Wednesday, August 4, 2010

For Your Consideration ...


Hello. My name is Rebecca Bauman and I’d like to introduce myself by way of a popular Internet meme.


REBECCA BAUMAN:

15 POINTS OF PERSONAL INTEREST


1. I’m a first-year MFA student at the University of Florida and carry an emphasis in poetry-writing.


2. I recently graduated from Pittsburg State University (Kansas) with a B.A. in English and a minor certificate in Women's Studies (the latter being the product of an absolutely rewarding and, in turn, ultimately frustrating academic and sociological experience).


3a. I was born in Texas, but my parents' divorce and respective occupations (she was a social worker, he a journalist) kept me moving around the country during childhood and adolescence.


3b. I've lived most of my life in St. Louis (MO), St. Augustine (FL) and Tallahassee (FL). After high school I spent the bulk of my time drifting between flophouses and hostels in New York City and hanging out in the backs of comedy clubs. I could also often be found at the walrus exhibit at the New York Aquarium.


4. I ultimately wound up in Southeast Kansas at the age of 21 after falling in love with and following home an 18-year-old pot-dealer whom I believed to be a dead-ringer for a young Nicolas Cage.


5a. While attending school in Kansas, I worked as an animal caretaker at a wildlife education and outreach facility, specializing in the care of the program's mammals (prairie dogs, hedgehogs, opossums, etc.) and large birds (hawks, owls, vultures and even a Catalina macaw).


5b. I also volunteered at the local Humane Society -- work which tainted my faith in humanity and left me sobbing in the bathtub at the end of most days.


5c. I now keep three dogs of varying sizes, all rescues from the pools of strays I encountered, fostered and (for the most part) re-homed while living in Kansas. (When leaving Pittsburg, I felt very much like I was rowing away from a sinking Titanic and had but those three berths in my lifeboat.)


5d. I carry a lot of white/American/middle class/Homo sapien guilt.


6. I held a number of creative content positions at PSU's campus newspaper -- work which eventually yielded an editorial fellowship with Esquire magazine in 2007.


7. Seeking my MFA (in poetry of all things) was a last minute decision -- one I didn’t and in all likelihood don’t consider the least bit practical. But, by the end of my undergraduate work, I had all these poems written and I was practically thinking in verse.


8. My background is rooted in journalism and non fiction, and I'd always assumed that if I were to pursue writing as a vocation, it would be along those lines.


9. In my mind, poetry is one of the most effective and affective forms of writing … and one of the most unwieldy (thus my insistence that I take further training). I see it very much like stand-up comedy: When poetry is good, it’s just Absolutely Amazing, Powerful-Powerful Stuff. And when it’s bad, it’s nothing less than painful -- pathetic, physically uncomfortable to experience. And so I’m terrified of producing terrible work.


10. I have never successfully maintained a blog. Lord knows I've tried ... but I'm extremely self-conscious and suffer an awful kind of impostor syndrome that leaves me ready and rarin' to bolt from public view (and, as I imagine, public critique) at the drop of a hat. It's a neurosis that certainly threatens my ability to meet the demands of a writer's existence.


11. Now that I’m in Florida, I visit the local freshwater springs and skin dive as often as I can. I also head back to St. Augustine for a look at the ocean and to wander the old streets whenever time allows.


12. DELETED


13. I regret having wasted so much of my youth without direction, though I'm told it's quite normal. I'll be 27 next month and have never travelled abroad (though I long to see the UK and Germany and France). I feel a sense of urgency, not only as a 20-something, but as a woman; I fear I'm losing time when it comes to "cashing in" on my best years.


14. DELETED, too


15a. I have a much cheerier disposition than it might seem here and now. The truth is, I could not be more grateful to have this opportunity at this program at this time. I can only hope that the overly-anxious shades of my character can scuff away in this warm, green climate … and I can come out on the other end of my time here in Florida as a generally satisfied, well-rounded, globe-trotting woman with a phenomenal butt.


15b. I am not copy-editing this post for fear I'll never bring myself to publish it.


BONUS FACTS


  • The scent of spearmint chewing gum makes me sick.
  • I'm obsessed with solid, well-written true crime.
  • Every year, I am more and more incensed by politically conservative and spiritually fundamentalist thinking. I fear becoming abrasive, overconfident and obnoxious.
  • My face looks straight in the mirror, crooked in photos.
  • I don't care what you say: I saw Hugh Laurie first, damnit.


8 comments:

  1. Congratulations, and welcome!

    I think the end of number 9 speaks the most to me: that because poetry is capable of being quite moving, it's easy to be terrified of terrible, terrible failure. Good luck to you, Rebecca. Hope you get to travel (the UK! Germany!) over your winter or summer break...

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  2. yeah, I feel the same way about people chewing mint gum. . .

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  3. Welcome and hello! Glad to have another poetry writer in our midst ;-)

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  4. great intro! I hope your first year is great!!

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  5. I had a teacher in high school who could smell watermelon gum from, I swear, two blocks away!

    Look forward to watching your MFA adventure. I didn't go back until I was almost 31 so enjoy!

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  6. I started my MFA last year at age 31, so you're far from the only one who's getting what feels like a late start. I also have yet to travel abroad (Canada and Mexico, though lovely, don't count) so I feel that as well.

    By the way, one of the now-second-year poetry MFAs at Florida is a lovely girl named Rachel. If everyone else is as nice as her, you'll be in great hands :)

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  7. You are a beautiful person. At first you looked unapproachable but in reality you have a really warm spirit. I enjoyed being your student and I am proud of you for making it this far despite of your youth. I support you alllllll the way!!! :)

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