somewhere i have never traveled

“It was one of the more romantic legends in the family, the tale of how she had come to Wales for a holiday, fallen shatteringly in love with a young Welsh farmer, and never gone home again.”

                                     – Susan Cooper, The Grey King, a book in The Dark is Rising sequence 


If only life could be a little more like your favourite book, yes? I read those lines at thirteen and resolved that that was the sort of life I wanted to have – though I’ve put poetry and teaching in place of that young farmer. I can trace a lot of things back to those books and that moment: a strange fascination with sheep farming, a deep, abiding love of Arthurian tales, and above all, an utter yielding to the siren song of Wales.

Last year, I had the chance to undertake a PhD dissertation in poetry at Aberystwyth University on the west coast of Wales — and then I lost it. My dissertation supervisor accepted a prestigious position at another university and I was unable to pull resources together in time to follow her to this new location. Recently, I was given a second chance at this wonderful opportunity – another professor at Aberystwyth, a poet, saw my dissertation proposal and contacted me about working with her instead. I’ve spent the last several months trying to make that happen: I will be working with a brilliant poet on a three-year dissertation of my own design, culminating in both an academic thesis and a full manuscript of my own creative work.

I’m nearing the final stretch here – my leave date is less than three months away! And though I’ve been scrimping and saving since Aber contacted me again last October, I could still really use your help. Sepcifically? Travel costs! A four-hour drive, ten hour flight, and my very first ride on a train stand between me and taking up my studies at Aberystwyth.

My goal is to raise $1,000 to go toward travel to the UK; if I somehow exceed that goal, I’ll stash the extra money away to start a savings fund for my first trip home. If you’re able to donate and feel moved to do so, there’s a donate button at the bottom of this page that links directly to my paypal account.  Good wishes and hugs are always welcome too!

I never really expected, when I spied the Aberystwyth University creative writing program table at a writers’ conference two years ago, that I could make my dream of studying in Wales a reality,  but Iwanted it far too much not to try. The support of my family and friends, in whatever form it comes, means the world to me.



Brevity: the new spice of life

Flash Interviews <—

Dr. Wright, a creative writing professor I work with and for at APSU, has a new project going. It’s exploring the off-the-cuff, impromptu interview as a blending of both the non-fiction and flash genres of writing.

Currently, there’s one start-up question posted so far (answer in 40 words or less, don’t stop to think!) and lots of neat things are ensuing in the comments. Stop by and check it out? It’s a lot of fun, it’s great for writing skills, and it would be a big help for the project. 🙂

(PS – It’s hosted on WordPress, but you don’t need a WordPress account to join in.)

rainy days…

It’s 10:30 in the morning and I want a nap.

Not feeling all that hot (figuratively and literally, it’s freezing down here) today; I’m considering breaking down and getting some hot chocolate. If it’s any indication of how off-balance I am today, Gum Girls’ incessant popping, whilst still there, is failing to make me edgy and annoyed.

I’m noticing an anxiety about grad school that I didn’t have about my undergrad degree – namely that there is no guarantee that I’ll get in just because I want to. I don’t fear being not qualified, because I know I am; I fear everyone else being just as qualified and some of us getting squished out because the program is small and, therefore, competitive.

Slowly compiling my application essay; one of the topic options was to discuss your plans for your MA, what you’ll do with it once you get it. …wait, I have to have goals? I can’t get a specialized degree because I want the knowledge and training? Actually, I guess I could, but “My goal for this degree is to pin it happily to my wall and revel in all the shiny, new knowledge,” sorts of lacks a certain impressive quality. Anyway, it’s forced me to think about what I actually want out of this thing, because why get it if you won’t use it, yes? The answers are surprising. And not.


If you’ve made it this far, I have a question: Tell me your favourite fairy tale?