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Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? A Farewell.

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? A Farewell.

Dear Wonderful Readers,

My time here at burntdistrict and Sparkwheel Press has seemingly to come to an end. All this time, I’ve interviewed poets who have taught me about life, given me advice and book suggestions, and shown gratitude. But I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to really tell you about me.

And I think it’s time.

Would you like to know how I started writing? When I was 12 and had been adamantly writing in my journal in the basement for years, I put on paper the poem I dubbed “The Misfit.” It was a very awful poem. And for some unknown reason, it was published in a children’s anthology. And the feeling was an addictive one. Many people don’t know that they want to be a writer until their college years. I knew definitively when I was 12. If I counted the amount of journals I went through in that time period (which are all still in my room so I can laugh at them), I’d say there’s about five or six filled to the brim with angst. Writing isn’t just a job for me. It’s therapy. It’s cathartic. It got me through those awful years filled with braces, school dances I wasn’t asked to—through the first time someone told me they loved me and all I could respond was “Goodnight” before shutting the door in his face (if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I could have handled that way better.)

There are, of course, the basics—I write music. I play guitar on the porch in the summertime. I am obsessed to a near-creepy extent with owls. I’m about to graduate with a degree in English Creative Writing from Creighton. When I’m procrastinating, I hula-hoop (I am not very good at it). I listen to Bob Dylan in my car a lot. I talk to my dog more than I talk to most people because I’m adamantly convinced that he’s a bodhisattva. I ride my bike with its little basket to school each warm morning. I live in a little house in the connotative “North O,” much to the dismay of my loving parents. It is the loveliest place I’ve lived in yet. I can see Robert’s Milk Factory from my house and giggle at the irony—I only drink soy. I am so hip! I am also very sarcastic.

I’m a 22 year old aspiring writer (that feels very odd to say) who moved from Chicago to Omaha four years ago looking for an escape from a single, yellow-walled bedroom that my two sisters and I shared. In short, I was a defiant drifter determined to make a name for myself as a writer at a school full of future doctors.

If you want to know the truth, as a young and extremely naïve writer, I was so inspired by my favorite (local Omaha) band, Bright Eyes, who’d I’d listened to since I was 12 years old, that I felt if Conor Oberst could string together such beautiful words, maybe I’d find the same inspiration in this city. Is that embarrassing? Probably. Probably that is ridiculously embarrassing. And I have—because of my teachers, my classes, the people who say “hello” to me on the street (as a Chicagoan, that last part was extremely alarming at first. I come from a city where you keep your head down at all times.) Omaha is 50 years behind every other big city in the country and I don’t mind it. Continue your amblings, Omaha people. I love you for it.

When you drive 500 miles across the country as an 18 year old to a city where you don’t know a soul, you are naturally a stranger to the place. You are a loner longing to be taken in by someone. When I met Jen and Liz, I knew that they were two people who felt that I was important—that there was a purpose I was here. I came to Omaha believing that I’d write a novel. Ha! Hahahaha! is all I can say to that. By the end of this journey, I know now that poetry is my true passion. I tossed the idea away of writing poetry for so long, wondering and convinced, “Well now, who gives a flying fuck about poetry?” (They let me swear in my blog entries too, because they are awesome, and because, you know…poetic license.)

Jen and Liz introduced me to a world I never knew existed—one where everyone not only cares about poetry, but is actually obsessed with it. Can you imagine how I felt that day? That realization? The day I saw all of the poetry journals lining Jen’s coffee table? The first time I won an actual award for a bunch of words I assumed didn’t mean anything to anyone but me? The day two women trusted me, for some reason, to succeed in half-running a blog for company they’d self-built? It was ethereal.

This is a post about me, but this is also a post to thank these two wonderful women—poets, mothers, self-made publishers—who’ve taught me that you can do it all if you dedicate yourself to your craft. Before meeting them, I wrote sporadically. Now, I make time to write every single day. That you can write poems in your head while you vacuum. That you can still be freaking cool even as you age (not that they’re old, of course—just mere years older than me, right?)

But I can’t thank just them. I also have to thank each poet who took the time to let me pick their brains. Who thanked me for taking the time to pick their brains. And to each of you who has believed in me and read these entries. Thank you is not adequate, but even writers (in fact, probably writers more than anyone) are sometimes at a loss for words. You all were the metaphorical strings that kept a girl like me, a girl with her head so often in the clouds, grounded.

How do I end this? As ironically unpoetic as possible. Duh. Keep truckin’!

Dee
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