It’s been a while, no?
I flew down to Tucson in October and existed for almost three months without internet access, except when at the library. It was glorious and isolating, both at the same time. I got a lot of writing done, and read a lot, and watched DVDs on the small TV screen we have here. (You remember DVDs, right?)
Mike and Seriously flew down last month and now we’re back online and, I’m ashamed to say, I’m once again madly zipping from one site to another and wasting time when I should be writing.
But enough of online life woes. The big news?
My essay Leaving Seward was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the editors of Bosque Journal. I’m honored and excited because people, I worked hard, hard, hard on this essay. It took me years to complete and, if I may say so myself, it turned out rather fine.
Here’s a segment from the middle of the essay:
I moved to Seward the autumn of the year my son left for college, the apartment where we lived for years smelling small and closed as I wandered through his old bedroom late at night, picking up the books and the things he left behind. I raised him as a single mother, with little money but a lot of determination, and once he was gone I was filled with the type of grief you feel after endings, when you know it’s permanent, when you know you’ll never have that time or moment back again. I curled on the couch with the cats and dog, my stomach aching with regret for all the things I wish I could do over: The second grade play that I missed after a graduate class ran late; the trip to the California beach that I had to cancel due to a job promotion; the afternoon I arrived late to a music recital because I was writing and lost track of the time. I cried often as I packed, as I decided what to keep and what to leave behind, what was precious and what was simply a piece of life I could never have back again.
The day I left damp leaves filled the air and the morning was crisp and hard, like biting into an apple. I drove a U-Haul truck from Anchorage, where I had lived for over twenty years, loaded with everything I owned, which wasn’t much. After I unpacked in Seward, I stood at the window of my rental house and looked out over the mountains, less than three blocks from the house. It was dark by then but I could feel their presence, an omnipotent force that loomed over the town so that no matter what I was doing, running or walking the dog or driving in the rain, I knew they were there, much the way you always know that your family is in the house with you, even when you can’t see or hear them.
It wasn’t like I was in love; it wasn’t like that at all. I wasn’t even infatuated. It was something else, something deeper than love, more instinctual. It was like the feeling you get when you lick a cut, when you taste the surprise of your own blood.
And my essay Random Notes From a Summer of Alaska Trail Running was accepted for an upcoming issue over at Sport Literate, my all-time favorite literary magazine.
So life has been good, or at least mostly good, or at least good for short and long periods of time. I haven’t been able to run, due to a stress fracture I picked up while running 47 miles in a race, but the upside is that I’ve been writing like crazy. So yeah, it’s not a bad life here in the desert.
I survived the holidays, mostly intact.