New Life

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I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately, due to some events in my personal life.  I’ve been thinking about how very hard it is, but also about how beautiful it can be.  Paul Cardall is my favorite pianist and favorite living composer.  My uncle gave him his big break, so he’s had associations with my family for a while, which has made his music especially important to me.  He played at both of my grandparents’ funerals in Utah and I’ve been to a number of his concerts.  Even listening to his albums for the hundredth time, his music still moves me.  His music is all the more powerful because I know the struggles behind it.

Paul Cardall was born with congenital heart disease.  He has been fighting for his life from the moment he was born and because of this, he knows how very precious life is and he has made every moment of his difficult life count.  Today, I wanted to share with you my favorite piece of his.  It’s called Gracie’s Theme.  It was written for a sweet little girl who was born with the same condition.  Paul got to know her and her parents in the hospital while they were both waiting for transplants.  Unfortunately, Gracie didn’t make it, but her legacy lives on.  Life is beautiful, even if we only get to enjoy it for a brief moment on this Earth.  Cherish it.  Make the most of it.

J

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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Solitude

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“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.”
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

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“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”

(Audrey Hepburn: Many-Sided Charmer, LIFE Magazine, December 7, 1953)
― Audrey Hepburn

It’s been a very busy month and even though we’ve already had the residency for this semester, packet work doesn’t officially begin for another week, so here’re a couple quotes to tide you over until I get back to work and start posting regularly again.

J