May 2nd. Time for an update. Seriously time for an update. If we were having coffee (ideally an iced T-Bones cold brew with almond milk), I’d tell you about yesterday. The last day of classes. I was at work, working the desk (for the last time) at the Writing Center that morning, when a young man walked in. He wasn’t there for tutoring — instead, he held this up to me and said, “Is this you?”
Apparently he saw this at T-Bones Record Store & Cafe and bought it because he recognized my name: He was in an online class I taught a year ago. “Is it okay if I have some questions about some of the poems?” At which point it occurred to me that, once my book has found a publisher, this might well happen again. Repeatedly. Because then, it won’t just be my name, there will likely also be a small author photo on the back.
I was well chuffed that he didn’t just notice the chapbook, he bought it and read it attentively enough to want to know more. Kind literate folk, if you read something you enjoy — particularly something put out by a small press / poetry press — and tell the author, it will quite probably make her day. I know it did mine.
Last night was also the last Center for Writers graduate reading, and even though I was not on the playbill, I was nervous and excited about it all day. One of the students from my poetry workshop had been invited to read some of her work, and I really wanted her to have a good experience. I think she did. The work she read was strong, and she appeared confident and professional as she read. All the poems were from this semester, and written for my class. Even though it’s hardly anything I can take any credit for, I was proud of her for getting picked and doing so well.
One more shift at the Writing Center, one stack of portfolios to grade, and one set of grades to enter, then my 4 year stint at USM is over. I am still waiting to hear back about some jobs and fellowships I applied for, and of course am holding my breath for news about my book manuscript. Having a book under contract would make the job search a great deal easier, as many of the openings require applicants to have a book. Fingers crossed.
That said, I did it. I got my PhD.