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This Year, Sports Fans

February 9, 2015

I’m supposed to be working, so of course that’s what I isn’t doing. Fuck it, it’s a holiday.

First of all, before I forget, I want to say everyone buy this: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/0871409399?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00. Dorothea fuckin’ Lasky is the number one poet of my life. You can’t really go wrong with someone whose middle name is “fuckin’.” I believe her poems should be in all the brains. How could you go wrong with this purchase; the cover is all covered in classical shoutouts and there’s page after page of crazy words inside. It’s everything a book should be. Get it, and if you aren’t satisfied, then please never come back to this website, because you, sir, are neither a friend nor a lover, and that’s the only kinds of people I’m here to hang out with.

New topic now. Some months back, friends and lovers, in between panic attacks and sobbing spells and losing my cat and not eating, I compiled a portfoiliololiolio of my greatest literary works of all time and applied to the MFA program at UBC. I didn’t apply anywhere else because I’m super old and have moved 20 billion times since 1997. Plus I am currently now at this time living in the best suite of my life and making my rent payments to the biggest human being of a landlord. There is no incentive to mess with this. But there is great incentive not to spend the next eleventy seven years rating language proficiency exams all weekend every weekend and teaching English for roughly $.03 per hour (I love my students but come the fuck on), growing old/er and bitter/er as I tell myself day after worksoaked day that I ought to be writing, should really find some time to write, haven’t written anything since 1947, don’t want to die of a heart crushed by not enough poems, &c. So I sent off my application and I only told like four people that I’d applied because I didn’t want to go through the whole thing of not getting accepted and people having to find something to say and me having to respond politely while being unable to avoid having uncharitable reactions in my mind.

Well-intentioned person: “Aw, that’s too bad. Next year.”
Me: “Yeah, maybe.”
My brain: FUCK YOU COCKSUCKER I’M 35 PUT NEXT YEAR UP YOUR BUTT I WILL HAVE CHRONIC ARTHRITIS IN MY WRISTS BY THEN MY HAIR WILL BE GREY AND MY BRAIN WILL BE TEPID GRUEL

Different well-intentioned person, or maybe the same one: “I can’t believe you didn’t get in. You’re such a good writer.”
Me: “Thanks.”
My brain: FUCK OFF YOU HAVE TO SAY THAT BECAUSE OF SOCIAL CONVENTIONS WHAT GOOD IS BEING GOOD IF THE PEOPLE WITH THE POWER ARE JUST GOING TO DANCE ON MY DREAMS P.S. ALSO I’M 35 AND SEE ABOVE RE: ARTHRITIS, GRUEL, ETC.

I was trying to avoid this type of stuff because I don’t like being a superbitch even in my mind, so I applied to UBC under cover of darkness. Then I waited for three months. Then I got an e-mail last Monday during the 15-minute break in my morning class and I was like, Fuck it, open it right now, greet your fate, so I did, and thereupon the three students who were still hanging out in the classroom beheld some extremely unprofessional table pounding and self-high-fiving and aggressive sounds. Then I reeeeally didn’t feel like teaching perfect infinitives, even reeeeallier than I hadn’t felt like teaching them before I opened the e-mail.

I haven’t quite wrapped my head around this (what a bizarre expression; how could any solid ovoid object wrap itself around anything? It wouldn’t occur to anyone to try to wrap an egg around a slice of bacon, yet we’re always trying to wrap our heads around things, immaterial ones no less) because it’s all seven months away–or really six, because I’m going to take August off to write/finish/edit poems goddamn it. I find myself wanting to quit my jobs immediately. I won’t, but a girl can dream. I did give my six months’ notice at the school I work at, so that was a nice compromise.

I also find myself looking back to the terrible days of 2007 when I had just dropped out of my PhD and there was all this tacit confusion and disappointment emanating from the people around me and I was always having to try to explain why I’d abandoned my field of study, in many cases to people who had supported/encouraged me as a scholar. (Since then almost everyone I met in grad school has drifted away from academia; they’re classicists peripherally or not at all–some because they found something else they’d rather do, others because universities have stopped hiring professors.) I was, outwardly at least, quite successful, full of potential, and then suddenly I was like, I’m out. I did it partly because I wanted to write stuff that wasn’t academic essays and knew I never could if I kept on the path I was on. I did it partly because I could see how the job market was drying up. And I did it partly because I was in a mental health crisis and was on 2,000 medications and couldn’t think straight. When people asked why I left I said it was the first two things, but of course it was all three, and of course I was constantly terrified that it was only the third, that the shit of my mind had destroyed my future.

Now I’m kind of hindsight relieved because apparently I didn’t destroy anything. And since my plan for the next two years is to write a manuscript of extremely liberal translations of classical poems, it turns out I didn’t even abandon my first love. Soon I’ll be balls deep in Ovid and Sappho and Catullus once again. Balls deep! Fuckyeah!

The week I got back to Calgary in 2007, a former professor of mine said to me over drinks, “So how long are you going to give the writing thing? Five years?” Like many others, he thought my being away from academia was a gawky stage I would grow out of.

I haven’t been back to Seattle since I left, even though I always loved the city. I felt like I couldn’t be there. Didn’t deserve to be, and/or would get hysterical if I went to certain familiar places. I think the bullshit of the two years I lived there traumatized me a bit. Shortly after I moved to Vancouver I made plans to go back for a weekend, and then I just didn’t. I think I could now. It would be fun to do a reading there, or even to sit in one of the bars I used to sit in, write a poem while drinking fewer than eight drinks, and leave it on the table.

How long I’m going to give “the writing thing” is: the rest of my life, muthafuckas. And that’s true irregardless of what I end up doing for money after I finish the MFA. Word.

One great part of being about to spend two years and hopefully also all my other years in the writing world is that now I don’t have to worry about non-writing-related-job-type people being offended by the writing on my writing website, which means I no longer need to creep around pseudonymously. So, for anyone who cares, I’m not Kate Strayer, I’m Meaghan Rondeau, and I have been the entire time. How do you like me now.

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