I didn’t go to my senior prom. Instead, I went to the after-party at the local YMCA. Somehow around three in the morning, I got wrangled into having a session with the tarot card reader the school had brought in for entertainment purposes (right between the hypnotist and the raffle drawing for QT gas cards). The guy was nice enough; he had a big beard and some weird little top hat. He said I reminded him of his daughter. I said he didn’t remind me of my father. And then he pulled the cards.
I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. I’m not saying I’m a liar, just that I’m a writer. At long last, at the ripe middle age of 50 – doesn’t get any more middle than that – I am about to start an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Surprising on the nonfiction front, considering my love of embellishment, but I digress. As a child, I lived in books. I read voraciously to visit the worlds I could barely comprehend and embrace them as my own. By the time I was ten, I’d been into space, lived at the bottom of the sea, traveled the world and fallen in love at least a million times. Books took me places without ever leaving the back yard of our Central Valley home in Fresno California.
Hi. I’m Minda and I’m three months away from completely changing the direction of my life. Again. Won’t you join me? A year ago, I wasn’t doing so well. I was (and am) in a city I hated, I had just kicked my relationship with my neighbor cold turkey (Mr. Rogers could have saved me had he done just ONE episode on appropriate neighbor relations…), I had practically no friends and the end was not near. I was committed to being in this city for at least another 11 months. I felt helpless. Feelings of helplessness led to lots of lying in bed and staring at my ceiling painted in that perfectly neutral shade luxury apartments paint everything in. It meant fighting the temptation to walk down the stairs and up the block to the liquor store on the corner, but thankfully when I kicked my neighbor; I kicked many vices by association as well.
Image: Bob Mical I started writing poetry when I was twelve but I didn’t begin pursuing it seriously until I took my first creative writing workshop my sophomore year of college. I guess that’s where my MFA journey sort of started. I decided to complete my honors capstone a year early so I could have a chapbook length portfolio of poems to submit for applications. While I was working on my capstone during my junior year, I went back and forth between applying and not applying. After I was given the opportunity to give two different poetry readings at my university, I finally made up my mind—I was going to apply for an MFA in creative writing.