10 years ago, in Boston

I was visiting my potential grad school–Boston U–listening in on a workshop. Terrified, feeling completely incompetent. As wonderful as the workshops at my undergrad were (and are, I trust), I felt suddenly country-bumpkin, as unsophisticated and Fayette-County as they come. What is “ekphrastic”? I wondered. I shrunk back, watching, as the poets delicately picked apart the poem (with the poet sitting there coolly), fishbones from a fish. As much as the workshop scared me, the Poet inspired me. A normal guy with a head full of poetry, spouting off his favorites from memory, guiding the class.

Moving to Boston for gradschool was one of the scariest most exciting things I’ve ever done. I don’t think I could’ve done it, had I not been married to Bryan and had him to go with me. Living as a transplant in a complete world away from Tennessee taught me as much about myself (and my husband) as the classes taught me about poetry.

And, as impractical as an MFA sounds (and can be), it allowed me to teach at a wonderful little christian university, and to eventually teach online part-time from home while I homeschool my daughters. God blessed me with a career that doesn’t make sense at all on paper–a poet?!–and enabled me to not only continue to do what I love career-wise but also live the life I love everyday, focusing on the people I love.

I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to the traditional classroom any time this decade–homeschooling and babies are too much fun to give up– but I’m grateful for that time I did have on one side of the syllabus and on the other.


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