My work desk, waiting for my return home, a bit disheveled with various short stacks of papers and books, will change. Perhaps be a little more organized now. From around it on the floor, as my wife can attest, will vanish the occasional underfoot piles of short-term research materials. I won’t have half the number of scattered Post-It notes and calendar reminders lurking around. Though I’ve enjoyed the challenges of assigned prompts, I’ll be hunting conversation with the muse on my own for the most part. What I carry in my briefcase will change. Perhaps a few bills will get paid earlier than usual.
A regular reminder of this life within words has been the life of books throughout several rooms. The dozens of books for each new semester always stayed vertical for that work period. The books of past semesters, when done with, were placed, as we might expect, horizontally into shelves by loose semesterly groups for ease of location as the program progressed. But for the most part, any book – and there were always several – cover up, was a current interest: on the desk, the side desk, on the floor near the work desk, by my recliner, on the kitchen table, on a shelf waiting for another flurry of work attention, in the back seat of the car (perhaps not so neatly vertical) on the way somewhere to do more work. Those books will take on new homes this week as I begin moving into new routines of post-MFA life.
I sat with a cup of coffee morning just staring down a wall of books. Scanning the titles, reflecting on how they’d all puzzled together, one-by-one, term-by-term, adding up into a full learning experience I can carry with me through the rest of my life. It’s a pretty full spot. I’m wondering where I’ll put this ending term’s books. It’s a good stack of new work to add to the old.
I can’t help but wonder where I fit into things, too. This new anxiousness I feel vibrating just under the surface must be something akin to what it’s like to be tossed sea-bound for a time and to then step upon sudden still shoreline. That instant change of expected balance. Something in the ear, heart, or mind, shifting. Vertical to horizontal.