This is me,
Before I worked at this table, when I was coming up, I worked as a nurse’s aide in what used to be called a state asylum, lifeguarded in freezing Minnesota lakes, and waitressed dressed as a cowgirl and a German milkmaid. I was Supervisor of the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs in St. Paul, and when I first came to Milwaukee, a diagnostic case worker for the Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime Program (TASC) a couple years. In those days, my job meant a lot of hours spent in jails and courtrooms.
At the same table where I will sit with you and your writing, I have interviewed Derek Walcott, had a lunch and critique with Lisel Mueller, hosted a reception for Eve Shelnutt, eaten Thanksgiving dinner with William Harrold and had my first conversation with a then struggling genius by the name of Maurice Kilwein Guevera. All this may sound like pure name dropping, but it’s more: These experiences have taught me about writers and the writing life. Some have become pieces I’ve published, some have helped me write and publish better, and others have opened my eyes about what makes an editor/coach generous. (Once when Amy Clampitt visited she invited my entire creative writing class to send her poems for her critique. Many did and she answered them all.)
I hope to see you across my table someday soon.
The Vest Conservatory for Writers
2125 N. Newhall St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202