As a native Texan for thirty-something years the idea of relinquishing my driver’s licence and Texas plates is horrifying, but the idea of living someplace new is exhilarating. This move came about as a result of grad school. I’m pursuing an MFA degree in creative writing at Murray State in Kentucky. Before attending my first residency in Jan 2012 the only other time I’d been out of Texas was when I drove to Maryland for a job interview last year. I’ve been to Louisiana dozens of times, but it is so close to Texas I don’t really consider it traveling.
The road trip to Kentucky took three days (three days up and three days back) and 5-6 hotels, because I was traveling with two drugged cats and an overly excited Jack Russell Terrier. Looking back on the trip I now realize I’m the one who needed a sedative.
The writing program is online, but the residencies are twice a year. The first trip cost somewhere close to $3,000. Add that to out-of-state tuition and you’ll understand why I’ve decided to relocate.
Why Tennessee and not Kentucky? Murray has an amazing program that gives its bordering states discounted tuition. Kentucky is beautiful and the people there are super friendly, but I didn’t find a lot of housing or job options. Tennessee is just as nice and right next door, so I started job hunting and looking for an apartment. In March the apartment I’d been on a lengthy waitlist for finally came through, so Tennessee here I come and just in time.
My first MFA semester wraps up in May and a week later I move. The goal is to get settled before the next residency starts in July and make some serious progress on the novel I’m working on that will eventually become my thesis.
I’m looking forward to my new life in Tennessee and especially writing on my new patio, but no matter what I’ll ALWAYS be a Texan.