A refreshing update on Nomadderwhere for 2016

I keep erasing the opening sentence of this blog because I don't know who I'm addressing. You, my audience, are unknown to me, but I know I have something to tell you. I know it's time to update you on what has changed since I last applied the necessary time and effort on Nomadderwhere this summer, and now is as good a time as any, here in the Air France lounge at Washington Dulles airport. I have three more hours until my plane departs for Vermont.

So what has changed since last summer? And why Vermont?

On a walk in the Scottish Highlands

On a walk in the Scottish Highlands

In August, I wrote my little heart out in the highlands of Scotland while attending a workshop at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre. What an incredible experience, to learn from professional authors in an idyllic setting, having nothing to do but admire the landscape and scribe thousands of words. It was through this workshop that I realized I have the discipline and desire to write for a living after my time at TGS comes to a close. I have no idea when that time will come, but simply knowing a possible next step is an absolute relief. From Edinburgh, I traveled to Stockholm for a week of staff orientation and sniffled my way through the best weather days of the year in Sweden.

In September, I bounced around between Brighton, London, and Stockholm before I was afforded a week off from work. I met six friends in Spain and Portugal and celebrated my 30th birthday in a dark bar in Sevilla, clapping along to the flamenco music of three passionate Spaniards and the sassy bar owner. It was a hectic and magical month when many bucket list items were fulfilled.

Running in the sunset with my oldest friend in life

In October, I took it easy and spent some time contemplating my path forward. I learned a little more about my health and cranked up my exercise and nutrition game. We celebrated my friend Nick's birthday with a weekend cruise to Finland, a port we unfortunately slept through. Swedish friends were made, and autumn leaves were enjoyed. I dressed like a travel media ninja for Halloween and danced way too hard in wool, in case you were wondering.

The 10:30am sunset of Kiruna, Sweden

In November, we were told about a new job opening up at TGS (Curriculum Developer), and I applied knowing it was a big change from the role I've filled for the last 4.5 years. Within the same week, I settled on applying to grad school in a student-centered, low-residency program that could accommodate the TGS lifestyle. As luck would have it, I got the job and was accepted into the program. The month ended with a visit to the Arctic Circle where I saw the Northern Lights. It was a surreal experience that reminded me that we live on a spinning rock in a massive, beautiful galaxy.

In December, I said a sorrowful goodbye to friends in Stockholm and arrived to kids in jammies at the airport. I had an itinerary set by a 6 year-old and many opportunities to hang with family and friends, including a New Year's Eve party with my oldest pals. Other than a brief health scare and a premature mammogram, it was a smooth and enjoyable way to end 2015.

Watching planes in an airport lounge

Watching planes in an airport lounge

Today is January 2nd, 2016, and tomorrow is my first "first day of school" since 2004. I'm incredibly excited for every component of my MFA program and know that it's going to be hard to tackle alongside a full-time job. In the next week, I will meet my advisor for the term, develop my own reading list to study, and hear many lectures and workshops that will hopefully inspire a dancing pen.

There's a good chance this means 2016 is the year I breath life back into my writing and into Nomadderwhere. While this is my outlet for expression and one manifestation of my manifesto, I often prioritize other things over working on it. I help students make their own websites and then model poorly by neglecting my own. I preach about the merits of writing about life and then sit on my own bottleneck of unprocessed experiences. I'm excited for what this program may inspire: a rejuvenation of my sense of wonder and my ability to express (and prioritize) that wonder in writing.

I write this all for you, unknown reader, with the hope that I can share with you delightful tidbits from my program in the near future and in order to fill in the blanks of my "story" as it appears on Nomadderwhere. I am never happier than when I use words well to reflect the complex wonder that is the world, and I would have never pursued an MFA in Creative Writing were it not for the existence of this nine year-old blog. Your engagement is encouragement, and your comments are sharpening. Your book recommendations for my program reading list are also highly encouraged!

I hope you are well and happy, whoever you are.