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Showing posts from January, 2010

Panic (An Epilogue)

The question I've heard, more than any other since my book was published is "How'd you get over your panic disorder?"  And I will attempt here to answer.

Before I answer, a disclaimer: I will never write a self-improvement book or spiritual book for the following reasons.  1. I am not one to dole out advice on "how to" get over panic or anxiety because I am not wholly sure that I really "got over" mine.  Perhaps it just ran it's course, after all.  Or, perhaps it was a combination of things that I do not have the formula for.  2. Everyone is different.  3. Who knows, it might come back.

OK, so now that that's out of the way...  No, I have not suffered from Panic Disorder since the summer of 2003.  I almost brought a panic attack on, however, when I wrote that opening scene of Musical Chairs because I meditated on that day for hours, trying to remember exactly what it was like so that I could recapture the fear, and in a small way, the sens…


Ah, to come home after a month of travel...

Here's what I came home to: a handsome, somewhat-skinnier husband; a confused but grateful dog; San Antonio's beautiful January weather and crazy drivers; a huge, ominous stack of mail; a very clean apartment. So now what?

I'm thirty. I have a MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. I got my first book published my first book with ATTM and I now have a handful of short publications and a job at a writing center in San Antonio. I have food, shelter, a bunch of student loans, part-time work, and for now, my health. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I have everything I ever wanted and more. I have everything but certainty. And philisophically-speaking, do we ever really have that?

Meanwhile, I'm both frightened and thrilled. I have a feeling that 2010 will be full of changes for the Knox-Shanahan household, and I really don't know quite what to expect. Yes, I'm hoping for full-time work …

Done & Done (But Not Really...)

January 16, 2010, I walked onto stage, hugged the director of Bennington Writing Seminars, Sven Birkerts, and I bent my knees (unnecessarily) so that the Dean could place a medieval-looking hood around my neck, a symbol of completion and acceptance into a hard-won academic circle.
I remember when I attended my first graduation ceremony, watching the hoods awarded to my friends and people I didn't get the chance to know, thinking the whole thing seemed religious and, to be honest, a bit creepy. But, having been hooded myself now, I understand the necessity of ceremony. After all, graduate school is damn-tempting to drop out of, especially if the program is especially challenging (which Bennington was, for me). And those of us who tough it out, well, we deserve a damn hood.
The ceremony was lovely. There was music, dancing, tulips passed to teachers, hugs from the director, humorous speeches and serious speeches, and finally, a killer chocolate cake that made me want to find t…