The Letter Project

September 6, 2009

Special Delivery (19)

Filed under: Letters — Theresa Williams @ 11:50 pm
Tags: , ,

In this letter, Emily Anderson writes to her friend Stacey about changes.  At the time this letter was written, Emily was just getting used to a new city and had great anticipation of what would lie ahead for her writing.  Emily is a graduate of Bowling Green State University’s BFA program in creative writing.  She is now getting her MFA in Pennsylvania.  Emily quotes Donald Hall, who once wrote: “It turns out that the fulfillment of desire is to stop desiring, to live in the full moon & the snow, in the direction  the  wind  comes  from,  in the animal scent of the alive second.”  –TW

Dear Stacey,

How is Columbus?  It still has not sunk in that I really don’t live there anymore.  I like the apartment here in PA–it’s newer & nicer than my old one, but it doesn’t have a view of the Columbus skyline, or the State College Skyline for that matter.  It’s about a 20 minute walk to campus, up & down three big hills.  Luckily, there is a bus that runs right past the apartment complex, but it’s expensive!  I was expecting it to be free for students, but no–it’s $1.25 per trip or you can buy passes by the month, semester, or year.

I walked to campus today & got my student ID & set up my email account.  It’s ____, but I’ll keep using my gmail as well.  I am a bit lost here, not knowing anyone & not having any money but I’m looking forward to orientation next week to get aquainted with my teaching assignment, and with my fellow grad students.

So, how is life there?  When do regular fall classes start for you?  What kind of fun have you been having without me?  I have not really had any “fuhn” yet, just a few nice sweaty hilly runs–I’ve got to get used to the hills!  And I will.  It just takes some time.

I am happy though; even poor & bored, I’m happy with my decision to go for my MFA.  There’s a pressure that goes with [sic] though, and a fear.  I’m reading Donald Hall’s essays in Here at Eagle Pond (I bought the book with my gift certificate at Arepogitica before I left) & he articulates it like this:  “I feared the fulfillment of desire, as if I would be punished for possessing what I wanted so much.”  You know that feeling?  I do.  I constantly struggle to feel worthy or my own happiness & not to live in fear of it being taken away.  I’m like that with relationships too; when I’m in a good relationship, it’s hard for me to relax & really enjoy it because at some level I’m afraid of losing it or messing it up.  But I learn again & again (does that mean I don’t learn?  or is it the kind of lesson that must be repeated in each new situation?) that I must be present in the moments, that even if something does end, it is far better to have enjoyed it fully while it lasted than to have spent the whole time worrying about what comes next.  Hall had a similar epiphany.  He goes on to say “…but contentment was relentless and would not let me go until I studied the rapture of the present tense.  It turns out that the fulfillment of desire is to stop desiring, to live in the full moon & the snow, in the direction the wind comes from, in the animal scent of the alive second.”  )my emphasis on the word “live.”  (both quotes are from the essay “Keeping Things”)  I love the phrase “the rapture of the present tense,” and while I don’t think the fulfillment of desire is to totally stop desiring, I do agree that the essence of eontentment is to live where you are & when you are.

So that’s what I’m trying to do now just live here with the giant groundhogs & the crazy hills & the overcast skies.  Enjoy my peace & quiet & relaxation this week, the absence of obligation, & recharge myself for the coming challenge.  It will be rewarding through & I look forward to it.

Are you writing much these days?  I haven’t looked at your blog in ages (busy & a bit self-obsessed recently–I apologize).  Are we still slated to read together in November?  I’m looking forward to that.  If you see any of the Poetry Forum crowd tell them hello.


Lucky & Jade send their love & fur balls to Mandy & Lemonhead.  And to you as well.  Let me know when you’d like to come visit.  I’d love to see you.  Take care, my friend, I mean it!

Love, Emily


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