Shrapnel and Starships

by Jesse Durovey

It’s the Small Victories

It’s that time of year again—finals week. I actually feel pretty fortunate to have gotten over the hump a few weeks ago. Now, I only have a total of 25-35 pages to write between three different papers. If I can keep from procrastinating (the famous last words of any would-be writer), I should be golden.

I want to blog more. School keeps me so busy, and the main reason I’m sitting here typing now is because I’m procrastinating while I wait for my desktop to install some updates; however, I want to have this blog be an active conversation, not just a place where I type a few words now and again.

I do have a lot of good news. First, although I didn’t win the scholarship I was desperately hoping for, one of my English professors nominated me for a spot at the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College, and I was accepted! I am nothing if not a complete babe-in-the-woods when it comes to writing, and I know I’m going to have my mind blown learning from the likes of Adam Driver and Christina Garcia—not to mention the guest faculty: Jamaica Kincaid, Joyce Carol Oates, William Kennedy, etc. I expect to learn a great deal in a few short weeks and, hopefully, make some great connections. The main challenge is being able to afford the trip. I’m petitioning my school to give me a grant, and I think my chances are pretty good.

In addition, two of my stories, “Afghan Ghosts” and “Lead Poisoning,” were accepted by riverSedge, the literary journal of University of Texas-Pan American. Two more pieces were accepted by the Pecan Grove Review, the literary journal of St. Mary’s University. I don’t know when either journal goes to print, but I believe it’ll be sometime in the fall. I’m also thrilled that my flash fiction, “Night Hag,” is going to be featured in an upcoming anthology by Centum Press—my first stint as a paid writer!

Still, as exciting as all of these minor victories are, perhaps the best news I’ve received is that the English Department at St. Mary’s is hoping that I will stay to complete my master’s degree—something which I’m taking very seriously. I want to write, but I also want to teach, and that master’s degree is the first step to being able to teach at the university level.

When I left the Army two-and-a-half years ago, I was awash in doubts, uncertainty, and ill-conceived dreams. I still feel the haze around the periphery of my ambitions, but I think I’m beginning to accomplish a few things. Truly, though, I have to give the credit where it is due—my family, my friends, and my teachers who have believed in me these last few years.


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