Posted by: Dennie | July 3, 2015

“Work, work, work, work, work work…Hello, Boys, I missed you”

Good morning.

For those of you who are younger than I, the title of this post is from the 1974 film “Blazing Saddles.”

I’ve been working. And I’ve missed you.

Ten months. Ten months almost to the day since I last posted anything. How sad.

But here’s a happy update. That class I worried about on my last post all those months ago? The college class? Worked, worked, worked. I rocked it and got an A! This week, while doing a bit of research for an idea, I went back through all my old report cards (thanks my parents, for saving every little thing), and discovered that my suspicions were true. I’d only achieved an A on one other occasion. In seventh grade, I rocketed from a C+ in Social Studies to grab the carrot dangled in front of me. Bring up your grade and you can get your ears pierced. And there my shining moment remained. All of my elementary and secondary school efforts were a sorry reflection of my then undiagnosed ADD.

But I’m better now!

In other news, I submitted some work to the Yale Summer Writer’s Conference. I’d stumbled across the website quite by accident toward the end of the bleak and seemingly unending horrific winter. The discovery created a dismal internal dialog…

Yale. Holy shit. How awesome would that be? But are you nuts? You suck. No way could  that ever happen. And the expense. Forget it.

But I couldn’t get it out of my head. The thought kept creeping back.

Yale…Yale…Yale…

Still-

You’re not good enough. It’s too expensive.

But after a week or two-

What about submitting something to see what happens? It would be satisfaction enough just getting accepted, even if you can’t go.

Maybe.

Yale…Yale..Yale…

So I started. It snowballed. I couldn’t stop. I wrote. I revised. Wrote and revised some more. Lunchtime. Evenings. Weekends. I was obsessed. Hours and hours and hours. The deadline approached. I think I was delirious when I said to my husband,

“If I get accepted after all this work, I don’t care how much it costs, I’m going.”

I hit send one day before the April 30 deadline. They would respond, they said, by May 18. A Monday.

By Saturday, May 16, I hadn’t heard anything and was resigned to the fact that no response would be my answer. I consoled myself with the knowledge I’d done lots of mental and written exercise. But on that fateful day, while attending a writer’s workshop, I sat next to an older woman, meticulously dressed in a timeless black suit, silver hair piled on top of her head, her look polished off by elegant jewelry. During the break, l told her my Yale story. She listened closely, without interruption, and when I was finished, leaned into me and practically poked her finger into my chest.

“You call them!” she said taking me aback.

“What? It’s Yale!”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “Yale is an exceptional institution of higher learning. But they can make mistakes. And besides that, you worked hard on that piece and you deserve a response.”

Neither of those thoughts had occurred to me. Yale? Mistakes? I deserve a response?

She handed me her card. My mind was spinning as she spoke, but I think she said something about being affiliated with them. Call her if I had a problem. But call them. Today. When I get back. Leave a message on voicemail if I can’t get through.

Holy shit.

I went home, looked up a couple of numbers and took her advice.

One mailbox had not been set up, the other was full.

Nice,Yale.

So I sent an email to the director of the program and on Monday morning when I got to work, I received this response;

“Dear Dennie, My records show that you were accepted on May 4. Did you not receive that information? Please let me know immediately.”

My records show you were accepted on May 4. Did you not receive that information? Please let me know immediately.

What? What, what, what, what, what?

I re-read the message. Twice, three times. It was true. I had been accepted into the Yale Summer Writer’s Conference.

Thank you workshop lady.

I called Dennis. Holding back the tears, I was talking so fast, he couldn’t understand me.

But when I finally made myself clear, the enormity of this opportunity hit him too.

“Congratulations, baby. You call them right now and tell them you’ll be there.”

And that’s my story of a serendipitous encounter with a wise and lovely lady. And how a barely average student finally got into Yale.

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