2013 is long, long gone... Whoa, where did it go?
2013 was retirement from the Coast Guard and a big move to Colorado. My wife and I are expecting a child early January of 2014 but thinking we may see him or her by the end of the year. I started a new job with a scenic railroad and we got a puppy about the middle of the year. Well, all of that changed quite rapidly see below....:)
July 1, 2019
Well, hell, I managed to further my education and earn my Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with a focus on Fiction. I'm having a hard time believing that I no longer have homework or deadlines after many years of being in school. I went straight from earning my undergrad degree into the Stonecoast MFA program. I get the BIG question a lot: Now what? I'm not completely sure, but my wife recently entered her grad program so a lot of my time will be ensuring she has the same amount of undying support that I did. Perhaps in the midst of that I'll find a job, publish a novel, and travel more.
Summer is going fast. My 3rd residency was, as usual, a blur especially since I struggled during my second semester. Somehow I managed to get things on track and finished strong. It is hard to believe I'm in my 3rd semester and that I'm diligently slugging away at the big project that's due in a few months. The highlights of my writing included begin awarded two partial scholarships that are helping me fund the remaining year of my grad program. There is nothing like the feeling of depleting your GI Bill, because its such a mixed emotion. Part of me is like fuck yeah, I got my money's worth (an undergrad degree and half of my grad program paid for by Uncle Sugar). However, the other part of me said, "Oh shit, how are we going to pay for this?" Yup, it was a strangely thrilling and terrifying experience to say the least. Well, I better get on with the countless hours of research necessary for my project. See you at the end of the semester inshallah.
My second residency for my grad program, Stoneoast, took place in Howth Ireland (near Dublin). Wow, what a blast. A truly amazing experience that I'm lucky to have enjoyed sooner rather than later in life. I could go on for paragraphs about how grand the chance of lifetime was, but let me merely say--Chase your dreams, if not for any reason other than to see it through to the bitter or glorious end.
In late October 2017, my wife and I were blessed with our second child, a baby girl. Our new addition is another brilliantly, bright light in our family of four. I still remain deeply concerned that I'm not young enough to raise another batch of young'uns. I'm pretty sure I'm even beyond the good old college try, but hey, what's the alternative? At any rate, the transition back to stay at home parent on the days my wife works has been challenging to say the least, but enjoyable on many levels that are hard to express in words.
Right before the residency to Howth, we took a much needed vacation to Guadeloupe, which was also was an awesome time. If you're paying attention we took a four-year-old, and seven week old baby to the lesser Antilles. No biggie, we took our son to Greece, Italy, and Montenegro when he was eight-months-old. Yeah, we're a bit nutty like that, well truly, that's just how the travelling cookie crumbled.
Well, hell. I'm still trying to figure out how it's possible, but I finally managed to obtain a college education. I graduated from the University of Southern Maine on May 13, 2017 with my BA in English. I'm still thrilled to have achieved one of my lifelong dreams before the big five-oh.
A few months before graduating I found out that I was accepted into my Alma mater's prestigious MFA program, Stonecoast. I started pursuing my Master of Fine Arts for creative writing (Fiction) immediately after graduation. If everything goes as planned, I'll have my upper level degree before the big five-oh as well. Dreams that were set on fire by the best English teacher that ever walked this Earth: Betty Beatty.
Not too bad for a farm kid from the Midwest who never took school seriously... until I grew up somewhere around my early thirties.
The New Year came and went in a riproaring flash. I enrolled in college at USM and I'm pursuing my BA in English. Along the way I also hope to finish my Parks and Recreation Management Degree. Perhaps the stars will align and those goals will happen in the near future....2020!? After that I plan to go after my MFA and hope to really take my writing to the next level. Of course if all goes well I'll be a highly educated, semi retired stay at home parent.
My wife and I bought a house about fifteen minutes outside of Portland, Maine. Most often we chase our toddler around our small acreage when we're not otherwise engaged in work or school.
My writing success in 2018 continues to be respectable course work. I aim to submit more work in the coming months to get back into that practice. If you don't submit, you can't get anything picked up. Goal is 10-20 pieces submitted per month.
My writing success in 2017, besides getting accept to grad school (which was huge), were null. However, due to the heavy course load of my program, and life getting in the road, I did not submit work at the level necessary to reap what I sow.
Writing successes in 2016:
I had my first story, Chewing the Cud, published by Kansas State University's Literary Magazine, Touchstone, in April 2016.
I found out the story was selected by the creative writing department during the week of Christmas (2015), which made for an even more glorious holiday season.
Then within a couple weeks of beng notified about that huge writing success a superb literary blog called 1:1000 selected River In Time for publication. The episodic flash fiction piece is scheduled to post on 1:1000 September 7, 2016. http://www.oneforonethousand.com/
Within a few days of that amazing news the literary journal Toasted Cheese informed me my story, His Country, made the cut for their next issue 16:3. To be quite honest I was taken aback with all the recent success and the email of congratulations from Toasted Cheese was almost too good to be true. http://tclj.toasted-cheese.com/
If that weren't enough I received notification that I'm a Silver Honorable Mention in the Writer's & Illustrator's of the Future contest (3rd quarter 2016); one of the oldest and most prestigious Science Fiction writing contests in existence on the planet (L. Ron Hubbard established the contest 40 years ago). My story Impulse Buy placed in the upper echelon of the contest and I'm still trying to believe the results of the contest (somewhere in the top 1.5 % of all entries received for the 3rd quarter). Whoa!
All in all it's been a great year of writing achievements and I hope its just the beginning. If you made the leap over to the lit journal sites and loved what you read please feel free to take a few minutes to look at my writing page. Perhaps a story or poem I've posted will provide you another nice little respite from the chaos called modern life.