Andrew Altschul called me last March offering a spot in this coveted MFA program and, in between frantic packing and nervous drinking, I could not allow myself to be excited about this opportunity. Hours before Andrew’s call, my undergraduate institution made the decision to send its students home as the pandemic neared regional peaks. This was a responsible decision, the right decision, and though it pained me to do so, I left campus without most of my belongings, without a degree, and without any semblance of what might happen next.
But I had a place to go in August with a community I felt (still feel) I belonged in. The writing community at CSU is a comfort to me as I live balanced between two ethnicities – Korean and Caucasian – neither of which are impressed enough by my genealogy to call me theirs. I write these words now in Colorado, very much part of a community, with fractures in mind. I’ve fractured either of my arms a handful of times and every time my right wrist clicks back into itself, I think of fractures in a tryptic: 1) a nation dislodged by opposing politics, knocked out of place by contradicting ideals suggesting half the population is automatically inferior to the other, like we’re sharing a townhouse and the upstairs neighbors won’t take off their heavy-heeled penny loafers, 2) a scattered writing schedule in which I give myself enough time, between Zoom classes and Zoom meet-ups, to sit down and prepare to write but not enough time to write, and 3) families separated by glass windows, speaking muffled kindness through N95 masks, kept apart by distance – and risk of illness, if one is brave enough to travel.
My wrist clicks often and loudly because I use it to catch my falls; I’m prone to falling. But my wrist is always whole again, eventually, with thanks to the nurses and doctors who’ve dedicated their lives to healing the public. If life, now, is a multi-fractured bone then community is the marrow within pumping restorative cells to make it whole again. All this to say, take a look at what you hold. Surely, it’s a small piece of something greater.
Megan Lear is a first-year fiction MFA candidate at Colorado State University.