well – he wanted to come to my graduation in Paris, not an hour outside of Portland. Joe is only disappointed that I find it necessary to leave for a month a year to study writing, so he will be neutral.

You, my gentle reader, might think I’m crazy. (And I am laughing to think any of my readers are gentle.) Why Oregon instead of France? Why a smallish university instead of NYU? Well it’s complicated. But it’s the right choice for me.

The other difficult decision was to defer my start date to January. I just started my new job, I have to finish up my undergrad, and I really want to start completely focused on writing. It is not in my strengths to put things off for later, and January seems so far away! But the truth is it will be here in a second, as time speeds up for me every day.

So in nine months I will leave on an adventure and end up with a graduate degree. Those of you lucky enough to follow me on the adventure may even wind up with a signed copy of my first book. And if you’re interested, here’s a poem I wrote the last time I went to Portland 3 years ago:

 

Omissions

 

I cannot tell you
about the daffodils
standing against the sky,
the sheets on my bed at night,
or the wine on my lips,
bitten in memory.

I cannot tell you
about the maple table
scarred like our butcher’s,
ceramic platters of lamb and beans,
two solid silver spoons, dripping
honey on figs.

I cannot tell you
how the snow itself
united in weighty bundles
streaming past the windows
and troubled tree limbs,
empty with moss.

I cannot tell you
our son lay twitching,
from fever dreams, florid cheeks,
red lips parted with scraping breath.
How he woke, called for you,
damp in panic.