Sometimes, the fortunes in fortune cookies are just silly pieces of paper with some writing on them. Writing that says something like “Your smile makes heads turn” or “Good friends are like warm honey.” Nice things to hear, sure, but not anything significant or meaningful.
Every now and then, though, it happens. You know. That magic moment right as you reach for your cookie—because somehow you know it’s yours—and the paper crinkles just right, and there’s a hush that only you hear, and the cookie cracks right down the middle, and there’s a slight, suspenseful resistance from the slip of paper as you slide it from it’s shell. Every now and then, you get a fortune that makes you smile softly to yourself, a fortune that you want to put into your wallet so you can carry it with you always and save as a reminder that there is magic in the world.
As I’m about to embark on this new phase of my academic journey—an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at UCR Palm Desert—I am filled with wonder and brimming over with dreams. This fortune that I got the other night was synchronistic to say the least. The truth is, I’m a dreamer. I’ve had a lot of different dreams in the short amount of time I’ve been on this earth. I’ve had dreams that have come, dreams that have gone, dreams that have taken me on wild tangents and back again. My dreams have taken all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors—they’ve ranged from wanting to own a dude ranch (don’t ask,) to joining the FBI, to being a horse whisperer, to being a photographer, to being a yoga teacher. Some of these things I’ve pursued with success—right now I teach several yoga classes a week!—and others have simply faded as I’ve grown and changed.
But there is a dream that “keeps coming back.”
The dream that has always been there, as long as I can remember.
The dream that has never left.
And that is to be a writer.
I realize that I could write without an MFA program (and I have & do.) But honestly, I crave guidance. I want to take my raw understanding of writing and mold it into something more polished. I want to be in a community with others who feel this same undeniable, indescribable urge to make sense of this madness by placing one word after another. In the past several weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of being in my program’s Facebook group, and what I have witnessed in this short amount of time has made my heart warm. I see people who understand what it’s like to have notebooks filled with all kinds of writing piled up in their closet, like ghosts of themselves from the past. These ghosts are friendly—and sometimes haunting!—reminders that this is who we are.
I like to think that there are dreams that we choose along the way.
Some dreams, though, choose us.
School starts officially in a week! I’m nervous, excited, giddy, and scared all at the same time. The program itself feels like a dream come true. I’m most grateful for its non-pretentious attitude/vibe and the fact that we’re encouraged to read and write what we want, not what we feel we’re supposed to want. There’s a huge difference, and the significance of this difference is not lost on me.
I step into this new chapter of my life with an open heart and an eager mind. Whatever challenges lie ahead, I know this one thing for sure:
I’m ready. So ready.