I’m a Panelist: AWP 2014

awpSomebody needs to get me this shirt.

Big News: I’m going to sit on a panel for AWP 2014 in Seattle, Washington!

In April, we applied to lead a panel on alumni communities and life post-MFA. We waited a little more than three months for the answer, and I’m proud to announce our acceptance. Below is a screenshot taken from AWP’s List of Accepted Events for next year’s conference. I took the liberty to highlight our panel. Hopefully you don’t have high expectations on my computer highlighting skills. (Also, it appears as if Ashley will need to clone herself to sit on this panel. I’ve only been made aware of one Ashley attending, but I will be super impressed is there is two of her on the panel.)

AWP2014

This link was borrowed from AWP’s list of accepted panels.

Mentors

I am forever grateful for the kind, inspiring mentors I had while a graduate student at Fairfield University. I’m specifically thankful for my semester mentors:

And to Baron Wormser who was my second reader of my thesis.

But not just those five… I’m also grateful for the mentors who taught my workshops: Marita Golden, Leila Philip, and Da Chen.

I learned so much under the auspices of these incredibly talented individuals, and for that I am eternally grateful.

August Observations

August Highlights:

  • Mr. O, Wolverine and I went to DC and VA on a road trip for our summer vacation. This was a fantastic trip, because not only did we get to do fun things with Wolverine (the National Zoo, Smithsonian’s Museums of Natural History and American History), but we also spent a few quality days with one of my closest friends who lives in VA. She just had a beautiful baby girl last month, so it was so nice to be with mommy, daddy and baby (and puppies!).
  • Wolverine started playing football this month. He is such a little stud. He’s the youngest guy on the team, and he has a lot to learn, but he’s trying hard. It is so damn cute to see him at the water breaks, because he takes his helmet off and his face is all red and his hair is sweaty. He’s going to break so many hearts when he gets older.
  • Spry Literary Journal began accepting submissions! I can’t even describe how I felt when we got our first submission (and it was a GREAT submission too). It was incredible to read someone’s work after all the effort we put in to this journal. If you are a writer, please consider submitting your work to my literary journal.
  • We went to Mr. O’s work “picnic” in the middle of the month. When I say picnic, I really mean carnival. It is always so much fun. I held an alligator while I was there!
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 210. TWO HUNDRED AND TEN!?!

Stinky August Moments:

  • I’m no longer a graduate student. Weird, I know, because all I did was complain about school while I was in it. I just miss it.
  • I’ve felt pretty busy and disorganized this month. I expected things to slow down a bit after graduation, but that didn’t happen one bit. In fact, I feel as if I was working even harder to catch up, and stay on track (or close to the tracks at least).
  • I only spent a few days with my friends from VA! I know I mentioned this as a highlight, and it truly was. It is just hard to leave such incredible friends. Especially when they have a new addition to their life. I love babies. So now, I’m saying goodbye to three people (and two dogs), not just two people. Sigh. It’s hard to live far away from your friends.
  • Dr’s appointments. Between my primary care, my dermatologist and my dentist, I feel like all I’ve done is go to appointments this month..

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My parents and my brother and sister-in-law celebrated anniversaries this month.
  • I cancelled my graduation party because of a horrible weather forecast, and then the day ended up being pretty nice. Oh well, I rescheduled it for September and combined it with my and Mr. O’s birthdays… So it will now be Erin and Mr. O’s Birthday and Graduation Extravaganza!

I’m looking forward to____ in September:
September is a fun month for Mr. O and I, because we both have birthdays in September. We’re going to a comedy show at Foxwoods, which will be fun because we both like to eat and gamble. We have our party which I just mentioned. I’m hoping to get a lot of submissions this month for Spry too!

Overall Thoughts:
August was a nice month. I was busy, which made the month go by quickly, but overall, it was a good time. I felt crappy for about two weeks of the month which is never fun. All in all, I’m kind of glad to start a new month. I’m done with August. The only thing that stinks about being done with August is that the nights are getting darker earlier (which bums me out) and the weather is getting chillier. I love summer. I like fall too, but I hate winter and I can never enjoy fall because I’m always bummed about the upcoming winter. Oh well. Here’s to September!

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May and June and July

July Observations

July Highlights:

  • I graduated from the best MFA program in the universe.
  • My last residency was incredible. I loved meeting the incredible incoming class. I loved spending time with some of my mentors. I loved teaching my seminar and giving my reading. I loved it all.
  • I am very happy with my graduation speech. It went so smoothly and I think I did a good job of involving the whole class in my speech. I’ve been toying with posting it here, but I’m not sure if I should.
  • Wolverine’s birthday party was a blast. The weather held out all day, which meant no rain until the party was over! Our water slide also worked the entire time. Mr. O put a lot of hard work into patching the holes on the slide, and the kids loved playing on the slide.
  • Announcing Spry Literary Journal. (Ha, I didn’t quite announce it yet, but the big announcement should come tomorrow!)
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 179.

Stinky July Moments:

  • My dad had a heart attack while I was away at school which was very scary. Because of this he and my mother couldn’t come to my graduation. I’m very lucky to have a great boyfriend who videotaped the whole thing so that they could watch me graduate from the comfort of their living room!
  • Everything happened at once. Between school, work, the literary journal, another editing project I’m involved in and my personal life… everything happened this month. Oh, well. All good stuff.
  • Running into people I’d rather not see.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My fantastic friend gave birth to a healthy little baby girl. Welcome to the world Isabella.
  • Wolverine, my dad, Lauren, Kerri, Linsey and both of my grandparents all celebrated birthdays. Those same grandparents also celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

I’m looking forward to____ in August:
August should be busy! Mr. O, Wolverine and I will be road-tripping down to DC and then heading to Virginia to visit some great friends and their new baby girl. We are also hoping to go camping this month. We’re going to a carnival and my brother’s annual cookout (which I’ve missed the past two years). August 15th will be the first day my literary journal will be accepting submissions.

Overall Thoughts:
July was incredible. I’m so happy and proud of the fact that I graduated from my MFA program. At the same time though, I will miss it terribly. I’m so grateful that my dad is okay and I hope his healing process is smooth. I’m glad that Wolverine loved his actual birthday and his birthday party. I’m tired, but happy.

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May and June

Anticlimatic Life Changes

Four days ago I woke up as a student. I went to classes and conversed with my professors and other students.
Three days ago I woke up as a master- a girl with a MFA, a girl who still needed to go to class in a half hour.
Two days ago I woke up as a master- a girl with three loads of laundry to do, lucky to have no school or work so that she could do her laundry.
Yesterday I woke up as a master- a girl with a job she hasn’t been at for a week or so, a girl with work piled all over her desk.

Is this what happens when a person graduates from a graduate program? Everything and nothing change at the same time?

Weekly Internet Finds #12

Do you know what today is? My first day of school for my final residency in graduate school. So exciting, yet I’m still sad to close this chapter of my life. Enrolling in Fairfield’s MFA program was one of the best choices I ever made. I’ll still be posting on here, but I don’t know if that means I’ll be sharing regular snippets of my day or one random sum-it-all-up post. We shall see!

I also didn’t really have much to share this week. Not because there aren’t great posts on the internet, but because I’ve been “starring” everything in my reader for when I actually have time to read it. I did read one thing I loved this week, so I thought I would still share with you. Holly wrote this great post on fear and compassion. Is there a way to find a balance while still making sure you’re protecting yourself?

Reviewing June and Announcing July’s Goal

Well this is going to be a quick and easy post.

I kicked ass in June. My goal was to work hard on my super secret business project with Linsey and I did! The hardest part was not blogging about it, and I’m still having a hard time refraining from sharing all the details. I want to wait until the website is set up to make the big announcement, and it appears that mid-month will be the time that happens.

My goal for July is simple (note: I didn’t say easy). In July I want to embrace living in the moment. So many incredible things are going to happen this month. There are so many birthdays and parties- Wolverine, my dad, my friend Kerri, Lauren, my grandparents. I’ll be at graduate school with incredible students and teachers. I’ll be graduating (yahoo!) and in doing so, I will be doing a reading, teaching a seminar, acting as a teaching assistant and giving the graduation speech. I just want to soak up every single moment. I want to embrace every single experience. With everything that needs to get done, I don’t expect this all to be easy, but how can I not sit back and enjoy it all?

June Observations

June Highlights:

  • We put in our air conditioners! That deserves its own bullet point.
  • Tball. I just love it. I was bummed because there were a few rainouts and Wolverine was sick for one of the games, but I have a blast watching all the little kids play. Wolverine is much more into it this year versus last year, and its fun to see him excited and into something.
  • Father’s Day. I’ll celebrate Mr. O for any reason, but I especially like to celebrate him as a father, because he is an incredible dad.
  • Wolverine got a reading award at school…
  • and even better than that…. he graduated kindergarten! He is so grown up now!
  • I’m actually keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 148.

Stinky June Moments:

  • The few bad weather days in between the awesome warm and sunny days.
  • Everything happening at once. Every project I am involved in between work, school and my personal stuff is all HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. I have no clue how I am going to accomplish everything.
  • Getting excited about a possibility only to find out it is no longer possible. Sigh.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My friends Thien, Amy S,  Audrey, Daisy, Chris, Trueblood and Trish all celebrated birthdays. My brother and his wife celebrated a wedding anniversary, and so did my good friend’s E & C.
  • J and J are getting married tonight! And I am very excited about getting dressed up and spending time with my friends.
  • My friend Linsey and I are working hard on our business venture. It is a LOT of work, but I’m enjoying the process.

I’m looking forward to____ in July:
I’m graduating! This coming residency will be magical, I’m sure. I get to spend ten days on an island with incredible like-minded creatures. I can’t wait to be with my friends again and absorb everything possible from my last residency of graduate school. I am so excited about being a TA, giving a seminar on my third semester project- The Story Behind the Status, doing a public reading, workshopping my newest story and giving a graduation speech. I’m excited to celebrate the birthdays of so many people I love. I can’t wait for Wolverine’s party. I’ll be happy to come home from residency and jump back into my “normal” life with Mr. O and Wolverine. I’m also pretty pumped to make the grand announcement about my new business venture.

Overall Thoughts:
I liked June a lot. There was a lot of nice weather, a lot of time spent outside. It was a busy month filled with errands and birthday parties and school/work/business/life stuff, but I can’t complain about being busy. It was overwhelming, but filled with mostly good happy things. I consider myself very lucky.

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May

How to Start a Personal Essay for a Graduate School Application

This is the first post of a new series I’ll be sharing on the blog. “How to Start a Personal Essay for a Graduate School Application” was originally written by me on January 25, 2010 for my old blog. I’ve decided to share some of my old posts on days when I’m either too busy to post something new or feeling uncreative and have nothing original to share with you. I hope you enjoy! (Oh, and please excuse any horrific grammar mistakes)

I’ve spent the entire weekend obsessing about applying to graduate school, yet I’ve failed to do any of the required writing I literally set aside the whole weekend for. So that the entire weekend isn’t a waste, I decided to write a blog post about my advice for other folk who are desperate like me and have no clue where to start. Here goes:

“Dear Admissions Committee…

  1. …I really want to go to your school and study creative writing. I’ve got lots of stories, and I occasionally am told I’m quite funny.  Sincerely, Erin
  2. …I’m quite popular, and if you advertise that I’m a student in your program, you’re going to be inundated with applicants. And by popular, I mean there is about three people who read my blog regularly, and I’ve got hoes in different area codes. heehee, jk lol OMG! Your Bestie, Erin
  3. …. One of my strengths is procrastination. I am super good at waiting until the last-minute to do very important things like this essay. I’ve even written a few blog posts about my applications, instead of just completing my required stuff. We’ve all got to be good at something, Erin
  4. … If you deny my application, there is a good chance I will jump off a bridge or just cry for my whole life. You don’t want that on your conscience do you? I thought not, Erin
  5. … I’ve told so many people that I’m applying to grad school lately that it would be a serious blow to my street-cred if my people found out I got denied to your school. That would suck.  Have pity on a girl, Erin
  6. … My name is Erin, and I am applying to your school’s MFA in Creative Writing program. I’d like to study in the nonfiction genre, because I like to tell the truth.Always honest, Erin
  7. … I just spent about $500 applying to all these MFA programs. I’ll give you $500 more if you just slide my application all the way to the top of the stack. You know, the acceptance stack. What, you want more? Fine, I’ll double it. Just make it happen, Erin
  8. … Please, please, please take me. I’m begging you. Please! With a cherry on top. Yeah, I’m not even creative enough to come up with something better than ‘with a cherry on top.’ Try not to hold that against me, Erin
  9. …. If you accept me I’ll sing you songs and send you flowers and tuck you in at night. Pinky swear! I’ll hug you in the morning and tell you how wonderful you are! Besos, Erin
  10. ….Just listen to the people who wrote me recommendations. They are like the smartest people EVER! (Seriously, they are uber intelligent). If they think I’m cool enough to go to your grad school, then I absolutely am. Holla at ya girl, Erin
  11. … You’ll never know what you’re missing if you don’t accept me. You don’t want to wonder about me the rest of your life, now do you? I’m a rock star, Erin
  12. … I really want to be a graduate student, and I promise to work the hardest that I possibly can to develop my craft. I can promise to try my hardest and be a great representative of your school in the community. Respectfully, Erin
  13. … I want in. Make it happen. Or else, Erin
  14. …. I like long walks on the beach and trashy romance novels….wait. Wrong “personal essay,” Erin
  15. … I’m one cool kid. The end, Erin

What Is Floating In My Head

  • I have to write a graduation speech. Any suggestions for me? I was picked to be the graduation speaker by my peers and I am beyond honored and excited to be the speaker. However I’ve only got a few notes written, and graduation is just a little more than a month away. Plus, the tricky part is that I’m graduating from a creative writing MFA program. You can’t write a sloppy speech if you’re getting your MFA in writing (with a graduating class of other writers).
  • I’ve been trying very hard not to waste money. In doing that, I’m limiting myself to only getting coffee once a week. Besides that, I’m making it myself. Now, I like my homemade iced coffee, but yet I still yearn for a coffee every time I drive by Dunkin. I think I just like it because someone else makes it for me. However, I’ve been putting some of Wolverine’s chocolate powder (for chocolate milk) in my iced coffee and it is making it sooo yummy.
  • I am in a state of half-lists. I keep making lists for work, school, fun, vacations, restaurants I want to eat at, etc. but the problem is that I either write the lists on post-its and lose them, or I write down one or two items but not the whole list!
  • My two blog series, To the Person Who and Weekly Internet finds, are ummm, napping. I promise to have them up again next week. Don’t you worry.

May Observations

May Highlights:

  • I went to Augusten Burrough’s reading and book signing in Boston with the lovely Michaela.
  • Mr. O and I also went to Fenway park
  • My thesis is 100% complete. Wow. I don’t even know what to say about that.
  • I found out I’m going to be an auntie again for the 5th time!
  • One of Mr. O’s closest friends baby was born. I’m so happy for N &J!
  • And to keep the baby theme going, we found out that another one of Mr. O’s closest friends is having a baby in November!
  • I’m actually keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 118.
  • Mr. O and I found a bunch of four-leaf clovers this month. Wolverine actually found his first four-leaf clover–all by himself too– although it was hacked a bit by a lawn mower. Either way, that’s pretty cool for a 5-year-old. I didn’t find my first clover until I was 24!

Stinky May Moments:

  • It was a slightly gloomy month with the amount of fog/rain/clouds we had this month.
  • This month was full of a LOT of last-minute mini revisions. Lots of lists and organization to figure out what else I needed to get together. Plus, I spent a lot of time at the post office getting things mailed out to the right people.
  • For years now, I keep forgetting to buy my parking passes for a Sox game THE WEEK BEFORE THE GAME!!!! I seem to always think I can buy them a day or two before the game. This is not the case! You must buy them one week before the game for a SIGNIFICANT discount. Otherwise you’re just going to waste money on the day of!

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My writing group is meeting at my favorite Vietnamese/Cantonese/Cambodian restaurant this evening. Yum yum yum.
  • My mom celebrated a big birthday this month. It was also Ryan S. and Ryan G.’s birthday; they are married to two of my close girlfriends and I love them so.
  • My friends Holly and Ryan celebrated their second anniversary and it was also the sixth anniversary of my best friend’s parents’ wedding.
  • Holly also found out she was having a boy!

I’m looking forward to____ in June:
The strange thing about this section is for once I don’t have much to write about! I have a bunch of friends who have birthdays this month, so maybe there will be some get-togethers, but honestly, there is almost nothing planned! I have a wedding to attend on the 30th, and we’re taking Mr. O’s sister out for a belated birthday dinner this weekend. I do have more to do in preparation for school next month, but it looks like the rest of June will be relaxing. I expect to be watching a bunch of Tball games, playing at the park and enjoying the nice weather.

Overall Thoughts:

I think May was a really nice month. The weather is getting warmer, which I absolutely love. That being said, it was kind of gloomy and rainy for much of the month, and that was no fun. Overall though, I spent a lot of time outside– at Wolverine’s Tball games and cookouts for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day and trips to the park. I can’t believe I did so much school work and actually MAILED IN my completed, approved thesis to Fairfield. I’m done? Really?

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April

April Observations

April Highlights:

  • Easter was fun. Wolverine woke up to a note from the Easter Bunny telling him that he hid Marvel eggs all over the apartment. So at 6:30 in the morning, there was an egg hunt! Then we spent the afternoon at my mom’s (and had another egg hunt) and the evening at Mr.O’s parent’s house. It was a nice day.
  • Revising my thesis. I’m telling you, the process of revision is such a wild experience. I’ve learned a lot about the type of grammatical mistakes I continuously make and also about my strengths. I wrote an essay in the second person for the first time this month, and it actually made its way into my thesis with almost no revisions needed. How cool is that?
  • My very good friend T had her baby . He is handsome as can be. There have been so many baby girls born the past few years in my life, so it was nice to cuddle a little boy.
  • I’m actually keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 88.
  • I started a Project Life Scrapbook! I’m sooooo in love. I need to hustle and start printing the photos I have that I want in there. Yes, I’m a sucker who instead of just starting it when I got it, decided to go back to 1/1/2012 to begin the book! Sigh. There is a good chance that I’m a bit obsessed with this project since I look at the book every single day and make the most minor tweaks here and there. Oh, well… there are worst things I could be obsessed with.
  • Wolverine started Tball again this year. He is so cute in his uniform, and he gets to be on a team with his best friend from school, so he is pretty excited.

Stinky April Moments:

  • Well, it wasn’t the healthiest month, but I wasn’t too sick either. I had a few doctor’s appointments to attend, and then I had what seemed to be the stomach bug which never disappeared. I had a belly ache for a few days, it went away, and then it came back! A few headaches here and there… Things like that. But the good news is that I am healthy, and all my appointments have had great results.
  • So many work trainings that last all day. Enough said!
  • This is my thesis semester. Boo. It is a lot of work. (I’m thinking this might be here every month until I graduate).
  • Seriously though…this is my thesis semester. I had to hustle so much this month, I though it necessary to put it in two bullet points.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • It has been two years since my friend Robert was killed in Afghanistan. This month, our friend John finished police academy and all I could think about was how proud Robert would have been of him.
  • My niece turned NINE years old this month. She came into my life when she was three. Let’s just say, I’m having a hard time with this growing older thing. I want her to stay little forever.
  • My oldest brother had a birthday and so did my friends Elizabeth, Mike and Casey.
  • Cookouts! We went to two cookouts this month and we used our own grill a few times. I love cooking on the grill.

I’m looking forward to____ in May:

  • Another one of my pregnant friends is due to deliver in May… after her, I will have to wait until July for the next baby.Boo.
  • Finishing my thesis. I have to turn in my completed thesis this coming month. There are no more revisions. No more decisions of what to put in and what to leave out. Seems surreal. I’m waiting to hear back from my mentor of any final revisions and then it will be 100% complete.

Overall Thoughts:

April was a much better month than March and February. I didn’t feel as down as I did those two months. I’m sure it helped that the weather was nicer, so we went to the park a bunch of times, took a few walks and played in the yard quite a bit. I don’t know how I managed to do as much work as I did for school (and work), but I got a lot done. I don’ t have much to say about April. It went by very fast, and since May is one of my favorite months, I’m just looking forward to it!

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March

Acknowledgements

Y’all know that I am finishing my graduate school thesis. That’s all I seem to talk about on here.

At this point, I’m about 90% done with the thesis and 90% done the preface for the thesis.

I am 0% done with the abstract, 0% done with the acknowledgements page and 0% done with the bibliography. I do think the abstract and bibliography will be relatively easy though.

The acknowledgements though? It scares me. Why? Because I am too grateful. I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know if there is a limit to the amount of pages I can include for this section. I’m thankful for every moment I wrote about in my thesis. I’m thankful for ever person who influenced the manuscript. I’m thankful for all the schools that denied my fiction application when I applied as an undergraduate even though it broke my heart. I’m grateful for the nonfiction graduate class I signed up for at Umass Dartmouth even though I wasn’t a student, just to get my writing juices flowing. I’m grateful for Christina McCarroll who taught the class and all the amazing students who read and helped me hone my nonfiction craft (I’d never written a lick on nonfiction before this!). The two main stories I wrote in this class became my application for the seven graduate schools I applied to. I’m beyond grateful for being accepted to every one of those graduate schools. That is by far one of my favorite life moments. I was so proud of myself. I’m so thankful for Michael White, my program director. Fairfield was tied for first place on my wish list with two other schools. I’m grateful that Michael recognized my talent and was the first school to accept me (only a few days after receiving my application). I’m fortunate for all the students I met in my graduate school career. I couldn’t begin to thank them for their encouragement, their suggestions on my stories. I’m beyond thankful to the MFA gods for giving me Phil as a big brother and Daisy as a little sister in the program. I’m still thankful for earning the Trueblood Award my first residency (now called the Truben Award) and also for being voted the graduation speaker this last residency. I am eternally grateful to all of my mentors: Lary Bloom, Joan Connor, Porochista Khakpour and Kim Dana Kupperman who worked one on one with me over my four semesters. For the teachers who guided my workshops: Kim, Lary, Da Chen, Leila Philip, Baron Wormser, and Marita Golden- their guidance unearthed some of my best impromptu writing, all of which made it into my final thesis. I’m grateful that Baron will be my second reader for my thesis, and I cannot wait to hear him read my words as I walk across the stage to accept my diploma. I’m thankful that Fairfield led me to Phil (my big bro), Trueblood (yep, the award was named after him) and Linsey, as we formed the Masshole Writers Group. The stories I’ve written have changed sometimes very dramatically with their suggestions. Plus, we go out to eat when we critique each other’s work and I love food. I’m grateful for GChat, which allowed me to brainstorm with my school friends at times I might not have been able to easily communicate. I’m grateful for everything Ender’s Island. That place is the perfect place to study creative writing. That island will always be one of my favorite places and it as a place has truly opened me up. I’m actually thankful that I broke my foot on the island during my third residency. It taught me to rely on others, something I don’t know I ever really knew how to do. I am so glad to have worked on Mason’s Road, Fairfield MFA’s literary journal since my first semester. I was a nonfiction reader for three issues and this semester I am serving as the co-editor with my incredible MFA little sis, Daisy. Mason’s Road has greatly impacted my writing. Reading other people’s work is a great way to expand your knowledge and to see first hand what works and what doesn’t work. It has helped me critique and edit my own work. I am eternally grateful to the people outside of the program who have supported or assisted me in any way. I have to thank Kate for editing assistance. I’m thankful for all my friends who encouraged me, or scheduled plans around my busy schedule. I’m grateful for my family for not only encouraging me, but also being characters in my manuscript. I’m thankful for Mr. O’s family and friends who understood if I wasn’t able to go to dinners or get-togethers because I was too busy writing. I’m grateful for Wolverine’s excitement about graduation and the amount of homework we both have to do. He graduates Kindergarten in June (and he still is quite shocked that he graduates before me!) and my graduation is in July. Not only that, but I have to thank Wolverine for completely changing my life. The combination of school and Wolverine in my life has taught me more than I ever could learn about forgiveness and parenting. He has opened me up to selfless unconditional love. He’s helped me learn and grow, and I love him so much for that. I couldn’t end here without acknowledging the person who has probably been my main support throughout this whole experience: Mr. O. I’m thankful for all the times he cooked dinner or cleaned up the apartment or went places without me all so that I could write. I’m grateful for the times he sternly told me to do my homework– he’s the best dad. I’m thankful for the suggestions and perspective he gave me on my writing. I’m thankful that he’s honest and willing to tell me something doesn’t work, or he doesn’t get the point I’m going for. I’m glad he doesn’t judge what I say as he’s probably the only non-school person to read the stories. But besides the actual work, I’m so grateful that he supported me emotionally as well. He pushed me when I wanted to give up, he held and kissed me when it all felt too overwhelming (and then he made me stop crying and start writing.) The biggest thing he did was always keep put things into perspective for me.

Can I acknowledge myself? I’ve written what is now a 114 page manuscript (that could change a bit before May 1st). Wow. That my friends doesn’t account for all the other numerous pages I’ve written and revised in the past two years. It doesn’t account for my preface, for my craft essays, for my graduation speech. It doesn’t account for my class I’ll teach. It doesn’t account for the notes I’ve taken, the stories I’ve started but never finished. I’ve completed (almost) a manuscript, and I need to pat myself on the back as well. Good job, Erin.  I’m proud of you.

Well, I guess acknowledging wasn’t as scary as I thought it could be. Now all I need to do is edit, remove the zillion adverbs and it looks like I might be at least 90% done on my acknowledgment section as well.

12 Resolutions: Reviewing March and Setting April Goals

So I’m coming into this one a bit late. In the beginning of the year, I vowed to work on one thing each month. I’ve never been a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, because I think they set many people up for failure. Then I noticed that some of my favorite bloggers were choosing a goal for each month and focusing on that one thing. Now, I like that idea. My goal for January was to not waste and my goal for February was to purge. I shared many photos of my February purging goal on this blog. I think I did a pretty damn good job with each of these items. My goal for March was to write a minimum of 30 minutes per day. I did alright with this goal. It is hard to measure my success though. I didn’t write daily and that is for sure. I did however complete quite a bit of new writing for my thesis, and that was the whole reason I wanted to write every day in March. So I guess overall I will consider March a success. But I won’t be boasting and bragging about it anytime soon.

So I’m a bit late to announce April’s goal. That is because I didn’t choose one until today. For April, I’d like to try to journal/scrap-journal for the majority of the month. I’m going to be revising my thesis like a maniac this month. So there will be a lot of writing and editing to do. However, through the Fierce Love course I’ve realized how much I miss journaling in my daily routine (or weekly routine even). I’m not going to stress about completing this daily, I just want to dedicate some time this month to get back into the process of journaling. Wish me luck!

March Observations

March Highlights:

  • Vacation! Mr. O, Wolverine and I went to New Hampshire for a long weekend. I love vacations.
  • The Emerson’s came up from GA for a week, and Mr. O finally got to meet the Mr. and Mrs. I wish I could have spent some time with Toddler Emerson seeing as how it has been over a year since I’ve seen him, but I can’t complain. It was amazing to see my friends. I love them so much.
  • Actually writing new material for my thesis. Not only that, but I’m pretty excited to find new uses for old material which I wasn’t planning on including. Even if the essay doesn’t appear in its original form, paragraphs have been brought to life in new essays.
  • My eye doctor is extremely pleased with my healing after the Lasik surgery last month. I’m pretty pleased with it too.
  • My friend Doodles (not her real name) had her baby! A healthy little baby girl was born on 3/22/12.
  • I’m actually keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 57.
  • I went to the Blog Better Boston Conference at the Google offices and FINALLY met my blogger friend Kate. I also met new friends like Sara and Lindsay and Germana.

Stinky March Moments:

  • My boss’s husband passed away…and her dog too. Her husband was young and healthy and loved and he died too quickly. I was incredibly moved by his death, and wish there was something I could do to change the past few months in her life. I can’t. Then her dog died. This sucks.
  • A few other acquaintances–family friends–passed away.
  • I got a vicious migraine at the beginning of the month. I haven’t had a bad one like that in quite some time, so it was very scary.
  • This is my thesis semester. Boo. It is a lot of work. (I’m thinking this might be here every month until I graduate).
  • I had to get an old filling fixed. I like my dentist, but I don’t love dental procedures. Actually, I had a whole bunch of doctor appointments. Same goes for them. I like my doctors, but I’d rather spend my time elsewhere.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • March 12 made one year since I was hit by a drunk driver. I’ll be honest. I was happy to make it home unscathed that day. I’m proud to admit no one under the influence has driven into me this year (so far- fingers crossed.
  • My god-daughter/niece turned two years old this month.
  • My wonderful friends Ashley, Michaela, Jessica, Jim, Gail, Mr. O’s mom and three of our friend’s children also had birthdays. This month was full of birthday parties and baby showers.
  • Mr. O did my taxes for me. I mailed them in, and then they mailed me a refund! Woot Woot.
  • Wolverine built a pretty fancy Leprechaun trap. We actually thought it worked and we caught a leprechaun, but when we opened up the trap door, we realized the leprechaun was too smart for us. He somehow stole all the gold and escaped! We will get you next year, Lucky!
  • I finally got a massage that Mr. O’s family bought me as part of my birthday present (in September). That was nice.

I’m looking forward to____ in April:

  • Mr. O, Wolverine and I are going to the Museum of Science in Boston. I’ve wanted to go for a very long time now. It even found its way onto my current 101 in 1001 goals list.
  • Another one of my pregnant friends is due to deliver in April… on my brother’s birthday actually. There are a lot of birthdays coming in April.
  • I will be reviewing my first book for TLC book tours. Look for it at the end of the month.
  • Finishing my thesis. Or at least being SOOOOO CLOSE to being finished. It needs to get approved during the month of May, so I pretty much need to be 100% done editing my creative writing and my critical introduction before I turn it in for approval. I can do this (fingers crossed).

Overall Thoughts:

Like February, March was just an okay month. I felt pretty overwhelmed all month, but I survived. I am so thankful that winter is over. I love Spring and I look forward to the days getting longer and the temperature getting warmer. I’m actually so done with this month. It’s not like I hated February and March, I just didn’t enjoy them. I loved cuddling on the couch with Mr. O, building the leprechaun trap with Wolverine, going to the hospital to meet and hold (I love holding newborns!) Doodle’s new baby and the Blog Better Boston Conference. It’s not like there weren’t good moments. I’m just glad the month is finished. I’m ready for April.

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Want to know more about my year? Check out the previous months: January and February

Where I Spent My Week On the Internet

Every Friday in my Reader, I’ve come to expect a post by San about the links she’s enjoyed throughout the week. A lot of bloggers do this, and I find myself either clinking over right away or starring the post to check out when I have more time.

I can’t promise to make this a regular item on the blog, but I am inspired to start sharing the links I’ve come to find over the week. I’ll have to hold myself to remembering to bookmark things. (This is why I havent’ done a post like this before. I find links that I love, and then I either forget where I’ve found them or who wrote it or I forget about the whole post altogether!)

The first link I’ll share is actually something I just finished reading. I should give Kudos to San for sharing this link on her blog today, which is how I found it. I’ve read Eleni way back in the day when she blogged under the pseudonym Hope over at Hope Dies Last. Since then, she has written a book, and somehow, I’m assuming when she changed website names, disappeared from my Reader (but she is back on there now!). Anyway, check out what she wrote in defense of women who want relationships.

The next place I spent my time is reading posts from The Scintilla Project. I completed days one and two of this, yet fell off the wagon. I’m trying to go easier on myself and not beat myself up when I “fail”. I have a lot on my plate lately, so I’m just going to enjoy the fact that I enjoyed writing two days worth of prompts. I adored what I wrote to Mr. O, and I liked that Day One really made me take a good look at my About Me page. I’m in the process of working on recreating that page now.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading submissions for Mason’s Road, Fairfield University’s MFA Literary Journal. I’m the Co-Editor of the Creative Nonfiction genre with the lovely Daisy from Write Here, Write Now. I’m not sharing this link because you can read submissions– you can’t, sorry– I’m sharing because I think you should submit. Our current submission period closes on May 1, 2012. So many bloggers are also writers. I’ve heard many bloggers write about how they’d love to submit some of their “real” writing,  but they are unsure where to start. Well, today is your lucky day, folks. There is currently no cost to submit your work to Mason’s Road. Even better than that, we are also currently holding a contest, where one of the submissions that gets published in our July 2012 issue will win a $1,000 prize. Guest judge is the amazing Jacqueline Mitchard. All submissions will be considered for the prize. Get writing, and get submitting.

I’m excited to read about Ashley’s experience wearing only 33 items (including shoes and jewelry!) for the next three months! You’ve got to check out these pictures.

Since I am currently in graduate school and graduating in July, I adored this post by Ashley (no, not the same Ashley as above). I kept nodding my head over and over and over again.

That is about it folks (well, that I remember… I know I’m forgetting a link or two, but I didn’t save them!)… Check back next week for more goodies.