Thursday, May 1, 2008

Belated one year anniversary

Is it really May 1?

I began this blog April 14, 2007, not quite a month after my father died.

Soon after, Mom was in the hospital for a couple of months. She was then diagnosed with Alzheimer's, so we helped her sell her house and she moved assisted living community (which took some adjustment, but now she's enjoying all the activities, new friends and support combined with independence).

In addition to charting those events, my blog has followed some of the lowlights and highlights of a crazy year.
In a year's time, we humans continued our violent ways, with everything from a college massacre to the escalation of an insane war (a redundancy), to other hate killings (another redundancy).

I grappled a lot in my life with, but only a little in the blog with, the current Presidential contest.

We lost a famous hater . We also lost a remarkable lover of words and life.

We faced more environmental devastation in California, as well as a little rattle n roll and some pretty big burn. Well, they do say that California's four seasons are: earthquake, fire, flood and mudslide.

My literary life was rich in many ways this year. I did a few readings (here and here ) and had some poems, stories and essays published (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here ). I even got paid a few times.

In other ways, my literary life sucked.
The small press that had accepted my novel and was even working on a book cover closed up shop, and my novel was reverted to a manuscript yet again. This is the novel that came *this close* to being published by a major publisher as well.

I decided to part with my agent and have discovered he has left the biz and is now in "kitchenware retail."

If all this instability grates on us writers, I was delighted to find out there's a lit mag that guarantees rejection, so here's a place to submit with no guess-work.

To keep myself engaged and refreshed as a writer in a writing community, I went to hear some other writers read their work...and more and more and more and more ...

I met a blog friend in real time when he came out here all the way from Atlanta to give a reading to my students.

I worked on the research for my historical novel (and still am doing so). I also worked on two new projects, a memoir and a weird new blog thingy.

I was lucky to be able to travel. To come together and begin healing from my father's loss, my sisters, Mom and I went to Hawaii and were met with a hurricane, but we also faced down some gorgeous water, palm trees, mountains and Mai Tais.

I loved it there so much I just had to go back with Annie during winter break.

I got an insanely hectic new job, which led to my interviewing Alice Sebold on stage, hanging out with Salman Rushdie and Dorothy Allison and Kimiko Hahn and ZZ Packer, among others.

As part of the job, I've developed next season's slate of writers. It will be nice to see my work unfold next semester, a kind of shadow of my co-directorship since I'm stepping down.

Running literary events was a great ride, but it's too much work for the equivalent of teaching one class. Instead, I'm going to teach and kick-ass on my writing....beginning with a focus this summer on writing, non-emergency family time and as much peace as is possible in this restless world.
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