Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I read the news today, oh boy

I've been hush-hush here on the blog regarding specific details, and I figure I will continue to be, as it seems more professional somehow, but I've been in the running for a position in a creative writing program. I first interviewed at MLA in December and soon afterwards was invited for a campus visit. I very much liked everyone I met in Philadelphia and this good feeling was only confirmed during my visit. These visits are grueling, two solid days of socializing, talking, meeting new faces, being always on, but even so, I felt very good leaving that Friday afternoon. I had other interviews but none that seemed to click half so well.

Today I got the letter saying I wouldn't be offered the position. So it goes. I'd be lying if I said I weren't incredibly disappointed. So I won't say that.

In some ways, it's good to have resolution, even a bad one. Because the whole process is too stressful, too fraught with potential to have your hopes dashed.

But that is cold, cold comfort. I don't know what else to say, except that I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't have a lot of options, even less than the average person, and so I'm more than a little stuck. I'm a lot stuck and at a loss.

I won't even begin to think about the obscene amount of money the whole process requires just to begin, to participate. Or the lost sleep. Or the small children I barked at like a Russian wolfhound.

So that's that, my friends. It may not be long before you find me, unannounced, on your couch or rifling through the fridge.


Dr. S said...

I'm so sorry it's like this. I'm so sorry. Your poem is beautiful, by the way.

Anonymous said...

The exact same thing happened to me today. Well, not the exact same thing, but rejection nonetheless. I've been applying for editorial internships for the summer, and The Paris Review just sent me a rejection e-mail. They even personalized it, which, to me, is a bigger insult. Don't even pretend like you were going to hire me. Or, if I really were that close to having the job, don't tell me because that just tortures me. Yeah, I'm thinking about just joining a commune. I think it might be easier. If I don't join the commune, you can totally sleep on my couch.

aka Leonardo Likes Gulls said...

Hey Paul,

I'm sorry. My fridge is always open to you though.

Be well.

C. Dale said...


This is a total bummer. But I have to believe you will land well. I have to believe that. You are too good not to land well. And when you do, I bet you look back and laugh at this school turning you down.

august said...

I've been in a similar spot (also, oddly, in philadelphia (a city I enjoy but that has suffered from its association with tom hanks (who himself is one of the reasons the twentieth century was a bad idea))). In my case the position, for history rather than poetry, went to a classmate who still hasn't finished her dissertation. I try to avoid bitterness about such matters, but my equanimity is feigned. It's a kick in the gut no matter how you slice it. So, you know, short breaths, and figure out a way to kick back.

All that by way of empathy. A lot of people have similar stories, and have wound up with jobs one way or another.

bp said...

Hey, Paul,

Sorry to hear it. Totally their loss.

John Gallaher said...

While at MLA, on my own little fruitless search that I thought was going to turn out well, I was listening to my mp3 player and the song "That's Life" as sung by Frank Sinatra came on.

I had a vision of all of MLA, of the great overwashed hoards of us attending fruitlessly, rising up with a shout:

That's life, that's what all the people say.
You're riding high in April,
Shot down in May
But I know I'm gonna change that tune,
When I'm back on top, back on top in June.

I said that's life, and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks,
Stompin' on a dream
But I don't let it, let it get me down,
'Cause this fine ol' world it keeps spinning around

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I've been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself, flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.

That's life
I tell ya, I can't deny it,
I thought of quitting baby,
But my heart just ain't gonna buy it.
And if I didn't think it was worth one single try,
I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I've been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself laying flat on my face,
I just pick myself up and get back in the race

That's life
That's life and I can't deny it
Many times I thought of cutting out
But my heart won't buy it
But if there's nothing shakin' come this here july
I'm gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die
My, My

See ya next year!

A. D. said...

Sorry to hear this. Was really hoping for something through the hush-hush.

I've been the guy on the couch and in the fridge several times, myself.

Can't wait for the book.

Penultimatina said...

Paul, I was there many, many times myself before finding my job. Try to think of it as good practice for when the right gig comes along (and it will). Hang in there!

Matthew Guenette said...

My fridge is your fridge. Take heart brother. You're a still a kickass poet with a new book in the works. That's more than something...

Glenn Ingersoll said...

If you're ever in Berkeley I'll treat you brunch. Yeah, it's not much, but we like our brunches in Berkeley.

Anonymous said...


philidelphia like sucks, man. i've been eating artichoke sandwiches. where are you? i miss you. sorry to hear...


jeannine said...

Paul, I'm so sorry. Maybe this means you will be able to take one of the jobs they'll open up at U of Washington with their huge new creative writing endowment? I can always hope! Virtual hugs. And cupcakes.

Peter said...

Sorry to hear it.
Surely something will come round for you. I agree with Jean9: come on out to Seattle!