In May, Another Easter

Somehow, it is May 16, 2019.

May 16 already.

Ten days ago, my cousin would have turned 38. His beagle, who is now my beagle, is whining in his crate. Beagles, if you don’t know, are beautiful and complicated and a little bit of mess. Beagles are like people when it all comes right down to it.

Last week I had a dream about my cousin. We were driving and catching up. We both knew that he had died. “Yeah,” I said, “but tell me. What’s it like?” I was pointing to the sky. I felt bad for asking, like I was violating some secret. It’s not that I needed certainty, but here I was, staring at it. Here I was, staring at Easter.

“Yeah,” I said, “but tell me. What’s it like?”

“You can’t even begin to imagine,” he said.

“Good,” I can picture myself saying. “Good,” I said. “I thought so.”

The Knitting Circle, Goodreads, and My Grammy

From 2012.  Still true.  In the intervening time, I’ve done some of things Grammy did. I understand more.  I understand better. 


I got this in my inbox today.

Of all the social media services I use, Goodreads is the one I clearly use  least.

I finished those last 46 pages in 2009.  In August of that year, I started my first fiction workshop at The New School, taught by Kitting Circle author Ann Hood.

It’s impossible to overstate the impact Ann had on our class.  She’s an amazing teacher, graceful and assertive in the kind of measures that let you know you have work to do, and that she believes you can do it.  The cadre of writers I met in that setting will say the same thing.  Those peers became friends in the course of Ann’s workshop, and those friendships were strengthened over the course of the next two years.

In the last 1020 days, I have, indeed, finished reading The Knitting Circle.  I’ve studied under Ben Taylor, James Lasdun, Robert Antoni, and Jeff Allen. I’ve worked alongside amazing emerging talent and have been blessed to call these people friends. I can’t say enough about what each of these people have given me or what their influence means to me.  I know I can finish what I’ve started because of the experiences I’ve had which each of them.

In May, I’ll celebrate the one-year anniversary of my MFA.  By then, I will have completed a draft of the novel I started halfway trough that program.  My grandmother, a key inspiration for that work, passed away this week. One of many great things you learn from Bob Antoni and Ben Taylor is that grandmothers are the keepers of our stories.  Theirs is the language of home.  Through Grammy, I’m connected to worlds I’d never begin to understand otherwise.  Grandmothers are emissaries from history, bridges between eras, nurturers of the present, caretakers of the future.

Whatever Ann and James and Bob and James and Jeff taught me, Grammy taught me first. She bought me books and encyclopedias, told me stories from her family on the farm.  She read us Laura Ingalls Wilder. She gave us a vernacular.  She helped run a business and she raised a family.  An extended family.  So much of who we are is simply her.  So much of who I am.

What else can one say?