On Reunions, Departures, and the NEA

I am the lead planner for my 20th High School Reunion.

There, I said it.

Saying it doesn't make the fact any less painful. It's funny that the reunion will be taking place this year after I got a book accepted for publication which doesn't necessarily shed a favorable light on my former home town. Nestled in the Treasure Valley, part of the Great Sage Desert of Eastern Oregon, Ontario, OR, is technically a rest stop for people driving on Interstate-84. The main geographical feature is the Malheur Butte, which juts slightly above the flat plains. Basically, it's a hill that looks like a squished nose on the face of the valley. The main industry--a food processing factory and a maximum security prison.

It's a very different place from when I lived there--the high school is now one of the lowest ranked high schools in Oregon.

So, I'm a bit torn about planning the reunion and returning to the place I was raised. But I do still have friends there, and it'll be good to see them once again.


I just learned that one of them passed away from a blood clot in her heart. She is the first death from our very small 1990 graduating class and she was my friend. 38 is far too young.


So I've had a bit of a heavy heart, but I've managed to go on with things. I just completed my NEA application and submitted all the forms. It's a tricky submission process, but I'm very glad that I saved my 2008 application files. Having them on hand really sped up the process. My recommendation to those of you applying this year, save your files in a folder clearly marked in case you don't win for 2010. That way your 2012 application will go that much more smoothly.


Brooklyn Rider. "Ascending Bird."

Oliver de la Paz