Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reflections on the first semester

Just attended a "collaborama" sponsored by the students in Robin Behn's collaboration class. Some hits, some misses. Overall: silly fun. Martone pointed out to some of us standing around in the lobby afterwards that we wouldn't have had this experience (or anything like it) at many of the schools we were looking at. This fueled a moment of introspection on my experience at the University of Alabama creative writing program so far.

Firsts this semester: many cities and states (Denver, St. Louis, Florida, Chicago, Atlanta), Gulf Coast, the Atlantic, tailgating southern-style, authentic southern BBQ, working on a lit mag, linguistics class, losing a toenail, drinking beer and grain whiskey with professors, feeling like a career having something to do with writing is feasible.

High points of the semester: Beaches, workshopping my first story in a graduate workshop, BWR meetings, the Downtown Pub (DTP), Laser Decadence, successful tutoring sessions, and of course movie nights with my neighbor, Tim.

I truly love it here. I feel privileged and grateful to be paid to do something that I love, to be learning alongside such talented people, to feel supported and encouraged by the faculty and entrusted with my own education. Tuscaloosa isn't such a drag if you're a homebody like me who never lived in an exciting city like Chicago. Sure, I miss having a wide variety of delicious brunch spots to choose from. I miss the public transportation, the grocery store options, the independent movie theater, the symphony, the theater, the excellent restaurants. But I enjoy the weather, the antique stores, the down home cooking, the "sir" and "ma'am" mentality, and the frankness and friendliness of the people.

So. First semester gets great reviews.

More than anything, I miss Andy. But we're doing well. We're doing us proud. I'll see him in a week and we'll have nearly a month together before the next long stretch. What a great Christmas present.
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