Long time no speak

Hi there. It’s you lovable, furry old pal Zak here.

Sorry I haven’t written to you lately. As I’ve warned you, I am in chrysalis stage now. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in story revisions and now grad school applications, and this won’t let up for at least another couple months. But I’ll return, with more stories to tell.

For now, an update:

I have been working with Bruce on revising two stories—The Last Manuscript of Mark Twain, and now City of Destiny Featuring Eric Lipschitz—both of which have progressed and changed a bit since you read them here. I also reached out to my former client Charlotte Cook, a writing instructor and erstwhile publisher of Komenar Publishing. She will hopefully add another layer of revision and perfection to my stories, and help me ready them for submission with my application. Helping me with the application (in addition to Angie) is Ryan Boudinot, a writer I admire whose short story writing class at Richard Hugo House I took this summer. All three of these people will be writing for me letters of recommendation. At the moment, they are probably the only writers familiar with my own writing.

I’ve expanded and then narrowed the number of programs to thirteen. Some have asked why so many. It has to do with the somewhat subjective nature of the MFA admission process: either they like your writing sample or they don’t. The first round of applications are due December 1—six weeks from now. The last application is due January 17. I’ll receive acceptance letters sometime in late March and early April. I intend to set aside a week or two in early- to mid-April to visit with Angie the schools to which I am accepted.

Meantime, I also have to take the GRE in about a week. I need to cram. The test doesn’t count for much in terms of admission, but it does matter if I want a good aid package.

In the midst of all this, I have been traveling. A lot. Maybe too much. I’ve loved every minute. We spent nearly a week in Minnesota around Labor Day, seeing family at the annual reunion at Boyd Lodge on Rush Lake in northern Minnesota. We were home for a week, then left for Hawaii, where we spent two weeks as a belated honeymoon and first anniversary present to ourselves. It was wonderful, and I returned tanned and relaxed. What more can one ask for? We were home that time for only four days before trotting off again, this time to Oakland, where my little sister (okay, she’s thirty and not little anymore) just got married to a wonderful gent.

I came home this past Monday to a mountain of work to be done. Our backyard lawn is a scene from Tarzan or Jumanji. The sunflowers have wilted and the last tomatoes have burst on the vine after gorging themselves on yesyterday’s rain.

My high school AP US History teacher Mr. Vargish called this period “ground rush,” that moment when a skydiver, who had previously enjoying his freefall, reaches a critical distance from the earth, and the proportion of ground to sky suddenly changes, and the ground rushes up at you all at once. I’m in ground rush time now, and you’ll forgive me if I have to take another leave of absence from the blog for a little while. I’ll be in better shape when I return.

It’s autumn now in Tacoma—the year-round sun of Hawaii and the late October warmth of the Bay Area are left behind. The leaves are changing. I saw my breath this morning (So that’s where it was!). It’ll likely be our last winter in Tacoma. I’ll miss it, sure, but…thank God.

I am going to post two more items today—one very brief and the other considerably longer—and will let you read them at your leisure over the coming weeks. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading me.