1. Last Fall, Laura Maylene Walter — our very own Laura — published a piece in Poets & Writers called, I believe, “The Price of Submission” and wrote about it on her blog. There’s a photo of Joan Didion on the cover, and y’all know how much I love My Joan Didion.
2. My issue never arrived. I was informed my subscription had expired. How was this possible?!?! I sent them a note.
3. They promised to fix it and get me the Joan Didion issue. Which never arrived. In October, December, and January — I kid you not — I exchanged e-mails with Poets & Writers Customer Service. They could not, no matter how they tried, get me a magazine.
4. On January 23, they finally sent me an e-mail saying they were expediting the January/February issue and, not 2 days later, wrapped in brown paper like it was porn, the issue arrived on my doorstep. Thank you Jaysus! It wasn’t My Joan Didion, nor My Laura Maylene, but it was here. I flipped 13 pages in, saw an ad for a writers’ conference, and turned one more page to read John Stazinski’s “A Novel Approach.”
5. In the next day or so, Lyra told me to get over to Shanna’s blog and read the post about writing her memoir. While reading through several of Shanna’s posts, there was this: “When I first started writing this book, back in the dark ages of 2006, I optimistically applied to a handful of prestigious fellowships and conferences. Ignorance is bliss. When the MacDowell Colony asked me to enumerate my previous awards, adding the helpful parenthetical, “e.g.: Guggenheim, NEA, etc.,” I literally wrote in the allotted space, “You’re kidding, right?”
6. Ignorance is bliss.
7. The next day, I was trying to work while men cut brick (with a screaming electric saw) outside my window. I pulled out the Poets & Writers and spotted, again, that thing about a writer’s conference. I’ve never been to a writers’ conference, never even applied as it seemed impossible-what’s-the-point-there-are-a-thousand-fucking-people-who-apply —- but since I couldn’t concentrate anyway, and I remembered Shanna’s “You’re kidding, right?”, I quick-filled-out some forms and formatted an essay to submit, pressed send, and promptly forgot all about it.
8. This afternoon, I got an acceptance letter from the Yale Writers’ Conference, where the master classes will be led by Tom Perrotta and Julia Glass.
9. Did you hear that? An ACCEPTANCE LETTER.
10. Tom Perrotta. Julia Glass. And more.
Thanks to the confluence of the above, come June, I’ll be spending two weeks at the Yale Writers’ Conference.
I’ve never been to New Haven.
Why do I keep thinking about Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw making snow angels?