Blind Strike

{July 29, 2007}   On Generosity

At the 2006 AWP writers’ conference in Austin, Sandra Cisneros said she considered community service the mark of a truly generous person. Her words stuck with me. What have I done lately to give back? I asked myself, and the answer was, not much, friend. Not much at all.

Now that I have graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage MFA program, one goal is to consistently dedicate a portion of my time to community service. The first opportunity to land in my lap was a Mountainview-based nonprofit, The Mother Lawrence Foundation. ML provides aid such as food, cheap housing, and religious services. Although I don’t agree with all ML’s religious views, this woman’s foundation is doing good work to revitalize a low-income Anchorage community. I’ve spent the morning researching grant opportunitites and nonprofit development resources for ML. It’s not much, but it still feels good. I have always hoped to leave behind a positive legacy. This didn’t work out so well with the Department of Creative Writing and Literary Arts, which is moving to the low-residency model, thus erasing the department-level student advocacy organization I helped found. The new university-wide Graduate Student Association (modeled in large part after the Creative Writing organization) has fared much better, having given out $8,000 in student grants last year, enhanced graduate student library privileges, and (so I hear) secured health care coverage for University of Alaska Anchorage TA’s and RA’s. I received leadership honors from the school for my participation in the GSA, but in my heart I do not believe this was “community service” of the kind Cisneros was talking about.

 With a week to go in Alaska, I’m thinking it isn’t too late to reach out directly to the community, and be a little generous outside the university bubble.


{July 5, 2007}   Link to article

Follow this link to read my first publication:

TEXT is a pedagogical journal from Australia, where creative writing programs sprang up later than they did in the United States, and have more of a symbiotic relationship with English departments and critical theory than does our New Critically-influenced MFA tradition, where creative writing pedagogy is historically defined in opposition to the critical project. [For more depth on this subject, read Creative Writing and the New Humanities by Paul Dawson.] TEXT was were therefore a great match for this article, a piece of comparative literature working at the intersection of feminism and postcolonialism (engaging feminism tacitly, through its investigation of the patriarchal pejorative “sentimental”) which turns sociological insights gleaned from the application of critical theory to William Heyen’s Crazy Horse in Stillness onto aspects of creative writing pedagogy in the United States. The article should be up through October at least.

{July 3, 2007}   Patterns

Rivers sideways channel of possibility curls back on itself and I wonder is there a way out then forget the looping is at expense of new scenery forget I am circling at all until one day I listen to the voice tugging in my gut and remember I can get out of the boat.

{July 1, 2007}  

Did you ever feel like your mouth opening was some kind of signal for people to ignore you? Or like you are the only person on the planet who knows how to put a roll of toilet paper ONTO the roller? I have, and I know I’m being oversensitive, that it shouldn’t bother me etc., but how do they always know when you’re vulnerable, these nasty shark people, when a simple aversion of the eyes can make you want to run to the bathroom where there will surely be no toilet paper so you’d better not pee, or if you do drip-dry that inevitable drop will roll down your leg like a tear?

et cetera