by Ami Maxine Irmen
As a Bear fan (sorry, folks…I grew up near Chicago) who (until recently) didn’t like beer and doesn’t eat meat (yes, yes, I do miss a good brat on the Fourth), I have at times felt out of place in the city of Green and Gold (and beer and brats). Don’t get me wrong – I love Green Bay. With all my heart. There is literally nowhere else I’d rather live. (Ok, well, maybe the Highlands of Scotland…) The fact remains, though, that I’ve left and come back. Twice. Green Bay is the home that keeps calling me back.
I’ve found home sitting at Kavarna writing or talking with friends and drinking who knows how many pots of chai. I’ve found home wandering the farmers markets in the summer and watching the snow fall come winter. I’ve even found home getting stuck on the Dousman Street (Ray Nitschke Memorial) Bridge waiting for a freighter to pass by. There is, to me, nothing more grounding than sitting somewhere, anywhere, and watching the sun reflect off the Fox. (Next time you’re stuck waiting for the bridge, just sit and breathe and look. It’s just about the most relaxing thing there is.)
The thing that I felt was missing, though, was my community – the community I felt when I first moved here as a freshman at UWGB; I majored in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. I can still remember my first workshop – and my second – and my third. I remember class after class of talented professors and classmates, many of whom continue to inspire me today.
This is why I love that for 2020, UntitledTown has chosen community as its theme – because I also remember walking around that first year, listening to readings and going to workshops, and quite honestly feeling community all around in a way I hadn’t felt since I spent my days wandering the halls of UWGB.
Not since I sat with my classmates, my friends, giddily pouring over submissions for the Sheepshead Review, UWGB’s journal of art and literature. Hours upon hours were spent whittling them down, working on layout, and just laughing and enjoying the work. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on the journal, but I still make sure I have someone nab me a copy every semester. And I can’t help but reminisce as I read through it.
If you’ve never heard of the Sheepshead Review (and especially if you have), I highly encourage you to head over to UWGB next Wednesday, Dec 11. From 2:15 to 4:00 p.m. in the second-floor lobby of Theatre Hall, you can hear students read their work and be one of the first to grab a free copy of the journal for yourself. And you can get a glimpse of this community and see the labor of love these students continue to put into the Sheepshead every single year.
It’s quite different, I’ve found, to seek out such a community outside the halls of a college or university. But thanks to UntitledTown, this has become as infinitely easier task to accomplish. I look forward to seeing you there in April.