A Student, An Interview, and Other Random Giving of Thanks

After waiting close to 90 minutes for Toyota Care to come today this represents the wheel of happiness

Let me just say this was not a good day. And yet. And yet here I am alive and warm, safe on a stormy night. I am doing my best (and it's working!) to find things to be thankful for. As I waited on the interstate this morning for someone from Toyota Care to come help fix a tire that had blown out, I watched out the rearview mirror as truck after truck swerved to keep from hitting me. Two different tow guys mysteriously got lost on their way to give aid. In the end, it was a kind state trooper who put on my spare in the rain, warning me to be careful as I got back on the roadway.

I am thankful for this state trooper who was good enough to offer help when he heard I'd been waiting over an hour for someone to arrive. Clearly, this is not in his job description; he went way beyond what he needed to do. I'm only sorry I didn't get his name so I could thank him more personally.

This all meant that instead of getting to campus 90 minutes early to  prep my classes, I got to my office just in time to grab my things and teach. Somehow, my students and I worked together and perhaps had more of a spontaneous class than if I'd had all that time to prepare. And when at the end of class, one student came up to tell me she had just signed up to take two more classes with me next quarter, I was pretty thankful. If this bright young woman thinks I'm teaching her something, all is not lost. Thank you, Scarlett.

In the last few days along with being sick, I've had the sickening experience of realizing that a poem that has already been published was still out at a few journals. So when the same poem gets taken three times but can only be published once, it's a first class problem to have. No other poem will do. All three places want only this one poem. Okay, I know this is not going to elicit any sympathy, but these acceptances ended up feeling more like rejections. After all, the journals had four other poems that were available but they only wanted poem X. I am thankful to have such first class problems.

FInally, t
hanks to Norelle Done for interviewing me for Seattle Wrote just in time for your Thanksgiving quick read. I am especially thankful that the article was just posted today.

Here's the beginning of the interview:

Q: How did you get your first collection of poetry published?

A: Thank you for asking me this question, Norelle. I like to tell how my first collection was published to poets and writers just starting out because it breaks expectation. I first contacted my publisher, White Pine Press, on behalf of Ingrid de Kok, a South African poet who I was researching while on a Fulbright to Africa. I asked Dennis Maloney, the editor, to consider her work for the press as she was highly regarded in South Africa but at the time, unpublished in the United States. When I met Dennis some six years later he told me I was the only poet who ever wrote to him on behalf of another poet. He was intrigued. Later, when my South African press contacted him to co-publish my book, he remembered my initial letter and our collaboration began.   Click here to continue reading


  1. Excellent interview, Susan.

    Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving.

    1. Thank you, Maureen. And a wonderful Thanksgiving to you as well.


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