It has been a great week of a forced fast from the computer, kind of - with mobile uploads and Twitter's mobile connect to Facebook, I have been able to give the appearance of an online presence ;) Thank God for Twitter and its ability to make sure everyone knows what normal and uninteresting things I am doing on a day-to-day basis.
I had three days off from work this week so that Brandon could go on a baseball road trip. The excellent husband and father needed the break from full-time dadhood, so it was a good time for him; plus, he was just offered the head coach position for next season! Hooray! This is great news for him - his dream job is coaching full-time for a college, and this is one more step in the right direction.
While he was gone, I spent lots of quality time with the kids and also prepared for the Shape in a Misshapen World Arts Festival, which was a great event - the readings went very well and the art on display received many compliments. It was a wonderful weekend event that left me just a bit exhausted, but nothing too stressful.
OH and the BEST news this week is that my chapbooks arrived on Saturday! Hooray!
I received some more good news this week, too - The Fourth River selected my poem, "Stumps" for publication in the Spring 2010 issue, and my poem, "The Angry Gardener" was given an honorable mention in the Akron Art Museum's New Words 2009 Poetry Contest - it was one of eight finalists out of 395 submissions! I will be reading with the other finalists and featured reader on April 19th at the Akron Art Museum.
I am still buzzing about all of this. It is such a good feeling to know that you've found what you were made to do. Or at least to feel like you've found what you were made to do. I am acutely aware of what success can do to one's ego. I do not want to forget that poetry, or any work I do, for that matter, is not about me and my success but rather what God can accomplish through it. One of my friends in our small group Bible study said this week, in response to my concerns about being overly confident, said that there is a fine line between confidence and pride, and that fine line steps from serving God to self-serving.
In many ways I don't know what to do next, in regards to poetry. I am working on a draft of my first full-length manuscript right now, getting feedback from poet friends on order and arc and what-not, but what I don't know is whether I should be thinking about going for my graduate degree, either MFA or something else, or whether I am right where I need to be. Another thing my friend said on Thursday that really struck a chord with me is that often, once we've found our niche and begin to succeed, we have a tendency to be rewarded or promoted straight out of that place that God put us - the sweet spot where we are most productive. Even though some pursuits may seem like good ideas, they might not be God's idea, or God's timing. This is something I've been thinking a lot about with my career as a poet (if you can call being a poet any sort of "career"). Is going for a higher degree right now or in the near future a good idea, God's idea, both, or neither?
When I think about it in terms of my family, I think going back to school right now would be putting myself before every other member in my family. It would be a seriously selfish move - especially since Brandon has been planning to go back to school for a few years now. I don't think it is right or fair to him or my children to take on yet another project, especially when I am already over-committed with work, church, and my poetry as it is. I think in a few years, once the kids are in school and the husband is almost done or finished with his master's, the timing will be better. And who knows where we will be a few more years down the road? I certainly never predicted we'd be here.