Last night, nearly nine months after graduating with my MFA in Poetry, I returned to my alma mater, Cal State Long Beach, and attended my first poetry reading since graduating. It was a long time to go with no poetry in my life, but I knew if I wanted to get inspired, this was the reading to attend: the HIP Poetics hosted reading featuring two Southern California greats Ron Koertge and Charles Harper Webb. Each time I see them read, I am reminded why they have successful careers, dozens of books between them, and a slue of admirers nation-wide – they are creatively brilliant and have imaginations that dwarf my own to the size of a microscopic bacteria.
After the reading, I got to chatting with a fellow Long Beach MFA grad, Eric Morago, (who recently published his debut collection What We Ache For- Go Buy It!), and he told me that I should get back onto the proverbial writing horse, bring back Formaldehyde, attend a reading at least once a month, something. I told him I doubted anyone would care about the rantings of a frustrated writer, but he encouraged me that I am not alone, that there are numbers of us out there trying to balance everyday life with the act of writing outside of mandated workshop deadlines. So in the midst of paying back student loans and maintaining the multiple jobs it takes to do so, I ask you, how do you get out of a post-grad slump? Advice encouraged.