Life and the Pursuit of Excuses

Life and the Pursuit of Excuses

 *This is a piece I wrote during my first MFA semester.

An MFA student can conjure up all kinds of excuses for putting off writing or turning in assignments. I could invent an excuse and my first year mentor, poet Zack Rogow from San Francisco, wouldn’t know if I was telling the truth. I could say that I have the flu or I have writer’s block or there’s a volcano erupting.
So what do I do when I have a genuine excuse? One arose this morning when I was set to drive through ice and snow to mail out my writing packet to my mentor. As I was heading out the door, my eldest daughter called to tell me her car wasn’t running right and she was going to be late for her second job in town. She wanted me to give her and her husky a ride into town. Again, she complained to me about the lack of water supply and inadequate heat at the 120-year-old Salmon House where she lives. My daughter is the winter caretaker for Old Sitka, a park run by the State of Alaska, the site of the first battle between the Russians and Tlingits in 1802.
When I arrived at her house, three sea lions were playing in the ocean just yards from her porch. After watching them for a while, we packed water from the artesian well for the toilet, cooking and dishes. I decided it would be best to let her borrow my truck for the day so she could go to work at her other job in town. By the time we got to my house it was mid-afternoon.
As we walked into my house, my daughter’s husky, Keishish, peed on the floor because she was so excited to see my two dogs. I realized, as my daughter was rushing out the door to work, and as I was sopping up dog pee with paper towels, that I had forgotten to go to the post office to mail off my writing packet.
Now, as I sit here at my living room window, I decide that if I’m going to rise above zero, I won’t be able get my assignments out in the mail at all today. The husky sleeps beneath my feet and I rub my toes through her fur. I look out at our dormant volcano at a small cloud forming like a plume of ash. With my journal in my lap, I sip my tea and note the temperature outside and the inspiration inside are hovering just above zero—this is the perfect time to write—I begin.


Unknown said…
Very funny post, Vivian. . .but now everyone will be on to you if you're late (which, in my experience with you has been NEVER!). The only excuse you'd ever have to make - for me OR for Zack, I imagine - is the sopping up dog pee part. Oh, the horror!

Anne :)

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