Hello, Arizona


This piece was retrieved from an old archive of my online writing—there will likely be some rough edges!

Very recently, I accepted an offer to attend the University of Arizona’s MFA program starting this fall. My wife and I will be moving from Madison, Wisconsin and to Tucson, Arizona sometime this summer.

This is years in the making. An MFA isn’t something I always felt was necessary to my growth as a writer, but it’s nonetheless something I’ve worked toward during these last few years, as I tried my best to support my wife through veterinary school. And now that she’s graduating in roughly two months, it’s time to move on. It was the sliver of promise that made certain days more bearable. That helped remind me what it is, exactly, that I’m trying to do.

An MFA isn’t an answer, but rather a clue.

I have so many people to thank. My wife, who has always dealt with the obsessive way I sometimes hound the computer, who has always believed there’s value in what I do and aim to do, and has always supported me. My parents, who never questioned my sanity, and read everything of mine they could, even if they didn’t understand it. Joe Pfister, who will probably never read this, Internet-curmudgeon he is (he doesn’t even use Twitter!!!), but who has nonetheless critiqued and improved my writing countless times, and who continues to be my go-to source for all the complaints and joys that accompany writing. There’s the wonderful people who took the time to write recommendation letters for me — Dean Bakopoulos, Judith Claire Mitchell, and Dave Housley — and who can expect more gushing thanks to come. Lisa Mecham, who has become something of a big-writer-sister to me, and is a constant source of encouragement.

I’m going to take the next two years to work harder than I ever have. I’ll work with Kate Bernheimer and Manuel Munoz and Ander Monson and the rest of the incredible faculty and write as much as I possibly can, the best I possibly can, and then it will be over, and then I’ll keep writing on and on and on.

I’m going to leave Wisconsin and live in the desert and I’ll be really happy about everything.

I mean, I already am happy with everything. But still.

Clues are my favorite form of navigation, because they always lead somewhere bigger and more clear.