Farther Away and Smaller

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I woke up on January 1, 2012 to see the totally uninterrupted sky and the sea and the sun shining. Everything was blue and bathed in light. It was, I felt at the time, a sign of good things to come. I still feel that way. 

I am going to share something here that I haven’t told many people, for a variety of reasons: in early December I applied to grad school in creative writing. I only applied to six schools before I burned out and quit applying. In the creative writing world, that’s basically a no-go; the majority of people apply to 10 or more schools, and for a lot of people it takes years to get in. Creative writing schools are highly competitive, many of the more selective schools receiving hundreds of applications but only accepting very few applicants. I was rejected by two schools very promptly, so I did not have good feelings about my chances.

So imagine my surprise when I actually got in. I was accepted at the University of Alabama, and put on the waitlist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In late February, when all of you were getting “out of town” email replies from me, I was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, being recruited for their program. It’s really a special feeling, knowing that somebody likes your work enough to pay for you to fly to Alabama so they can convince you to let them pay you to go to school there. 

Yesterday, I accepted the University of Alabama’s offer of a position in their program. I still had one school that I haven’t heard from, but I knew in my gut that Alabama was the place I wanted to go. From the beginning, it was my number 2 choice of schools, so when I got in it just seemed like fate. Visiting sealed the deal; I felt like I belonged there, and even though I only got to know people for like 3 days, I feel like I did make some friends. 

But, as I’m sure many of you have grasped, this also means that my days in Houston are numbered. That’s hard for me to get my head around. For the last 8 and a half years, Houston has been home. I have made incredible friends here, life-long friends. I’m still going to love most of you in 10 years. But more and more I realize that it’s time for me to do something new. 

Ultimately, the change is not so drastic. I’m going to a place very much like the place I live now, but farther away and smaller. 

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