Sunday, January 11, 2009


We are in Vermont. My wife began pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Goddard College in 2006. Today, she graduates. Already she has had the opportunity to read a ten-minute excerpt from her novel, part of a presentation of a half-dozen graduates who were presenting today. She went last. Maybe it's me, but the rousing applause she received when her name was announced gives me the impression that people here think she is as special as I do.

There's just a lot of trees here. Trees and rain. And unshaven men in their forties in shorts and Tivas who make me feel good about my sex appeal. - June 26, 2006

Her time here was low-res; she has spent one intensive week here, twice a year, and then come home to write and study. The first two trips (June 06, January 07) the boy was still nursing, and so I took time off from work and played house-husband in our dorm room.

Marathon training begins, officially, today. Out on RT 2, lush trees and mountains ... and the occasional semi. I'd try to find a path through the woods, but it rained for a day solid yesterday, I can't imagine any of them are at all dry. - June 27, 2006

This place holds different memories for my wife and myself. She has made many dear friends here, and professional acquaintances I expect her to hold for life. As for me, it's about the kids. From breakfast through bedtime, I was in charge of them while my wife was in classes. We saw her for meals, most of them though not all, and I with them got to know the surrounding area a bit. I have certainly seen more of Vermont than she has, and I haven't been here for two years.

The boy was barely over a year old when we first came, not more than two since he was last here. The girl remembers it a little. Everyone remembers them.

Can I freaking do this thing? In 2004 I broke my personal speed record. I was doing great. Great shape. Then I broke my heel and there was a cascade of complications, hamstring in my right thigh, now a vicious shin splint, maybe my time has passed, I don't know. - June 29, 2006

At dawn, in June 2006, I ran. It was the start of my 18 week training before NYC 2006. Starting out I didn't know where to go except on the two-lane highway that runs by the college. Maybe if I knew about the USATF mapping program I could have been more adventurous. In any case, I was thrilled and apprehensive about answering a note on the community board from one of the woman at the help desk.

My off-time has been rigorously enjoyed. I have been rising at 5 or 6 to take in a run, today the woman from the help desk and I ran together, and she led me through an old trail I never would have found myself. She and I and a Swiss woman went for the best run I have had so far, though the "railroad bed" because apparently that's what it once was. - June 30, 2006

Yesterday was a nightmare. My wife came on Thursday, she had work to complete to earn her degree. It is the wrong time of year for me to be missing any days of work, so we agreed I would bring the kids on Saturday.

I will make this long story short. Hopkins was socked with snow, our flight was late, we missed our connection in Philly, spent five hours there before boarding the next flight to Manchester and then spent two hours in the plane, on the ground, before take-off. Then I had to drive a rental car through a snow storm a little over two hours from New Hampshire to Plainfield.

Original arrival time in VT: 5 PM. Actual arrival time: 12:30 AM.

The women in their 30s or older treat me like some kind of saint when they learn who I am and what I'm doing here. - June 30, 2006

I had kept my wife up on our ordeal with regular texts. She told everyone, it would seem, they all greet me with relief at my being present. It was pretty harrowing, actually, the driving part. My children are angels, I have to admit. Patient beyond their years. I tried not to let them see my frustration or despair, and they took it with grace.

In the mess hall this afternoon I made eye-contact with Nilo Cruz (Anna in the Tropics) but alas, I do not get to hear him speak. I am the spouse, not the writer. - June 30, 2006

I am so proud of my wife. She has written a great, American novel. She has grown so much through her experience here. She has had little time to contribute to my solo piece, there has been too much to do to finish her MFA. She has agreed to look at it, and suggest cuts. Twelve days to first performance. I could use her talents.

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