“I’m crying in the doctor’s office.” There is emotion inflating her voice. “ I saw your email just as they were calling my name to go in and I thought, I’ll wait and read it after, but then, I thought ‘fuck it’ and I read it right away, and I started crying and then I had to go straight in for my checkup, there’s nothing wrong with me, except my grey hair, but my doctor thinks I’m nuts.” She has a beautiful way with the run-on sentences.
“I’m crying too.” It’s more of a blurt because a sob-laugh combo is chiselling at my words. Through the window in front of my big black desk I can see the rock garden I made for Holden last summer with the delicate white ceramic Buddha perched on granite stones. It’s where I leave him little presents of rocks and flowers and prayers.
“I am so happy for you. This is your turning point! Oh, Dolly, this is just what you need.” She calls me Dolly when she’s bubbling over.
“But I’m so scared, I feel nauseous. It’s just… it’s just… I don’t know, it’s going to be so hard.” Scanning around to find the words as though I had dropped them on the floor and they scattered like marbles. “All the emotional mining I’ll have to do, you know? It’s just so much.” Of course she knows, she’s been there. “The other day when I had to edit a piece for an anthology it threw me down the well for hours. I don’t want to be like that for a whole year.”
“Oh but, this is very different from writing by yourself. You will never be alone or unsupported and you won’t have time to be sad, you’ll be too busy getting the sentences just right. Remember, everyone in the non-fiction cohort has a tricky story too. It’s all going to be just great. Believe me.” I do.
“Okay, you’re right.” I say softly into the phone. “Ughhhh, It’s time.”
“It’s a Red Letter Day! As my Dad used to say. You should celebrate. Do you have any idea how many people apply for that program?”
“Lots. Many many many people. Talented people. And you have been accepted solely on the merits of your writing. So just for today, please don’t say that phrase ‘it’s just…” any more. This is really good. It’s so great and I am so proud of you. It’s the change you need and what an endorsement. Holy Cow!” Enthusiasm may possibly be one of her strongest characteristics. After precise grammar and the effective use of swear words.
“It’s a red letter day.” I whisper with the up inflection that makes it sound like a question.
“Yes, it is!” She is very likely happier than I am. “Oh Dolly, I’ve gotta run. Love youuuuu!”
Dear Ms. McGuire,
I am very pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies for 2017. Welcome!
There was a large and talented pool of applicants this year, and our four mentors each selected their respective group of students from this long list. Each mentor read all the applications and chose who they would most like to work with for the year. You were accepted in the first round.
Congratulations on submitting a successful application.
My very best,
Wayde Compton | Associate Director, Creative Writing
The Writer’s Studio, Simon Fraser University
** note – I have never felt unsupported in my writing. Quite the opposite in fact. **