Above Zero

Rising Above Zero

Above Zero is a metaphor for the moment Alaskans revel in the slightest rise in temperature. I’m told that Zero is actually a number. From my perspective, Zero is the place where something begins to happen in ones writing—when we write. I could have titled this post “Below Zero” because, after all, I do live in Alaska, but I didn’t want to suggest negativity—no one wants zero publications, zero lovers, or a zero bank account balance.
Being an MFA student in a low-residency program at the University of Alaska Anchorage, means some students live in villages, small towns, as well as out-of-state, and, like me, in both Puerto Rico and Alaska. Each summer we attend a two-week residency, held in Anchorage at University of Alaska’s campus. UAA’s new low-residency model “emphasizes a literary approach to exploring and redefining relationships between people and place, no matter where such connections exist and how they are expressed.” We share the same struggles with every MFA student: time management, doubt, inspiration, craft, and large SUV-size brown bears walking through town. Well, maybe we don’t all share brown bear avoidance.
Alaska has been in the news recently, and some publicity has not been favorable. Typically, Alaska isn’t usually on the minds of every American, but now people want to know where Alaska is and what kind of people live here. In Alaska, we are smart, intelligent, and especially creative people. Just you wait—as our writing starts rising Above Zero.


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