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MFA in Writing at Vermont College

Thursday, October 13, 2011


The science of dating events and variations in environment in former periods by comparative study of growth rings in trees and aged wood

By studying the cross section of trees scientists are able to analyze rings to determine the life span of a tree.  They can track weather patterns such as drought years and rainy summers.  They can analyze long harsh winters and prosperous summers.  The entire life of the tree is there for all to see.  Everything that has happened in the life span of that tree can be seen in those lines.

I was reminded of these tree rings when I looked in the mirror after a recent haircut.


My forehead is shinier than glass in a desert sun.

At least a tree has to be cut down before a scientist can study its history; I have my rings on full display as I walk around town.  Look at all those wrinkles on my face!

I know… I know I’m getting older and losing your hair is part of the process.  I just didn’t think I would get old so fast!  I mean people put on their sunglasses when they see me approach.

        “There goes old shiny head!”

 “All of these lines upon my face.  Tell you the story of who I am.  So many stories of where I’ve been.  And How I got to where I am.”  – Brandi Carlile, The Story

Those lines on my face tell the story of who I am and where I’ve been.  Every joy, every disappointment, every thrill, every rejection, every fear, every blessing, every path I have chosen in my life.  It is the story of how I have gotten to where I am and the person I am today. Those wrinkles are like my very own autobiography. 

I sat there staring into the mirror looking at my receding hairline and wondering where the time had gone.  Wasn’t I young yesterday? 

But as I rubbed the tiny spots at my hairline I found myself more focused on where I am going than where I have been.
I was thinking of my future not my past.  And you know what… I think that is the way it should be.  I doubt a tree has ever stopped growing to analyze its own lines… it just keeps moving forward trying to add another line to its foundation.  So that is what I plan to do as well.

I now have plenty of room on my forehead for more lines.  I might as well make use of the space.

Where will my writing career take me over the next several years?  What will my VCFA experience expose me to?  Do I have a line on my face for writing?

All I know for sure is that I plan to keep plugging away and as I move forward more lines will appear on my face.  But thankfully my hair is moving out of the way to make room for more of a story.

I’m a writer after all... it’s all about the story.

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