A grand return, a grand exit

I start this blog post the way I’ve started the few that have appeared here in the last several months: I know that updates have been few and far between, that I vaguely allude to things going on in my life but never really explain them fully, that I really need to get back on stupid Two Towers liveblogging, &c., &c.

Well, in this triumphant return to blogging, I intend to reveal all/more like most to you.

I mentioned a while ago that I had started a new job at a coffee house, which is part of the reason why I have been so absent from the internet. This job has really been a joy and something I’m terribly thankful for–that great combination of giving me tons of hours (explaining my lack of stupid internet production), meeting and working with absolutely fantastic people, and learning a craft that is quite near and dear to my heart. I love working with food and drink—from production, enjoyment, and reviewing to the analysis of all three (and the myriad factors that affect them). Coffee is just one thing that’s particularly special and euphoria-inducing for me. I’ve always loved the atmosphere of coffee places, and frankly, silly as it may sound, have wanted to work at one since before I was old enough to even think about working part-time.

I’ve been trying to put my nose to the grind, travel less, and save my earnings, so as I said, I’ve had a difficult time keeping up with some of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I haven’t lost sight of them, though, and starting in July I intend to get back to reading two books a month, liveblogging books for no good reason, and focusing on the design/story projects that I’ve  been kicking around in my head for the last three months. More information about those will be posted to Drawing Coffee as the particulars are established, but I’ll say right now that they require volunteer participation, so I hope that it’s something some of you will consider.

The other big focus of my attention recently has really mandated how I spent the rest of my time and efforts in the last few months. I’m glad to finally be able to publicly, proudly announce that I will be attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in September, seeking my Masters of Fine Arts in Writing. After a lot of work and a lot of deliberation about the direction of my life in the last year and a half, my decision to go back to school has brought me a lot of peace (and excitement! and of course, some mandatory stress). My mantra on writing is that, in order to be a writer in the 21st century, you have to be a hustler. You’ve got to be involved in every stage of the process: your own writing, the innovation and practices of the publishing industry, and in education and outreach. I felt grad school was the best manner of equipping myself to participate in all of these areas. As I go about crafting a degree and a job for myself, I intend to discuss my thoughts on the state of writing more at length, hopefully in the format of blog-columns somewhat similar to my previous writings for the Daily Illini.

That said, I’m moving to Chicago in the very near future. I was there last week with my soon-to-be roommate Allison (most recently a lady of Cambridge, as you may remember) to find an apartment. We found this.

There are so many things that I’m looking forward to, and I know that were it not for the things I’ve done here and the people who helped me along, I wouldn’t be headed in the direction I am. I can never express enough gratitude to:

  • My graduate school references, a team of brilliant and passionate people who have hugely shaped my life in the last six years, and whose willingness to represent me leaves me utterly dumbfounded. All five of them have encouraged me, inspired me, and given me hope for the state of writing and writing education.
  • My writing group, which has been a cornerstone of my sanity for the entirety of my time here. What an incredible luxury to hear their experiences and their works, and to have the benefit of their listening ears. A phenomenal bunch of people to be forever indebted to.
  • My friends, who are everywhere–my C-U folks, my recent grads who I am endlessly proud of, my old-new UIS crowd, my spectacular coworkers, my bf4l across the country, my Chicago crew, my fellow Kings of Wicker Park, my scattered friends who I only get to talk with via internet and text, a certain Merton…I could never name all of you in all the places you are, but without you, there could certainly be no me. Thank you for all the conversations and experiences both poignant and absurd, and your endless willingness to listen and invest your time and care in me.
  • My family, who somehow still surprise me with their level of confidence in me and my goals. I should know by now what an incredible support network I have, but I cannot help but be amazed.
  • The internet. You know, all you guys out there. Someone has to read this shit. I hope that you’ll continue to follow along as I expand my portfolio of work at Drawing Coffee and keep up with my misadventures and silliness here.<3

Thank you to everyone for everything.

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About Chelsea
I'm currently pursuing my MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My ideal career path involves using writing, publication, and writing education to enact progressive social change.

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