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4 thoughts on “Sometimes it’s okay to not fit in: Writing in the liminal spaces”
Hi Carrie, I went to that same college (class of ’91), and knew very well that same Marxist you mention, and learned so much from the same poetry teacher you describe in your recent blog post. I also wrote poetry, and have for most all of my life. I have done a lot of flailing in life because I felt I didn’t fit in the way I wished I could. Always trying to find that way to mesh. I grew up in Washington County and have lived in Maine my whole life. I have been reading your posts for many months now on recommendation of a classmate, and have appreciated SO MANY THINGS about your articulations about writing, your crusade-like brave sharing, and your boots-on-the ground discipline in writing! I wanted to wave, and say thank you, and that you provide me a lot of inspiration and straight up recognition of many things that resonate in my day-to-day life. I’m 51 now, and a year and a half ago lifted my head from career in violence prevention, and parenting of two boys. I found a poetry group, began taking workshops again, am pushing myself to do an inventory of my writing, and have started getting things down on the page regularly again. Without knowing it, you have supported me in reconnecting to the hard-wired writer-person inside me.
It is so kind of you to comment here and let me know this and I’m absolutely honored! I wish we’d known each other well at Bates. I almost feel like I can remember you. I’ll have to check. Congratulations on your long career doing so much good. I’m so glad that you’ve found a poetry group and are taking workshops.
I’m not sure where you are in Maine, but in would be lovely to see you sometime!
I also went to VC in 90 (graduated), I never fit in either. I ate with groups of people I didn’t know, and no one ever spoke to me. I spent my time in my room. Things got better the second year when I had the great good luck to work the entire year with Mark Doty. He is the best, ever, and I threw all that I had written the year before. I have always been a liminal person, quietly, in my own head. I had few friends, tortured by my drunken mother and my father, along with my classmates. I guess it was worse than I knew, but I had a few close friends in high school, college, getting my MA and even at VC. But the friends I made, have been true friends and I love and respect them and their art. I’m still invisible as I am recovering from a wicked case of sciatica. I taught college for about 8 years as tenured faculty and then much to my astonishment, I had a huge mental breakdown. It was awful, and so were all the others.—crawling out that pit wasn’t easy. Writing had clicked and I felt I could tell decent poems from bad poems. I joined a writers’ group, twice, but the groups are not for me. I take noncredit courses via zoom, but I am not close to many, That sounds good to me. I also work with an amazing writer Yeah a few people think I am weird, and I guess I am, but I don’t mind. I think of my MFA as being important as I worked so hard and harder to get here. For me, life is over in a minute, so I take it slow. I edit for money and I love it, as long as the other person wants to do so. It’s quite rewarding and the students are great. This is self-presentation. I have four books published, and a lot of pubs. It pleases me to come out from under the hazy head stuff, and have fun with my family. Writing is an understated passion. I’m reading too much here today? But, yeah, being liminal is positive and words for me. How lucky is that?
Oh, Virginia. That sounds so hard. I’m glad things got better your second year and Mark Doty was a great fit for you.
True friends are the ones that really matter, don’t they? We don’t have to walk around with an army, just people we respect and love and who respect and love us.
I’m not the best with writing groups either so I can relate to that, too. I am so glad you came out from the pit and that you can embrace your liminal self and existence. That’s the way to be. So much love and luck to you!