I was going to title this post "BIG HUGE LIFE CHANGING NEWS" and then I realized the news is really only big to me, and only life changing to my family, so maybe that's overstating it a little.
The news is that I received a phone call this week that I'd been accepted into the MFA program I'd applied to this summer. Which means, in a scant three months, I'll be a grad student.
Everyone around me keeps saying, "We knew you'd get in," but the truth is that they didn't. No one could tell that. I don't know how many applied, but the fact is that MFA programs in writing are notoriously small. In the single to low double digits small. A school might take as few as seven or eight new fiction writers a semester. I was worried. I didn't apply to a bunch of schools. I picked one. My favorite one. The program that fit me best, that made my heart beat harder every time I thought about it.
And who knows what they're looking for? I was thinking probably not a mom who long ago started losing brain cells and the ability to find a word over two syllables. Will I be the oldest in the class? Will I be the most haggard, least fashionable one? Will I be the only one who has to read a page of classic literature over and over and end up saying, "I don't get it. What am I supposed to be looking for again?" When I write my first critical essay, will it rise above my traditional book reviews of, "It was a cool book. I liked it okay"?
I don't know, but these are questions I'm worth humiliating myself to find out.
Getting a writing degree isn't critical to being a writer. There are plenty of authors all over the internet who will tell you that college only ruins any talent a writer might have. They say it's pretentious. It's a waste of money. It's a waste of time.
I don't agree. I agree that there are great writers who don't ever get a college education, let alone a graduate degree, and they are brilliant in what they do. They are gifted.
But I want the degree. I want the classes and the teachers and the textbooks and the assignments and the fellow students. I want to be a student. I want to be pushed beyond what I'm doing now in my writing, and I think this is the best way for me to do that.
So in January I'll pack my bags and head to Oregon for two weeks, where I'll sit in class and overlook the ocean and have evening bonfires at the beach (they do that!!) and sit around the bonfire talking books and literature and writing with other people who love that sort of thing as much as me. I'll start writing a new book. I'll start making lists of the books I'll read over the course of the next two years. I'll meet my writing advisor, attend lectures, listen to book readings. In essence, begin the next two years with a bang.
I have no idea what the next two years will be like for me. Intense, I'm sure. Busy beyond what I can imagine. Stressful. Tired. Crazy. Wonderful. Bliss. Amazing.
And I imagine this blog will very much become a record of all that. I hope you stick with me for the wild ride.
(Monday I'll post my week writing times, and my observations about it all. I had less time than I thought I would, but writing down how much time forced me to be productive in ways I couldn't imagine. I should be done with this book by the end of the month. Just in time for a short break and a chance to begin all over again!)