Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I revert to narrative lists when I’m feeling like my ability to blog is lackluster. Right now, looking back at some of my recent entries, that’s how I’m feeling. So here goes.

1. Maybe Liquid Assets is the only exception to this lacklusterness. A friend of mine asked me if I was going to do a farewell to Baton Rouge entry, but for now, I think Liquid Assets is that story – my own kind of love poem to South Louisiana.

2. Today I am meeting an internet friend who I tracked down back when I was waiting to hear from grad schools. At the time, it probably seemed pretty stalker-ish, but I came upon her accidentally when I was googling stuff about San Marcos. I discovered that she’d also been accepted to San Marcos, and I began reading her blog. I could see right away what a good writer she is, and I’d hoped she would choose to go to San Marcos so I would know that I was among strong writers. But she got a better opportunity, which she would have been crazy to turn down – Michener Center at UT. So today, we meet. I’m mildly envious of all of the four fiction writers who were accepted to the Michener Center. But if she hadn't gotten into Michener, we probably wouldn’t be meeting. She was going to turn down the offer from San Marcos. So more than envious, I’m really happy about meeting this girl. Who knows if we’ll hit it off or not? But I admire what I’ve seen of her writing, and I think maybe our fiction would hit it off.

3. I am insecure about a few semi-school and school related things.

a. I wish I was a more-traveled person. My little jaunts to Mexico and Costa Rica aren’t the kind of experiences I always thought I’d have. All of my female classmates that I’ve met so far have worked in other countries, Malaysia, Australia, France. A friend reminded me that I have a lot of other experiences that my classmates don’t, and she reminded me that I have grand plans to travel next summer. I am really hoping that those plans don’t find a way to turn into smoke. I used to have friends who were in a band called Plans that Fail. And I think about that band everytime I think about whether I’ll ever do some real traveling. This desire to travel is my last hold-out for having a baby. That and my fear that I'm not fit to mother another person. I wish time would just stand still for a moment. A year. Two at the most.

b. My grammar is terrible. It’s better than what it appears to be on this blog – which I treat as a sort of shirt-untucked version of writing. But it’s worse than the grammar of a girl who majored in English ought to be. Once, I mentioned to a friend how oblivious I am to grammatical rules, and she said that it’s not that uncommon. That sometimes people who write well pick up on how to write because they’re big readers and they intuitively grasp the flow of language. She was a high school English teacher at the time, so I took her word for it.

c. I’m nervous because I don’t have a strong canonical literary background. This is the concern that seems particularly absurd to me, because I don’t really believe this is a necessity in the life of a writer, or really of a human being. The insecurity is mostly because I’m afraid my classmates will judge me for my lack of knowledge in this area. What can I say? I studied far more contemporary fiction, women, writers of color… It suited me well.

d. I’m anxious about my ability to manage my time well. I tend to get overwhelmed when I’ve got too many major projects happening. By too many, I mean two. The way I see it, I’ve got four to juggle: writing; submitting work regularly; keeping up with school readings/paper writing; and doing a good job with my assistantship (which also requires reading the texts the students will read).

4. Last night I worked on revisions to a story that I would really like to workshop. I think it’s a good story, but I also think it has a long way to go. At first, I thought, I can’t share this with people; they will tear it apart. But then I remembered that whatever criticism I receive, it will all be given with the intent of helping me improve a piece that I really want to improve.

5. The thing that I reminded myself of the other day is this: I’m not really in school to make friends, though I’m hopeful that I will make connections with some fine writers and that we will become helpful critics for one another. I’m not getting an MFA because I want to become a teacher, although that is certainly a possibility, and I think I’ll enjoy the experience of teaching college freshmen and sophomores, especially students from this landscape. I am getting an MFA because I want to carve out the time to write and to improve my writing, to submit regularly, to complete a manuscript worthy of shopping around to agents. In short, I’m getting this MFA because I want to make a concerted effort at being what I have always hoped to be, a writer. The kind of writer who makes a living as a writer. I’m aware that failure is a possibility. But right now, I’ve got to concentrate on the discipline and rigor I will need to enact upon myself, and the fact that success is also a possibility.

SONG: Changes, David Bowie

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