On Writing, Identity, and Things In-Between

Letters to Pomona

—Melissa Matthewson

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” -Barbara Kingsolver

First: A summer dinner at the local cafe. Drinks when the light is long. A neighbor at the next table. When asked what I was up to, I said, I’m going for an MFA in writing. The reply, Oh. And then, You write? Where have you published? These questions are always alike, similar, unchanging.

Again: At a party. A friend said, I heard you were starting an MFA program? My reply, Yes. What would you do that for? she asked. I smiled and sipped my beer, turned to the music thumping in the barn calling my sway.

Well: Identity. Let’s consider it—individuality regarded as a life, an enduring entity for which you are known, recognized. We…

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