It’s snowing here in Michigan

It’s snowing here in Michigan, and for the first time in over a week, I opened up a short story I’ve been working on and got down to some serious revisions. The story, about a girl going back to her high school for her ten-year reunion (a story I started in a grad school form and theory course), saw its first submission season last year and wracked up five form rejections, including one from a place that had, in an earlier rejection to another piece, asked me to send more work. Ouch, I thought. That’s a step backward.

It’s snowing here in Michigan, and that was the first thing I talked about with every student who came to visit me, the most recent being a freshman who is interested in going into the editing and publishing track of our professional writing major, where I do about two-thirds of my teaching load. “How does your work touch those out in the community, beyond other editors and writers?” she asks, and I don’t know the answer. “That’s a great question,” I say, because it seems wrong to say, “Right now, it doesn’t.”

It’s snowing here in Michigan, and I’m supposed to go to the gym after I finish my office hours. I’ve been running lately, ever since I decided $80 is too much to pay to lose my Friday nights to soccer games in the local indoor coed league where too many men seem determined to prove their own masculinity. At the gym, I instead masquerade as a form of femininity, choosing without thought tight yoga pants over gym shorts when I run on the track, making sure that the shirt I choose (usually a Victoria’s Secret yoga top) doesn’t clash with the current shade of purple in my hair. But the snow is starting to stick, now, and all I can think is please no.

It’s snowing here in Michigan, and I’m surprised that my Facebook feed is not more surprised by this. Every year the first snowfall seems to shock us all to our cores, as if we thought that this year—this year!—we’d get through without our car scrapers and shovels, our reindeer-patterned mittens*. Instead we talk about things that are perhaps more worthless: what it’s like to have a beard, how we’re all secretly introverts, and how we should have gotten those flu shots after all. Flu, I think, would be a good way to use that pesky U I’ve been holding onto in Words with Friends.

It’s snowing here in Michigan, and I have thirty-seven more things to grade. The editing projects from my grammar students won’t be so bad, but unfortunately they have to come second to a still-sizeable stack of research papers from my freshmen. And then there are the two research projects I should be working on, the courses I should be prepping for the spring—and even next fall—and the workshop series I should be planning. Instead, all I can do is look at the snow and think about how long winter is going to be.

*Note: the author does not have reindeer-patterned mittens, but she thinks that could be pretty cool.

6 Comments

  • Monet says:

    This is a great exercise. Stealing. Thanks.

  • Laura Citino Laura C. says:

    I agree with Monet – definitely stealing this. I remember so many of those first early snows in Michigan, always keeping fingers crossed that I wouldn’t have to wear my Halloween costume over a bulky winter coat. A perfect thought for that holding-your-breath feeling you get when winter comes on.

  • Karen Maner says:

    Favorite part: “Flu, I think, would be a good way to use that pesky U I’ve been holding onto in Words with Friends.”

    I love the way it sounds like “That pesky ‘you’ I’ve been holding onto,” and how it’s about a sickness we share with each other that forces us apart, and it calls to mind that awful and cozy feeling of being foggy headed, runny nosed, and alone on the couch in winter, and the equally awful feeling of keeping in touch with people while being totally out of touch with them.

    Or maybe it’s 3 am and I’m just freezing and overthinking things.

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