Monday, August 14, 2006

Countdown: One Week

... until I enter the MFA program in creative writing at The (yes, The) University of Arizona, creative non-writing genre. And I'm excited and stressed. I'm not stressed about the program, but about completing all of the things I wanted to complete (and surely will not) before starting, such as:
  • Writing a UnSprawl case study on Austin's 2nd Street District
  • Writing 2 book reviews
  • Writing my "The Literal Landscape" column
  • Launching the next issue of (though, technically, that's on September 10, so after school starts), when nearly every article and editorial is way behind deadline for some reason this issue (still, it will be an outstanding issue, I think you'll agree)
  • Converting the rest of the back issues to the new design (which I've realized will not happen in full, realistically, until next summer; ah well)
  • Closing out one final on-the-side web job which should have been finished at least three weeks ago

Other than a few quips here and there, though, I do not plan to talk about the MFA program on this blog, just as I don't talk about my current UA job (which will continue, full-time, and which for the record I very much enjoy!). For me in this place and this time, I don't think it appropriate (and would probably bore you, anyway).

So, let's see what else is going on:

The reading with Scott Calhoun at Javalinas last Thursday was marvelous. A pretty great turnout in a wonderful (if not noisy) venue. And it's always a pleasure to hear Scott read, even if his Mexico essays as of late tend to incriminate me on one count or another....

I don't believe J.K. Rowling when she says that Dumbledore really is dead, and that Harry Potter must go it alone. The Potter series is all about love, and love is not a solo venture. While I understand the individual challenge/obstacle/growth he must (continue to) overcome, to think he can defeat Voldemort by himself is ludicrous. He is neither powerful enough as a wizard, nor mature enough as a man. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if they both die. That would suck, though.

I owe J.D. a response to his "5 'in' Meme," but just haven't had the chance to get to it. I will be changing it a bit, though, so that my 5 list, whatever it may be, isn't constrained by the "in" preposition.

I hate mosquitoes, and my poor older daughter has been ravaged by them the last few days, thanks to all the standing water from the last few weeks' recent storms. Also: She's got a big tupperware container of tadpoles changing to frogs out in the backyard, and I'm sure the skeeters love that as an egg hatching ground. Bug spray is now as prevalent as sunscreen around our house.

As a sort of last hoorah with my girls before grad school starts (again), we went to the Tucson Sidewinders baseball game Saturday evening. It was a great evening for a game---relatively cool weather, and a slight breeze.

Still undecided about whether I'll purchase a table for at the 2007 AWP Conference in Atlanta. I have at least made my hotel reservations, and am looking forward to catching up with a few folks, not the least of which is R.T. Smith, my poetry professor/mentor from Auburn University oh so many hears ago.

If I were to do it all over again---the publishing my work, I mean---I wouldn't use the name I currently use: Simmons B. Buntin. I would use Sim Buntin. Just throwing that out there, but I'm not changing it now.

Finally, in developing new urbanist communities like Civano, where I live, there are two things that make all the difference in the world: 1) The original design, as embodied in such documents as the specific and/or master plan, design guidelines, pattern book, architectural code, and the like. 2) Attention to details by the developer as the plans are implemented. In Civano's case, we got much of #1 and none of #2, and that last part is really coming back to bite us on new development on our periphery.

I hold two entities responsible---the developer (and all of its consultants) and the city (for not sticking to its guns, for being so frickin' malleable when big business in the form of national production builders, or local builders for that matter, come a' knockin'). Pisses me right off.

It's amazing, really, that Civano has turned out as well as it has. That's a credit to the original designs, as well as to the neighbors who have---whenever possible---pushed hard for the developer and the city do the right thing. And they all know what the right thing is, even as they look the other way.

Okay, rant off. Obviously, I'm perturbed about a few things here.

But on a more positive note, it looks like we might get more rain today. Wahoo! Man, I'm loving this wet monsoon season we've been having; yes, loving it despite the cadre of weeds and blugrass (where's it coming from, we have no lawn, we're nowhere near Kentucky?) taking over the backyard.


shann said...

sim buntin sounds vaguely like an Anglo-Indian or whatever that designation might be-

I picked Shann Palmer for (what I think are) practical reasons, though it is my name, reduced.

I have some envy for you going to both grad school and UA. I, too, loved the monsoons.

Suzanne said...

Wow, you're busy. I hate mosquitoes. I'm always the one who gets bit, no one else. sigh. You know what works well? Skin So Soft lotion by Avon. It doesn't smell as awful either.