Four days into March and things are a little crazy in my slice of reality.
Yesterday I accepted an offer of admission into Texas State University’s MFA program for fiction. Kind of. The application allowed me to send a short story and a nonfiction piece, and people have written nonfiction for their thesis, but my curriculum and such will primarily be aimed at fiction. Not that there’s a huge difference in how I write the two genres, other than the fact that my nonfiction actually gets published every now and then. I’m still figuring out the whole working thing while in school (lecturer vs. TA / convenience vs. experience and pay), and I’m still having moments of existential crisis about graduating again at age 32, but overall I’m super excited.
On Friday, I had a piece published in Full Stop about Kentucky Route Zero – a beautiful video game featuring my home state (which I’ve discussed in this blog before). I’m very happy about the essay because the pictures from the game are so pretty and work well with the writing, and it’s the first thing I’ve gotten to publish either about Kentucky or about video games.
On Thursday, I sent my complete thesis to my committee. At this point, my advisor has approved it. The committee has three weeks to read and respond to it, then I make changes, then I defend the thesis in April 2nd. Let me tell you how much I love the language of “defending a thesis.” It’s so valiant. A much better use of violent metaphors than the whole cancer thing.
On the topic of my thesis – it turned out different than I expected. I’m pretty proud of it. It’s longer than I expected. I put more real work into than I expected. I purposefully chose a topic that I was only moderately excited by, because I figured a small level of detachment would help me stay sane and help me be objective during the revision process, and I’m happy with that decision. There were days when making myself work on it was painful, of course, but overall my individual thesis is something I’m happy with, much to my surprise. I still have doubts about the thesis process overall. In my case, I’m going to present some of my research at the International Society for the Study of Narrative‘s 2014 conference in Boston in a couple of weeks, and then after that, I’m not sure anything will ever happen with my thesis again. My sample size was tiny and I wasn’t in direct conversation with contemporary scholars. There’s just not a lot to really work with, despite it being a 90 page document. That said, I have no intention of giving up on academic writing as I transition into a creative degree program. I still have several shorter pieces that I continue to think about and work on, including one that’s going to be workshopped at the Rhetoric Society of America‘s Research Network program in May.
I am breathing a lot easier since finishing my thesis. I have no more deadlines (besides the one for Guernica I missed yesterday). I want to read Ulysses and make big progress on writing a book and drink a lot of coffee. Like, enough to kill a small animal.
Just a few good articles this time.
When May I Shoot a Student?
When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose
How Neil Gaiman Took the Road to En-Dor
The Problem with Little White Girls (and Boys): Why I Stopped Being a Voluntourist
Notes from Freedom County
and, finally, a blog entry that features my own hometown of Paducah, Kentucky: Jesus Guns