So this is a tale that still gives me goosebumps. I was in my second term of my MFA Program at the University of Tampa, when a classmate approached me and suggested I read this book titled, Blood Dazzler. I read it in one sitting and was blown away. I put it away for a couple of days and then read it again, slowly. Doubly blown away. I knew meeting Patricia Smith was on the top of my bucket list. I requested to choose this book as one that I would have to annotate for my MFA work. By the time the next term came around, I had chosen another of her books to annotate, and from that point on I became enthralled with her work. I purchased all of her books but two and ended up writing my critical essay on three of her books!
So, just before my final term rolled around, I was let in on a huge surprise. Patricia Smith was coming to UT as a part of the Lectores Series where she would read her work and facilitate a seminar. I was beside myself with joy. I met her. I had wine with her. We chatted for a couple of hours. What a vibrant and talented human being. We had laughed about the fact that I approached her to get an autograph in the book she was promoting and plopped my entire Patricia Smith collection of books on the table. I stated that I only had two left to purchase and she smiled and said, „give me our address, I’ll send them to you.“ I about fainted. She said something quite profound to me after signing my books.
She looked me square in the eyes and said, „where do you live?“
„St. Pete,“ I replied.
She tilted her head to the side and said, „how’s that working out for you?“
I sighed and shook my head.
She smiled again and said, „when will you be ready to get out of the comfort of that bubble? Here’s my email address, stay in touch.“
I got so giddy, I felt like I was going to throw up. As I wobbled my way out of the theater, I knew I had decisions to make. Needless to say, I’m still living in the comfort zone of my bubble that is St. Pete. I suppose when the time comes for change, I’ll be ready.
If you get a chance, read this book of persona and personification poems about Hurricane Katrina. I promise it will change your life.