“What Are You Going to Do Now?”

Photo by Valerie Peake

As of Saturday, I am a graduate of the Pacific University MFA in Writing Program. Throughout that final residency, and especially at the banquet on Saturday, I lost count of how many times I was asked, “What are you going to do now?”

Some asked with such expectancy, I almost wondered if they thought I had been granted magic powers. I wanted to tell them about bounding over skyscrapers and shooting lasers from my eyes. But the real answer is far more simple: I am going to keep reading, writing, and conversing with other writers and thinkers about art.

Poetry has become a survival skill for me. And so, although I now find myself in the post-MFA, pre-first-book limbo, I will continue to keep reading and writing, with patience and determination, as though my well-being depended on it. Because, quite frankly, I have discovered a simple equation: the more I admit poetry into my life, the better my life becomes. So, perhaps I should answer instead that I plan to keep improving my life, one line at a time.