How Did Self Get Here?

She took a summer course in Creative Writing from John L’Heureux. He told her he thought she should apply to the Creative Writing Program. Because she was out of ideas about what to do with her life (Her ideas only carried her as far as six months into the future), she dutifully applied. She got in. She had no idea she’d spend the next two years sitting around a table with 11 other people, talking about each other’s writing as if it married. No idea that writing, at least in America, was considered very hard work. She didn’t know why her fellow fellows spent so much time in Antonio’s Nut House on California Avenue.

She didn’t know that the tall skinny lad with the piercing green eyes who was called

Jeffrey Eugenides would turn out to be THE Jeffrey Eugenides.

She didn’t know that a friendship she struck up with a girl from New York, Penny Brandt, would end up lasting almost 30 years.

She didn’t know she’d stumble into having a collection of stories published.

She didn’t know it would be so hard to get her second collection published. She didn’t know that Brian Ascalon Roley would bring her stories to Miami University Press. She didn’t know they would be interested enough to make her stories their first non-poetry publication.

She didn’t know she’d ever arouse the interest of Grove/Atlantic. She didn’t know an editor from aforementioned would call her at home and ask her what she thought her next book might be. Self had no idea what her next book might be, but she made something up. It wasn’t very convincing. Grove/Atlantic did not publish self’s third collection.

She didn’t know she’d meet a composer in the Virginia Center of Creative Arts and that she’d end up writing a two-act opera libretto (The orchestral suite is being performed by the Hampshire Symphony in March 2015). If someone had told her, when she was a young girl in the Philippines: You will grow up to collaborate with a New York composer on an opera libretto, she would have laughed outright.

She didn’t know she’d end up writing science fiction.

She didn’t know her older sister would die. She didn’t know her Dad would die. She didn’t know her best friend in the family, Ying, would die.

She didn’t know she’d get to visit Tel Aviv. Or Dharamsala. Or Edinburgh. Or Dublin.

She didn’t know her son would develop pneumonia (when he was just 1 year old). She’d never heard of a baby who was allergic to milk.  She didn’t know he’d end up taking his Ph.D.

She didn’t know she’d fall in love with The Hunger Games (the books as well as the movies)

She didn’t know she’d end up writing Hunger Games fan fiction.

She didn’t know her stories would be taught at Stanford.

And there are still so many things she doesn’t know.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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