It’s too late for me to do it this year. I thought about it last year and then read an article in The New Yorker which changed my mind. And I thought I was pretty well settled in my decisions.
And then, a couple weeks ago, I participated in a literary arts/creative writing adjudication. And I met a lovely woman who is currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing.
And I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Couldn’t stop thinking about going back to school to pursue writing and editing and learning more about each. I keep on thinking that I can just read books and practice on my own. Or go to workshops.
Which I’m going to do as well.
Regardless, in the end, I’m going for the MFA in Creative Writing. I can’t keep on pushing away at the little neurons that are screaming in my head for me to grab these opportunities and run with them. I don’t care if the program is fully funded or not. I don’t care if I have to go part time or whatever. I just don’t care anymore.
From what I understand, the county is willing to pay for one class a calendar year. My National Board stipend will help pay for another class. The program I want to enter is only 48 credit hours…that’s roughly sixteen credits.
I can do this. I can chase this dream and stop dreaming about it.
My husband thinks it’s wonderful that I want to go back to school, even encourages me to get another degree. However, he thinks it should be in something “practical.”
I’ll go into full-time editing if I can. That’s practical. I don’t care. I’ve been thinking more and more about running after this moment and I let it go a year ago and I have sort of been kicking myself in head for doing it.
At the same time, with all that I have on my plate at this point, I could have never done the work I am currently doing and also done the MFA.
However, in eighteen months, the time for me to start my next degree would be approaching. And, at that point, so long as my schedule doesn’t change too drastically, I could have the majority of my lessons planned, my activities written.
The quizzes I’ve written this year, I can re-use with some tweaking.
The activities I’ve been using this year, I can re-use with some tweaking.
I am not going to do what one of my English professors suggested was awful and teach the same year twenty times. Every group of students is unique to the preceding years. And as I read new books, I will bring in new pieces that will re-invigorate myself and the curriculum.
And learning more about the craft of writing other than following my gut instinct and just writing and reading and editing…that will positively contribute to my work. I can only make things better.
I am almost forty-four. I have dedicated my life towards helping others. I have done everything I can to try and make my English literature degrees practical. And I have succeeded.
I have my National Board certification…which I’m going to re-up next year.
I have dual endorsements in both AP English classes.
I could have gone into a more lucrative career. And I might have enjoyed it. However, I know that I am where God wants me to be. And I’m now going to continue working towards what I hope is my God-given purpose.
It’s just…that as I am reading the local university’s pages about the creative writing MFA, about the classes I might be taking, I can feel this very primal urge to run for this program and to take the classes and to do the work. If I am accepted, I should be done in three years. At forty-eight credits, that’s roughly six classes per year or three classes per semester.
I can do that. It will be hard. I know that I will be exhausted and juggling so much. I know that I will have to let go of some commitments in order to give myself the ability to pursue this one. I know that I will be taking on a huge additional responsibility.
I know this. I know this. And, in some respects, it terrifies me.
But I also know that I have stood to the side and watched parts of my life slip past me. And this isn’t one of those moments that I’m willing to set into the stream, like a tiny newspaper sailboat, and watch it run downstream until it finally falls away.
When I was in high school and college, I dreamt about becoming a full-time writer. I was then steered towards education so that I could have a full-time job and still be able to write. And then I met my husband and we had children and I stopped writing because…well…because.
And then I met Hayley and I started writing again. And the urge to write became more than just a passing fancy.
I created a live journal account that I don’t use anymore.
I found that scraps of paper were great for keeping ideas flowing. My filing cabinet has bits and pieces of paper and church bulletins magnetically stuck to it…
Ideas for my novels.
I have a love affair with words that could threaten even the most sanctified marriage. I love magnetic poetry and hate it because my need to keep things organized prevents me from just throwing the magnets onto a board and telling people to “have at it.”
I’m terrified and exuberated. I’m ready to apply now even though the application deadline is tomorrow. I can wait. Gather my resources. Polish my writing. Ask for my letters of recommendation.
I can do this.
I can wait.
I can figure out what the hell the next step in my life is going to be.
And then, I’m going to put on a sturdy pair of boots.
And take a step…