Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So Long, Farewell

The time has come to Kevork the blog. And rather than leave the 3 Ps lingering with half-thoughts in cyberspace forever, we decided, before signing off, to sum up where we are three years later. Our 31 followers will be relieved to know the three of us remained friends as we travailed, and that we will continue to write and be friends as we continue to travail.

Kelly Kathleen Ferguson

Firstly, mostly, and lastly, I have a book coming out this September—My Life as Laura: How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myself. I can now be found at kellykathleenferguson.com.

As for the past three years:

Moved to New Orleans. Helped start a writers’ group. Wrote a book proposal. Caught a golden coconut at Zulu. Landed an agent. Golden coconut turned bright turquoise with mold. Lost the agent. Accepted to creative writing PhD program at Ohio University. Signed with Press 53. Moved to Athens. (Not Greece. Not Georgia.) Wrote a book. Published one short story, one profile, one poem, one list and three book reviews. Survived 56 rejections (15 for one story). 2 “encouraging” rejections (same story). 4 no reply. 5 pending. Presented at two conferences. Total student loan debt running at $18,000, but no panhandling. Yet.

There’s also a few thousand hours of time elapse photography of me either staring at my laptop and/or face down crying.

And, coming full circle, I will be reading at the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula this fall, my first trip back to Montana.

Trina Burke

I moved to Seattle. There was freelance editing and then a friend got me a job in her office at the local university (Networking: It really does work!) It was a temporary job as an administrative assistant. I almost got laid off, but a coworker left and I just happened to have the skills to move into her position on a temporary appointment. Then my appointment was almost up, but a coworker almost died from swine flu and another coworker did die of a heart attack. So I moved into another role. Then I got a permanent appointment. All in three years, all in the same department. I still freelance, but with less frequency.
On the home front: I got married. I moved three times within the same city. The people around me have been marrying, divorcing, and having babies with abandon. I've been to Europe a couple of times. I have a burgeoning pumpkin patch in my back yard. I have a back yard! I'm wickedly happy.
And then there's the writing. I've been rejected a lot, which comes as no surprise. But I've had some small triumphs, too: I won $200 in a contest, published some poems in some journals, had a chapbook accepted and published by Dancing Girl Press, wrote some reviews, attended some seminars abroad. More important than all that, I've managed to keep up a sort of writing practice. Yes, the flood of inspiration and output during the MFA years has diminished, but new work still finds its way out on the regular. I imagine it will continue to do so, regardless of whether any of it gets published.
I don't know if my experience is typical. It has been an exercise in sitting back and seeing what happens. And what I've realized is that nothing happens quickly, or dramatically. This epiphany has allowed me to conclude that there is no deadline for success. If I look back and try to think about what my goal was in getting an MFA, I don't so much find a goal as a nebulous bunch of hopes. I hoped to amass a body of work, which I did. I hoped to read a lot of poetry, which I did. I hoped to meet some awesome people, which I did in spades. I hoped to publish a book, which hasn't happened yet and might never. I think I still came out ahead, though.
It's been a kick. Thanks for reading the blog and best wishes!

Laurie E. White

Adieu! Looking back, working backwards:

[September 2011 – September 2010] I’m in Chicago working as a writer at NogginLabs, designing instructional software (read: eLearning) for Fortune 500 companies. Recently bought our first home in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Adopted a dog; he’s still our neurotic co-pilot.

[September 2010 – January 2009] Wedding (married fellow Montana MFAer Travis Fortney). The 3Ps were together again. A chapbook from From Yes Press. Before Noggin, Research Coordinator for the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University. (Chemistry?!?) Four poems were picked up for the second issue of > kill author. Adopted a fat cat.

[January 2009 – May 2008] Celebrated in Grant Park on election night. Instructed at an online university; college comp. Copy edited for the Annals of Statistics. One poem in DIAGRAM. Our first Chicago apartment: the super can't distinguish our keys from the 1,000 others on his ring. Proceeds to kick in our back door with his boot, advises us to change the locks. Thisclose to taking a temp job testing Diebold voting machines for the national election in a warehouse for 12 hours/day, $8.00/hour. Drove with one cat, one fellow (see September 2010) and some of our plants straight from Montana to Chicago. Why Chicago? We picked it on a map and drove there. No place to stay. No jobs.

[May 2008] MFA.

What excellent company I’ve been able to keep at 3Ps for 3 years. Thanks for stopping by.


Steve Hamilton said...

I'm not even sure how I found your blog, but it was always on my shortlist of sites to check at least once a week. Best of luck to all of you, on whatever comes next...

Kelly Kathleen Ferguson said...

Thanks, Steve! You as well.

Kate said...

3 Ps,
Congratulations on all of your successes and best of luck to all of you! I always enjoyed reading your blog and found it really useful in evaluating my own MFA goals, writing future, and general life ambitions. Thank you!

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kimberly gould lambright said...

Hi! I used to read your blog regularly and really enjoyed it. I stopped back today b/c I'm visiting Chicago next week, and was wondering if Laura has any suggestions on where poetry readings happen? Etc. If this ever gets to you, I'd love to know the inside scoop. --Kim (MFA, Eastern Wash Univ, 06)