Saturday, September 4, 2010


Hi kids, remember me? Been a little while.

Since London I kind of felt like I didn’t have a whole lot to impress upon my Calvin vs. World blog. I tried going back to the old blog, but it’s decided to be a pile and label every day as the same day and so I don‘t know what dates I did what. This is not cool, so I‘m back here after a summer of sports camps and mooching off the parentals. Now this one’s background has been erased and I’m lost as to how to fix it. So bear with me as I continue being an occasional nuisance to the girls I know are blog queens (Anna and Elizabeth) until somebody saves me and this poorly-formed blog.


As a few of you already know, I decided to move to Boston to pursue my dream to become a professional goof-off. So far, so good. I am now enrolled and enthralled to be enrolled in an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) poetry program at Boston University (to be forever known hereafter as BU). BU has a few of the biggest (living) names in all of poetry-dom. Which is funny because that means that I’ve heard of most couple of them, and most of the world has no idea who they are. So if you’d like to look them up, my poetry professors this semester are Robert Pinsky and David Ferry. Next semester it’ll be Robert Pinsky and Louise Glück (pronounced Glick). Rosanna Warren is on her sabbatical so I may or may not meet her. I’ve heard she teaches an amazing translation seminar, but we’re gonna miss out on it (her teaching, not the class itself).

SO, for the sake of nostalgia, let me run you through the process of getting to Boston. My flight left Sunday, August 29th at 5:40 am. Dad was good enough to wake up with me at 4 to get me there. I decided last minute that taking my guitar was going to be too much of a pain, which hurt my heart. But I’m sure there’s a Guitar Center here in Boston where I can spend a few (twelve) hours per Saturday “testing” guitars. If all else fails I’ll make one out of cardboard and shoelaces.

My first flight took me to Minneapolis, Minnesota (don’tcha know?). I had never been to Minnesota, but I can tell you right now it’s gorgeous. It was all green and there were lakes everywhere (they weren’t lying). If I liked any of their sports teams I’d probably move there just based on what I saw and who I know from MN (good people, all of them). I only had about twenty minutes to get to the next terminal, but as I walked out of the plane they announced a change to my flight. So I had twenty minutes to turn left and walk twenty feet to the next gate. Kinda nice. Chatted with some guy that saw my BYU shirt (he’d heard of the business program rather than, surprisingly, the English program) and slept (kinda) my way to Boston.

Minnesota was gorgeous, but Boston was phenomenal. We flew all the way over the city and out over the Cape before turning around and flying back into the airport. The water was beautiful and there were sailboats everywhere. I was grinning like an idiot and I’m sure I made the lady sitting in the window seat a bit uncomfortable as I stared over her shoulder the entire descent. Thrilled to be here from the get-go.

Outside the terminal I waited just a few minutes before Kiyomi showed up to save my life. Since my friend Rachel left for L.A. a few weeks ago I only know Kiyomi here in Boston. I am SO glad she’s here and she was gracious enough to let me crash at her place. I spent three nights on an air mattress in her living room. She works as a lifeguard all day, so we’d get up early and she’d drop me off at the Braintree T stop (the T is the subway in Boston. I’m gonna have the hardest time not calling it the Tube. Ah, London). Then I’d ride an hour and a half to BU to get things done. Around 10 I’d head back and she’d pick me up. Moving here would have been exponentially more difficult without her.

After she picked me up she informed me that traffic into Boston on Sunday afternoon is insanity (she wasn’t kidding). So she drove me out to her dad’s place which is near the ocean. His name is Phil and he’s pretty cool. He works for himself as a carpenter and his shop is in the basement. He came with us to Humarock Beach where we went swimming in the Atlantic for a little bit just to cool off. It’s been so hot here and it’s way humid too, which my body never likes. A storm had changed the beach a few days before so there wasn’t much sand. I had no idea how rocky the beach would be but all the stones are smooth so it’s not too bad at all. The whole place was just beautiful and it would be wicked cool to live and/or vacation here. After swimming we played ping-pong in the basement. He’s way good, and Kiyomi isn’t bad at all, so I spent my night losing. Then he made lentil soup with sausage in it (so good) and I watched as they played a lightning round of backgammon.

After that we dropped stuff off and she took me downtown to show me around. I got to see the moonlit waterfront (loved it), the Irish district, the Italian district, Chinatown, the Common (sweet looking park), and a few other things. It’s an understatement to say that I love big cities. Boston reminded me a lot of London and I’m sure that this experience will mirror that in a lot of ways. However, it is going to be different in a lot of ways. For one, I’m kickin’ it with my bad self here. I haven’t gotten too lonely yet, but it’s definitely a transition (no 30+ pretty girls to hang out with 24/7, no Cameron to travel with, etc). School will be a lot more serious too, but Boston has been and will be amazing in its own right.

Monday I got my student card, got my financial aid rolling, got to know campus, walked all the way out to look at my new place, bought books, and just ran myself ragged getting errands done. Tuesday was training for Teaching Fellows. I won’t be teaching a course until Spring semester (Jan-May) but they wanted us all there anyways. The first three hours were just professors telling us how important we are and how much they rely on us (so they don’t have to pay Ph.D.s, etc) and how much fun/work this will be. After that everybody split up. Most people had to go learn about how to run labs and deal with difficult students, but the creative writing program had us go outside to eat lunch together and then meet with a recent graduate to go over teaching. Her name was Melissa (maybe) and basically she just gave us ideas. We have unrestrained freedom in how and what we teach in our writing classes. Nobody is going to look at my syllabus, nobody is going to observe me, I can not teach fiction or playwriting if I don’t want to. Basically, they gave me the green light to create the greatest creative writing class in existence. I can’t wait.

Not everybody in each program is teaching, so I met a few of the fiction writers. There are ten of them, ten of us, and five playwrights in the writing program. The guy I spent the most time talking to was Antonio Elefano. Don’t let his name fool you, this dude ain’t no Italian. He’s asian. He also is doing this as a year off since he’s been practicing corporate law in New York City for the last five years and “was getting too busy to write.” I was like “what!?” Oh yeah, and he went to Yale for law school. That’s only #1 in the country. But the dude was down to earth, a few years older than me at best, and told me if I had questions about law school or practice to let him know (it’s still plan C or D for me). Way cool. I also spent a bit of time talking to a fiction writer named Lana. I don’t remember where she’s from, but she’s pretty and very nice so we got along.

My poetry classmates seem really cool so far. There are five guys (me, T.J. McLemore, Langston Kerman, Dan Kraines, Nicholas Leonard) and five girls (Lisa Hiton, Ashley Chow, Binh Nguyen, Elisabeth Houston, and Sophie Grimes). At the training I met T.J., Lisa, Ashley, Sophie, and Binh. The other four are not teaching fellows because they’re the more established writers. Dan is working with Pinsky on Pinsky’s “Favorite Poem” project which he started as Poet Laureate, Langston, Nick, and Elisabeth got other endowments on top of the BU money so they’ve got other things to do. Sophie is quiet but seems way cool, Lisa is super nice and will be easy to get along with, and TJ is gonna be the chick magnet. He’s awesome and he and I got a lot in common, but he’s much better looking than I am. Hahaha, lucky for me I got practice living with Jordan Kilgore so being number two is fine with me. I got it all planned out: Sophie likes TJ all semester and then he does nothing so she tries having a crush on me and I’m like “forget that crap, I’m awesome.” Then it’s super awkward and I love it the whole time. I can’t wait.

Wednesday I slept in and Kiyomi went to work and then to dinner with a friend. So after that we went to Walmart and I bought everything but furniture. Then we drove to my new place. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty awesome. It’s not huge, but it’s definitely enough space for one. I’ve spent the last few night sleeping on a towel on the hardwood floor, so hopefully I have time to go furniture shopping sometime soon and get, like, a bed and a chair or something.

Yesterday I went to get my financial aid check (yay, more money I can’t spend!) and then headed to class. My first class was Contemporary American Poetry taught by Bonnie Costello. The subject matter should be good but Costello seems super dry. I guess we’ll see. Second class was Shakespeare and Film taught by William Carroll. That class is gonna rock. Tuesdays we watch the movie together, Thursdays we talk about it. Presentations can be on whatever we want, three papers and no tests, and I love my life.

Well, the towel I’ve been sleeping on is calling my name. I’m in Boston living one of my dreams. Can’t complain about that.


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