Hi friends and family! Thanks for being patient all summer. Many of you were able to visit with me during the various months since my last blog (or maybe you’ve been seeing my FREQUENT social media updates….), so you’re a little caught up with how Chicago life has been lately. For those of you who weren’t able to, here’s your update (or for those that don’t care, you can skip to the numbered list because before that it’s literally like, me-centric and I feel kind of bad)
I won’t bore you with the anecdotal week-by-week happenings. But I split my time between Texas and Chicago, naturally. I don’t miss Texas summers, that’s for sure. 98 in Chicago is not the same as 98 in Houston, and I know you know which one I prefer. I also took two family trips: one to Arkansas, as is tradition, and one to Oregon. I hadn’t been back to Oregon in nearly 7 years, so it was a great trip, both for the company and the scenery. Waterfalls were hiked to, Indie Bookstores were browsed, birthday parties were had.
Now, I’m back in the Windy City for the time being! Classes started up today for Columbia – finally – so I’m back in the swing of things. But! There are quite a few new developments in my sphere, and I’m excited about all of them. Ready?
- First and foremost, I’m most excited about announcing the launch of our Literary Magazine Arcturus, a sister site to Chicago Review of Books, which you all know I contribute book reviews and interviews for. For Arcturus, I’m taking a bit larger role: I’m the Managing Editor, and I’m proud to get this magazine out into the world today! If you, or any of your friends, have place-themed writing (or art or comics!), send them over to the magazine to check out our Submissions Guidelines! We’d love to read/view your work!
- I accepted a job as a Graduate Ambassador for the Fiction Program at Columbia. What this means is I’ll be the go-to for incoming and prospective graduate students. I’ll also be updating a blog for Columbia called Marginalia where I’ll be doing similar writing to what I do here, except more specific to “Fiction MFA Life.” I’ve already been to a few events where I’ve met the incoming graduate students, and I think I’m gonna have a lot of fun being the Ambassador for the next two semesters.
- I guess these next things aren’t new, but I’ll be teaching again this Fall. A new course, however. Still Writing & Rhetoric, but a pre-requisite to the one I taught in the Spring. I think I’ll enjoy the change in material. Also, I’m taking a class called Literary Magazine Editing for a different literary magazine called Hotel Amerika. It worked out that I’ll be taking a how-to class at the same time I’m running head-first into Arcturus, a fledgling journal that’s basically getting kicked from the nest and told to learn to fly on the way down. It’s not as harsh as that, but maybe just as thrilling…
- For those of you that might have missed it, I got my first short story published this summer! If you care to check it out: “When You Leave”
- I read the new Harry Potter book (thoughts are too plentiful to be in this blog). Would do many, many things to be able to see the play in London.
- Spent the 4th of July at Wrigley Field, so THAT was the most American thing I’ve ever done
- Went white-water rafting down a freezing cold river in Oregon and had one of the greatest days in my life doing it.
- Hiked to a waterfall with my siblings during that same trip, also a memorable day, albeit with sore feet at the end
- Read a book by a Chicago-local author and she was so thankful for my glowing review (it was well earned, I assure you) that she asked to meet up with me and it was a surreal and awesome experience.
- Was smitten with and then quickly disillusioned by Pokemon Go, as was the whole world.
- Found out that Madison, WI and Portland, OR are very similar to Austin, TX and I am having serious questions about why I can’t live everywhere at once.
- SPIRO AND I HAVE TICKETS TO SEE HAMILTON: THE MUSICAL IN CHICAGO IN OCTOBER AND I HAVE LITERALLY BEEN COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS UNTIL I GET TO GO (only 50 more)
Other than that, I’m still reading a lot (free time, for CHIRB, and for class), trying to enjoy the city before it gets too cold (though I’m not dreading the winter like most), and Spiro and I are doing our best to become “meal preppers”for the semester. Always good in theory, but practice might be a little harder…
I’ve got a lot of good vibes and energy going into this semester. Let’s hope I can sustain it!
OH AND OF COURSE. The whole reason I’m here: writing. My goal was to have 100 pages of my thesis completed this summer. Now, I’m sure the grads above me are laughing, because I know *I* am. I set the bar pretty high, and yet I don’t consider it a failure that I didn’t reach it. I wrote two full stories this summer, and edited another a great deal. So, even though I only have about 75 pages, I call it a win. I still have three semesters left, after all. (Please, don’t comment on how fast it’s moving… I KNOW)
Here are bonus pictures for making it to the end of this blog; Spiro being cute with a dog, and a timely #tbt of Spiro and me as Ash and Misty back in high school (you’ll probably wanna click on it ….)