Opening Letter

I believe this may very well be the most embarrassing thing I have done up to this point in life. This is my very last year as an M.F.A. student of fiction at Arizona State University. I have a tendency to yield to the kind of honesty that is both shameless and often inappropriate. Because of that I hesitate to commit to this kind of blind mind dumping, but I just came from a workshop in San Francisco where one of the guest speakers said, “if you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Well gosh, if I’m a ghost then ghosts have a lot of bills to pay. I would have hoped that non-existence had some perks like no taxes. Still, I get it. So, OK, let’s see what happens.

This coming Tuesday, July 2, is the start of the second summer teaching session at ASU. I’m teaching one online workshop for English composition. Most M.F.A./teaching assistants gripe, moan, bitch, and sigh over the whole teaching thing. I actually don’t mind it. I live in Surprise, Arizona, which was 118 degrees today. I have a job that requires reading a few essays and never stepping outside. I could do a back flip and touch the ceiling for that kind of set up. Now all I have to do is finish my novel, get published, and give every doubting hater in the world the finger, maybe two. (I did say this may get inappropriate.)

Being a writer of color has led to a somewhat unique experience or at least less common. As much as some of us like to think that we can invent ourselves, there is a predetermined set of conditions that follow us around from birth. Some of these identifying factors I can be proud of, some I can laugh at, some are so delightfully absurd they must be turned into stories, and some foster reservations and paranoia that just will not go away. For any questions I get, I can only hope to be accurate and eloquent about my experience, but I can promise to be truthful and sincere.