Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Twenty Years Ago Today

I am a sophomore at Camp Lejeune High School in North Carolina. My best friend M.H. was a year behind me in school, but for reasons that are unclear now we took a Phase 5 English class together (i.e., advanced English class). Around this time our teacher Miss B. passed around pamphlets advertising the University of Virginia’s Young Writers Workshop. I expressed my interest to my parents and Miss B., and I ended up during the summer of 1986 studying short stories for one or two weeks in Charlottesville, Virginia. While attending the YWW, I met B.L. and feel in love for the first time. B.L. was studying poetry at the YWW, and she lived in Charlottesville. I had a chance to see B.L. twice afterwards because my grandmother lived nearby in Lynnhurst, Virginia. I attended the YWW the following summer to study fiction again, but B.L. had moved away. I would write a poem sixteen years later that was inspired by my memories of B.L. and dedicate the poem to her. This poem would become my first legitimate publishing credit (my wife was thrilled about this).

Ten Years Ago Today

I am living with my parents in Richmond, Virginia and wrapping up my third semester in my M.F.A. program at Virginia Commonwealth University where I am studying poetry. My future wife and I have been dating for close to nine months. I am preparing for exams, writing literature papers, and writing poems. I teach creative writing at The Governor’s School to gifted high school students and act as a teacher’s assistant in the main office. The year 1995 was one of the happiest years in my life.

Five Years Ago Today

I am living in a Charlottesville, Virginia apartment with my wife. We have been married for a little over two years. A few months earlier I was offered a promotion at work, and I’m now working as a Cost Accountant in the Finance department of the University of Virginia Medical Center. I have written very little since I finished graduate school due to feeling burned out creatively, but I am reading shelves of poetry, philosophy, and the great novels trying to fill in some gaps in my education.

One Year Ago Today

I am living in Orange County, Virginia with my wife. I am writing new poems and revising older poems. I am reading far less. I have been submitting my poems to many literary magazines, and about this time I receive the third literary magazine that published one of my poems during the year. I have been a Benchmarking Coordinator for the UVA Medical Center for a year and nine months, and I am recovering from last week’s benchmarking deadline and taking things slow at work. I am three months into a trial period of taking on some additional manager responsibilities. I have not started my Christmas shopping.


I am recovering from last week’s benchmarking deadline and reviewing my assigned departments for November month end. Tonight I will go to an employee appreciation sale at the University of Virginia Bookstore to look for some Christmas gifts. I also plan to go to Alderman Library to return two books and check out two new books. I am preparing an application package for a residency at an artist colony where I hope to stay in for a week next year. My goals is to come away from the residency with a finished or near finished collection of poems. I am wondering when the hell one of my wife’s Christmas gifts will show up in the mail. I am expecting my South Dakota Review contributor copies any day now.


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