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The Writer's Life

The Prisoner of Troy

My lovely wife, Dona, moved to Tacoma, Washington in early January to begin her career as President and CEO of United Way of Pierce County. I stayed behind in Troy, Michigan to sell our house.

Four months later I’m still here.

O Michigan, let me go!

I have endured one of the harshest winters in the state’s memory. I have sat in the basement with Henry, our hyper dog, dozens of times, while potential buyers view the house. I’ve restrained my annoyance over low-ball offers and comments about how this feature or that one that keeps a buyer from pulling the trigger.

Through it all, I’ve dreamed of Washington, the land of the writer, of Hugo House and PNWA and NILA, where bookstores thrive and people really go to readings. It’s where I did my MFA, and where I’ve got dozens of writer friends with whom I can’t wait to talk writing and books. I need to get out there and help build Tahoma Literary Review. I need to be involved in all that.

But I am the Prisoner of Troy, trapped in relocation limbo. Separated from my wife and my future. Stuck here with a dog that can defile any environment in minutes, meaning I must time my housecleaning efforts to coincide with each viewing, which happens three to six times a week. Meaning, of course, that said viewers invariably show up ten minutes early, while I’m still vacuuming, or an hour late, while I try to keep Henry from tearing the stuffing out of another toy.

Frustrated? Yeah. I am so ready to leave.

I’m starting to feel like a political prisoner, like a man locked up for his beliefs, kept from the life and the discourse that sustains him, punished not for a crime, but for daring to imagine a better life.

What power is this that has sentenced me? The realtors say the market is good, that inventory in the area is low. They say the warmer weather will bring more potential buyers. They say to drop the price.

Still nothing.

Is it this state? Is there some reason it refuses to free me? Whatever I have done to incur your wrath, O Michigan, I apologize. But let me go, turn me loose, cut these ties that bind.

Sorry to be such a downer this week. Just needed to vent. No need to comment.

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About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.

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