Saturday, November 19, 2011

Forgetting Myself

I'm at a party or in a bar, and the question comes up. 

"What do you do?"
"I'm a deputy director at a business improvement district." 

Right, what does that mean?

I'm part of a team that works to make downtown a better, more livable place. I talk about how the organization helps support local business owners. I talk about the Downtown Ambassadors, the visitor center, special events and advocacy. I talk about how I like making a difference in my community. 

One of my friends will say, "AND?"

Oh, right. I'm in graduate school. I'm working toward an MFA in Creative Writing at Fairfield University. I'm writing a book. 

Why do I forget to mention that part? It's not that I don't think it's important. It is important. It might be the most important thing I've ever done for myself. But sometimes I forget I'm doing it. It's a lot of work, but it doesn't feel like work. I'm doing something I love and pursuing a dream. One that seems more attainable than, say, dancing with Gene Kelly. 

Maybe I don't mention it because it is kind of private. As private as writing a memoir can be. I'm shy about it. Yes, me.

Maybe I think people won't care, or won't get it. I have to get over it. 

It's what I do and who I am. I'm a writer.

Monday, November 07, 2011


By Thanksgiving weekend, my last packet for this semester will be in the mail. Another thirty plus pages of original work and three critical essays on the books I'm reading are all due by November 20th. This means I am (almost) halfway to completing my MFA. Holy. Crap. I am actually doing this. It still amazes me. A year ago I was getting ready to leave for my very first residency. I was a wreck. I didn't know if I could really do this or how I would manage. Balance my full-time job and the MFA and all my community work (yeah, I took on two board positions AFTER I started the program. I know.)? How?

Guess what. I'm doing it. Not brilliantly, but I'm not half-assing it either. I'm learning how to manage my time, how to focus when I need to and how to say no to things. That's the tricky part. Saying no means sometimes feeling like I'm letting people down. But saying yes to too many things means my work (and my health, mental and physical) suffer.

If anything has "suffered" it's been my social life. My friends are not only understanding about the "New Haven Maven" becoming "Daisy the Disappeared", they are supportive and encouraging and loving. Even when I don't show up to Trivia for weeks at a time. Even when I ask if we can meet for coffee on a weekday afternoon instead of dinner and drinks on Saturday night. They want me to succeed, they believe in me. I love them for it.

So, two semesters down and two to go. A third semester project and my thesis are down the road a piece. And somewhere in there are holidays with my family, residencies on Enders Island, work events in the Have, board meetings fortieth birthday. Yikes! And, hooray!