Fifth Anniversary Update: Julia Lisella

January 16th, 2014

Since the book, I’m tenured and chairing the English department at Regis College, and sending out my second full length collection of poems to publishers. Life is busy, too busy sometimes. But with my daughter now in college and my son in middle school, life at home is a tiny bit less complicated child care wise, but perhaps more intense with the ‘real life” issues of children growing into adulthood. And so, I continue to feel a strong connection to Tillie Olsen’s story and to those ever-burning what-if questions–if I’d been better at parenting, if I’d been more present. Like Emily in the story, my kids have turned out just fine, even great, and have found their own way to cope with changes in the world and in their lives that at times feel enormous. But I don’t think that feeling I carry around, of compromising myself as a professional, a poet, and a parent, are any less present for me. I just try to take all of my work seriously. I keep writing, keep researching, keep thinking about the best ways to teach a story so that my students will carry it around with them, too, so they, too, can remember some word, some phrase to keep them going. And when one of my own kids calls me up in the middle of a meeting, I still scurry out to hear their voices, to answer their emergency, or to delight in something that made them laugh.

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