for•Ÿw[o]rds

/ˈfôrwərd z/

 

adverb

1. direction that one is facing/traveling.

 

2. onward so as to make progress; toward

a successful conclusion.

 

3. toward the future; ahead in time.

 

 

verb

1. send (a letter or e-mail) on to a further destination; convey.

 

2. help to advance (something); promote.

 

origin

Old English forweard, ‘toward the future,’

as in from this day forward 

 

Re: blog

 

For about 7 months, I wrote a blog about words and doing. About moving forward(s). Every day, a word. Maybe images (another form of words). It was about saying yes. Finding out what is possible. Letting things crash into each other and make their own kind of sense.

 

In August 2015, I graduated with my MFA –– just at the point of recognizing all I didn't know. A sea. How to keep exploring the unknown? Work on the work? Be around interesting voices questioning, every day, what it means to write or make art? How does one dive into this life? 

 

In April 2015, on residency, I found an answer at least to the question of now (or then).

 

For a year, I was Writing Coordinator (aka Staff Artist in the Writing Program) at Vermont Studio Center. A combined opportunity: when not assisting the director of the Writing Program (the amazing Ryan Walsh), I was on residency––writing in my studio, attending craft talks and readings, meeting authors, wandering Vermont. One revolution of the sun (beginning to beginning) spent in a place where more than 700 artists and writers land every year.

 

A position opened in grants, I applied and got the job. Then somehow became Interim Writing Program Director when Ryan left, and then managed the Writing Program and grants full time, helping to bring other artists and writers to creative sanctuary.

 

The blog was a record, mostly for myself; it's so easy to forget when we get to the next place, how astounding the journey. I tried to post a word (google define...) that had something to do with the world I experienced, some observations and maybe photos (my second favorite language). Often I'd hand-type in a poem that moved me (no copy/paste, it taught me so much to rewrite their words). My life got complicated that December and I stopped. A divorce, trying to decide whether to stay, to give up the staff artist position for permanence. A fire. Etc. So it is a snapshot of sorts.

 

Like most poets, I love how words echo, ten meanings existing simultaneously; how they occupy fugitive and in-between spaces, making up their own rules. As Maggie Nelson says in Argo: “willing to designate molten or shifting parts, a means of asserting while also giving the slip.” Poetry, a great code. How far will I go for this weird thing I love? At least to Vermont. (And now back to the Bay Area but that is a whole other story).

 

So... forwards. For words. I packed up my Subaru and drove across the US, about 4,000 miles. As Robyn Davidson said, making the first decision is the beginning of the journey. Maybe I'll begin again one day soon.

 

My new mantra: yes::do. Nine points on the Scrabble board. 

Also luck, another 10.

 

––Laurie Macfee

 

 

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