The avocado sapling I gifted to my husband years ago has begun to look more like a tree. Swarms of mosquitoes have been feasting on our flesh every time we walk outside. Fireworks are still going off around the neighborhood, even at random times during the day. My husband worries about the animals.
We should catch up since it’s been a while. The pandemic is still ongoing, in case you were wondering, and perhaps will never go away completely. Regardless, I think our lives will never be quite the same. Our “pod” has been fully vaccinated, even though a good portion of the American population continues to disregard the safety of others around them. Fortunately, most people in our area still wear masks in public, but certain other parts of Florida don’t. We have only really started venturing out in the past month or so. We still avoid large public gatherings. We have seen some friends and family, however, which has definitely been the most welcome change to our lives.
I was accepted into the MFA program at FAU. This comes at an unusual time, since I am nearly done with my MA degree in English. However, I am able to transfer over the credits in my current program. I finished taking all the necessary literature classes, so I will be focusing exclusively on creative writing workshops in the future. I’m excited. I’m also looking forward to potential opportunities to teach creative writing as well instead of composition.
Both my husband and I will be returning to campus in the fall. This will be my first time teaching in-person. I am nervous about that, but it will also be nice spending some time with my peers and not having to deal with unresponsive black boxes on Zoom. The break from Zoom over the summer has been very nice.
I’ve been trying to get through the audiobook of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo for months, but it’s just not working out. After taking a truly enlightening class about race in American culture and literature last semester, it makes sense that reading a book like this would just pale in comparison. It’s just bad timing. Throughout the semester, I got to read a lot of Black authors I was never assigned in school. It seems criminal that I never had to read Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, or W.E.B. Du Bois until graduate school! I even had to read Morrison on my own after undergrad, having majored in English. I let my professor know there was an obvious gap in my education and I sought to rectify it. I am so glad I did because the class was revelatory and definitely a highlight of my graduate education so far.
Throughout this summer, I’ve been reading a lot of poetry collections. Last semester, I took my first writing workshop since undergrad, which focused on the lyric essay. Lyric essays fit my writing style and some interesting writing came out of that class. For my thesis, I will be working on a poetry manuscript, but much of my writing bends forms and falls into hybrid categories. Lately, I’ve been interested in letters-as-poems. If you have any recommendations, please reach out! I’ve been reviewing books on my Goodreads.
When I haven’t been reading or writing, I’ve been playing many, many video games. I’ve been gravitating more towards visual novels. Visual novels seem to be much more popular in Japan than here in the U.S., but I’ve grown more interested in what is out there in the genre because: 1) it combines two mediums I love: games and writing, and 2) interestingly, there seems to be a lot of queer creators putting out queer work. The gaming aspect for visual novels typically comes in the form of dialogue choices and branching narratives, which allows for a lot of exploration in nonlinear storytelling. This visual novel binge of mine started with Doki Doki Literature Club (dating sim with meta-horror, which deserves all the trigger warnings) and continued with games such as Our Life: Beginnings and Always (slice-of-life romance with customizable pronouns), Hustle Cat (witches, magic, and a cat café), Red Embrace (gay vampire romance), and The Testimony of Trixie Glimmer Smith (horror mystery with queer cast). As you can see, there is a lot of variety here. I’ve also been forever eagerly awaiting the sequel to Butterfly Soup (queer coming-of-age story about a group of Asian American students in California), which is one of my absolute favorites.
I’ve realized that if it weren’t for day jobs and routine, I would probably be staying up very late every night, possibly into the early morning and waking up around noon. I’ve always be a night owl with a lot of vespertine energy. I am guessing this is true of most introverts, seeing as it is the time that gives us our space and everything is quiet. Most of my creative ideas come to me right before bed. Sometimes I remember them in the morning, sometimes I lose them. If it’s lines for a poem, I try to recite them to myself many times so they stick. In the fall, I will be taking all night classes. This will be a change I’ll be ready for. The sun has always been offensive to me anyway, much like how the poet Brenda Shaughnessy is over the moon.