The one day I was in Colorado between Malta and Los Angeles I had a massage [gift certificate christmas gift from my papa], had lunch with my brother at our favorite local mountain hot wing joint, sat in bed with my best friend while we said goodbye for the last time before she leaves for Indonesia for two years, and went to a recorded concert in Boulder where my two favorite hometown musicians, Nathaniel Rateliff and Gregory Alan Isakov, shared a stage. I can’t find a link to the recording on the eTown website, but if I could, I’d show you two things: 1) the recording of the final song wherein Nathaniel and Gregory took turns singing verses and I went to my own personal music heaven because no two voices in the world epitomize home for me more than those men’s voices do. It was the perfect departure present, especially since I won’t be home again for six more months, which is the longest I’ll ever have been away from Colorado in my life. And 2) the part of Nathaniel’s interview where the interviewer seemed to be suggesting a definition of success that involved touring with famous bands and playing for large audiences. And Nathaniel explained to him that his definition of success isn’t about money or material goods, it’s not about owning a huge house or buying cool stuff. For him, success means being able to work with people he loves, whose work he respects. I’ve never heard another person so perfectly articulate how I feel about my goals in life. Maybe I’ll write something important. Maybe I won’t. I try to be a good teacher. I know I’ll never make much money at this, even if I write something amazing and get hired by a top tier school. All I want from my success is to be able to work with the people I respect. AWP is coming up and I know so many people hate on its pretension, its chaos, its shameless bullshit, but for me, AWP is about getting to spend four days in the presence of people I admire. It’s the closest I ever come to being with all my friends in the same place at the same time, and we get to talk about writing and about books, and even though it’s exhausting, I would never miss it.

Anyway, so that my January posts aren’t all so text heavy, here are some photos from my month so far–Malta & Los Angeles:

I’ve also decided to try and do the photo a day thing for 2014. But instead of posting each day on here, I’ll just post them all at once by month. So, 31 photos coming January 31st. January has been the most peaceful month I’ve had in a long time and I’ve never felt more clarity in my life. That’s an unrelated side note, but an important side note. Now back to listening to the new Damien Jurado album while eating pasta and zucchini. I’ve fallen in love with zucchini. 

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