Welcome to the seventh installment of MFA|EDA’s 4th Friday Alumni 6Pack. We are pleased to cap off the year with musings from the class of 2018’s Katie King.
It’s raining outside now.
I’m drinking a hot cup of coffee, and I’m sitting on a well-worn couch, but I’m also sitting in that strange vacuum of a space between Christmas and New Years. Last year was challenging and inspiring and terrible and wonderful for a whole host of reasons. Next year, I have my own plans and thoughts and intentions, but—well, I don’t really know. We’ll see. A lot can change. A lot can stay the same.
Today, I’m finding myself looking back and looking forward, and not moving much at all.
And that’s fine. It’s kind of nice, in a way.
From my quite literal vantage point, from where I’m quite literally sitting, I’m looking at a collection of books I’ve toted with me from North Carolina. There are a couple of books I want to loan you.
Dive Dark, Dream Slow by Melissa Catanese
In the process of crafting and curating my own photobook chock full of archival material, I spent time with books created by others. Melissa Catanese’s book is one that I came back to regularly. I checked it out of the library enough times that I eventually got tired of the slightly inconvenient return trip, and purchased a copy for myself. She pulls from Peter J. Cohen’s archive of 20,000+ vernacular and found anonymous photographs, creating something strange, slow and familiar.
Six Months Ago
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (at Ada’s Technical Books in Seattle, WA)
Six-ish months ago, I visited my sister in Seattle. She lives near Ada’s Technical Books, an amazing bookstore and coffee shop that carries all manner of nonfiction, science fiction, fantasy, and—you guessed it—technical books. I came across a copy of Oryx and Crake. This is a book I’ve read and loved and loaned to others. I purchased another copy at Ada’s, fully intending to keep it to myself.
It’s since been loaned out again.
If you read this and you have my copy, no need to return it. Lend it to someone else.
Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings by Kennel, Greenberg, Mann, et al.
I lost a handful of hours to this book when I first came across it. Mann is a continual source of wonder for me. I know I’m not alone here. She’s one of the Greats for a reason.
I wasn’t able to see the exhibition at the National Gallery, but having this book in my home isn’t a bad consolation prize. And spending time with it, thinking of home and family and the South, right before I came back to Georgia this week… well, it was fitting.
Life Is Strange (2015) by Dontnod Entertainment
This one isn’t a book. It’s a video game. Whoops.
I’m not necessarily one for video games, but I am one for stories. That trumps genre/medium/mode for me, every time. And this game has such an interesting take on story and narrative. For one, it’s plot-driven, but your actions (or, really, interactions) have a real impact on the game. It’s not so much choose-your-own adventure as choose-your-own relationships. People matter. Who you talk to, who you don’t talk—that matters, too.
I finished the game recently, and I’m still reeling a bit. I won’t go too much into the plot for fear of spoilers, but you play as a high school photography student who can manipulate time.
Sometimes, it’s as on-the-nose as it sounds, but mostly it’s just really great.
How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
I gifted this book to myself, and I couldn’t be happier.
N.K. Jemisin is one of my favorite authors. Her loves (science fiction and fantasy) are my loves. Her stories are genre-bending, her characters are astounding, and her world-building is top notch.
I gush, yes, but I don’t lie.
How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? is currently sitting next to me on my fiancé’s aunt’s well-worn couch, and has been traveling around with me these last few days. It’s been to Durham, Macon, and Atlanta, and it’s about to follow me to Asheville later today. I’ve been savoring the short stories in this book, trying to go through one a day or so. I haven’t always been successful at keeping it to just one. Her speculative fiction is just that good.
Promises [to myself and others]
[Photo of journal I don’t keep]
If I kept a journal, I’d insert a picture of it here, open to a blank page or something similarly hokey. I don’t keep a journal, unfortunately, but I do keep my promises.
Today and tomorrow, I’m making a promise to myself to move more, a promise to my fiancé to grow our lives together, and a promise to strangers and friends alike to care, be an active listener, and do.
Big promises are small choices. Daily ones.
Tomorrow needs more kept promises.
Alex Cunningham (’16).
See you then.
Happy New Year.