Schrödinger and Other News

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I’ve had the feeling that the news would arrive today.  Therefore, I have been avoiding my school inbox all day.  I finally decided to be responsible to check it because I am also waiting for a manuscript I’m copy editing that was supposed to come last night and still wasn’t there this morning and I really need to get working on that.  As I feared, at the top of my inbox was an email from my adviser, subject: “Manuscript Response.”  Nothing in the subject or the body of the email that gmail previews gives me any clue as to whether or not I’ve passed.  Until I open that email and read her full response, I have simultaneously passed and failed my graduate degree.  As long as I wait, as long as I don’t open that email, I can go on believing that I’ve passed and I can hold onto hope.  But also, not knowing, not opening that email, holds me in a place of limbo.  Once I open that email, I will be forced to act in one way or another.  Once I open that email, I will know if my manuscript passed and I will know what I need to do next.  Either way, it’s going to be a difficult road.

If I passed, then I will finish out this semester.  I will finish my lengthy and emotionally raw Process Paper and the last bits of graduation paperwork.  I will go to Vermont in January and I will receive a document stating my completion of a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.  I will no longer be a student.  I will once again have to figure out what to do with my life, what my next step will be.  I haven’t had time to properly study for the GRE, so I won’t be starting a new program in the fall as I had hoped.  My manuscript, even passed, is no where near publishable, so I can’t jump into the world of being a full-time writer.  It’s completely open and it terrifies me.  I am a person who loves plans.  Everything is a plan.  But I don’t have a plan for when I finish this program.

If I failed, then I will be looking at an extension or a sixth semester.  I am exhausted.  As much as I love Goddard, I can’t push myself through another semester in this program and with all the work I’ve done this semester, I don’t see how any revisions I have left could require another full semester, not to mention all the paperwork I would have to repeat and the additional annotations I would have to do (I already had to do 3 more annotations than required to graduate by taking a fifth semester).  The only bonus of doing a full semester rather than an extension is that I am already cleared for a student loan to cover the semester while I would have to pay for an extension out of pocket.  Which brings us to the issue of an extension.  It’s a few thousand dollars that I absolutely do not have (I’m a starving artist on top of being a student; money’s a thing I kinda remember having in another life).  They do payment plans and I might be able to borrow the money elsewhere, but it will be tight no matter what I do.  An extension would also push of graduation.  Summer is a nice time for graduation, but all my friends will have graduated by then.  I was really looking forward to a January graduation because the last two holdouts from my original group that arrive January three years ago will be graduating then and I wanted to be able to walk with them.

As long as I don’t open the box, I don’t know.  I don’t have to move forward on one of these paths.  I can sit here in limbo and hope for an outcome and try to come up with more plans for either one, but it’s safer.  I have never been more afraid to open a box.

J

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Rededication and Habitica

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When I first started this blog, it was my intention to chronicle my creative process through my master’s program at Goddard College and throw in some writing tips and creative work along the way.  I think I started out pretty well, but I lost steam when I look my LOA and then when I came back for my third semester, life was insane.  I had just moved across the country, I was making up for a huge chunk I should have finished in G2, then I had all the G3 work to do, so I suppose I could have made time had I been really dedicated to it and had I had the routine down, but I didn’t, so I didn’t.  So now, now that I am nearly done with my program and ready to step out into the world as a Writer, I’ve decided it’s time that I take the blog more seriously.  I know I don’t have many/any readers right now, but it will be good for self-promotion to have something going already when I’m finally ready to publish and I want it to be a habit.

And speaking of habits, my sister recently introduced me to Habitica.  It’s magical.  For real, it’s an online game where you get points for adulting.  How cool is that?  So I joined up a couple of days ago and you set goals for yourself: regular daily things and other periodic things, good habits you want to develop over time, and a to-do list for onetime or irregular projects.  So I got myself started with some basic stuff and some bigger projects I want to work towards, and one of the regular things I want to build into my routine is keeping up with the blog.  So, for now, I have it set that I have to write in the blog every Friday and we’ll see how it works.  With that in mind and now that the semester is coming to a close, I’m not sure what I’m going to write about, so it may be a lot of random things.  I do want to have regular writing tips, just a way to share things I’ve learned and I want to keep up with the quotes, because I like quotes.  Otherwise, who knows what will happen.  I may end up with the kind of weird ideas that come up during NaNoWriMo because I’m forcing myself to write.

In any case, if there’s anyone out there who would like a post on a specific topic, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

Thanks for listening and stay tuned!

J

It Is Finished

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That’s that.  My manuscript is finished and in the mail, awaiting approval from my adviser and second reader.  I expect it to be a week or more before I hear back and find out if I finally get to graduate, but in the meantime, I could use a breather.  The process of this novel has been physically and emotionally exhausting, but I’m feeling really good about it.  I know it has a long way to go before I’m ready to publish, but I made incredible progress over the course of this program.  Two full semesters of revising, three new drafts since I finished the first draft at the end of my second semester.

My final book is 314 pages and 103,734 words.

And now I take a deep breath and wait.

J