Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Visualizations, Then and Now

This morning, I read this wonderful interview with Sandra Beasley about writing residencies.  In my younger years it would have filled me with yearning to find a residency to call my own.  Now that I am older, I am grateful to be able to find an afternoon when I can leave an hour earlier than usual, which is my scheduled going-home time.  I'm still not sure what my new professional life will look like when our accreditation visit is over, but right now, I can't imagine finding time off for the kinds of residencies Beasley describes.

But still, a girl can dream!  And that brings me to the real topic of this post:  the way that I once yearned and hoped, and the way I need to remember to do that again.

Let's go back twenty years.  I had started writing poetry again in 1995, and by 1997, I felt I had some good material.  I started sending packets of poetry to various journals, the way I had been doing before grad school sapped me of time, money, and courage.  I felt like I was returning to my true writer self, and I was so happy to find her again.

But at the same time, I had a larger vision:  a book at some point, maybe a job that contained more teaching of creative writing than composition.  Back in those days, I would spin scenarios in my head to help me fall asleep (unlike today, when I can barely stay awake long enough to get my head to the pillow).  That year, I started visualizing myself at a future book reading, being invited to be the poet in residence at a school, holding the first book in my hand.  They were pleasant thoughts with which to fill my head, but as I look back, I see larger forces at work.

In those years, I sent out more submission packets than I have in years since--and subsequently, I got more acceptances, including my first chapbook.  Perhaps it's time to return to that question of what I'd like to see myself accomplishing in terms of my writing, and rehearsing it in my head.

But first, I think I'll visualize celebrating once the upcoming accreditation visit is done.  A month from today, our visit will be drawing to a close.  Let me imagine this scenario:  it won't be a perfect visit, where the accrediting team says, "You're perfect.  Keep doing what you're doing."  Accreditation visits never end that way.

But let me visualize that the findings are minor, leaving us to work on issues that we have already targeted as ones we want to fix.  Let me visualize that last meeting, handshakes all around, smiles upon a successful visit.

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