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Tiny Bubbles…

November 29, 2010

Tiny bubbles have been my only physical comfort over the last two days — aside from the momentary relief that vomiting or a few stolen moments of sleep afforded me.

I don’t know if it was the flu or food poisoning or what, but I have been  trapped inside my apartment for the past few days. I’ve been feeling better for the last few hours — by better I mean fully human — so I spent a little time working on some of my off-blog writing.

I’ve realized that almost none of it is finished.

I was also a good girl and once I was human again I did some work on my applications. And I did that thing I do. I re-read the things I have written and I wondered one moment if they were good enough and the next moment I was certain that I should be admitted to any program in the country.

Vacillating is clearly one of my super powers.

I guess I find the whole process of applying to school to be kind of ridiculous. I mean I’m basically begging these schools to let me pay them thousands of dollars a year to teach me something. And it’s like I have to prove that I’m a good writer for them to accept me as a writing student.

It really undermines my trust in the whole process of education. I mean if I’m already such a great writer, what would I need grad school for? I would be able to do the rest of this on my own, right?

The thing is, I know I’m a good writer. Or at least an okay writer. I have potential at the very least and I think potential should be what you need to get into grad school. But if potential were all it took, I bet they would accept more than a dozen students a year for their program.

I wrote a letter to a fellow writer today — one who is far more accomplished and skilled than I — asking her if she would feel good about writing a recommendation letter for me. I explained a bit about my situation and I can’t stop thinking about the things I wrote to her. In fact I’ll probably be re-writing my application essays to include those things. So, I though I should share with those of you who have stuck with me through the dull posts about my grad-school endeavors.

I’m not sure what the grad schools are looking for in applicants. So, I’m not sure what kinds of recommendations I will need. However, I can let you know where I am coming from personally. I would like to be a professor, I think. I’d like to be an editor, I think. I know that I’m a good teacher and I know that I’m a good editor — both on many levels. Those are the more practical reasons I’m pursuing an MFA in creative writing.

Those are my answers when I tell people that I’m pursuing an MFA in creative writing and they ask, “What do you want to do with that?” 

Of course the practical reasons aren’t all there is to it. I want to write a book. And the final test for an MFA is a book. If i finish the program I accomplish that goal. I can’t say right now that I feel like I can write a book. Not on my own. I don’t have the skills. But I may have the talent. At the very least, I think I have potential. And beyond that, real life is getting in the way of my dream.

Over the past few years, working on my own, I feel that I have grown immensely as a writer, but I’m at the point now that I need help to continue my growth. I want the tutelage that a scholastic setting can provide. I want the challenges and deadlines that professors can present me with, as well as the experience and insight they can provide to help me hone my skills and get the stories out of me.
Furthermore, although I know many authors are able to write great pieces while working full-time, I’m finding it harrowing at best. Each day going to work feels like a waste because I’m trading my time — my life — for $14 an hour and I’d rather be home writing. Or even out writing. Or editing something for someone. Or even just reading the new Nick Hornby.

There’s something inside me that needs to come out — that needs to be written down and read. I thought maybe it was one important story that needed to be told, so I started writing. But it seems the more I write the larger the thing becomes and the more stories that I have to tell.
Over the past few years most of the stories have been coming out in small pieces through my blog. Or other such abbreviated bits. I know that I have larger tales — I’ve started writing them. But I need help putting them together well. My larger works need me — deserve for me — to find help and to find a way to escape from the 9-5 for a year or two.

That’s some of the reasons why I’m pursuing graduate school. Now my hope is that I be granted admission to a program that can turn that potential into something great.

I read a quote recently in Writer’s Digest that summed up why I want to do this. I want the words I write to reach out and touch others deeply and connect a part of them to a part of me.

Ummm…my tummy is gurgling again. I wonder if it’s anxiety or a remnant of that stomach bug. Time for more tiny bubbles. Thanks for reading. As always, I hope some part of it touches you.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. dave c permalink
    November 29, 2010 11:08 pm

    “I want the words I write to reach out and touch others deeply and connect a part of them to a part of me.”

    I think you’ve done that. I’m bad at knowing these things though.


    • November 30, 2010 8:55 am

      Thanks for the affirmation, Dave. I always appreciate it and it’s even better coming from someone who really knows me!


  2. Kent permalink
    November 30, 2010 12:23 am

    Crystal, although I have not read many of your blog entries I can tell you with certainty that you will do fine. I think you are looking to take your MFA as a source of affirmation as well as your above stated reasons. You may actually find your writing to be better than some of your teachers, not saying that will be the case but a possibility. I too would like to write, but for some reason punctuation freaks me out, funny I know but it is what I struggle with and it actually stops me from writing, that in the fact that I’ve done very little writing. Everything takes practice and I that your blog already does the things you aspire it to. Just look at the regulars who pop in and out to read. At any rate I hope your stomach feels better and you get into the school you would like to (although I don’t think it will be a problem)


    • November 30, 2010 8:57 am

      I don’t know if I need affirmation from a writing program. I think what I really want is help. And if I can write better than my professors I will be PISSED! At any rate, thank you for your affirmation — and my stomach is doing much better!


  3. November 30, 2010 9:06 am

    “I read a quote recently in Writer’s Digest that summed up why I want to do this. I want the words I write to reach out and touch others deeply and connect a part of them to a part of me.”

    In some ways, there are strong connections between all of us.

    The difference is finding a valuable and unique way of communicating this to the reader which no one else has done. Think about some of your favorite writers. You wills start to notice that these writers tend to specialize in one topic. Their delivery is what makes the difference.

    Duke University requires creative writing as a big portion of their entrance exam for undergraduate studies. Why?

    Define your content and share in ways that respect the readers intelligence. One way to do this is read your own material as if you are the listener. The old saying, “when in doubt, leave it out” is valuable as well.

    Good luck.


    • November 30, 2010 11:00 am

      “Duke University requires creative writing as a big portion of their entrance exam for undergraduate studies. Why?”

      I dunno…why? Tell us.


      • November 30, 2010 12:05 pm

        Communication skills.
        You don’t always know your audience.
        Don’t assume you do. So. How effective can you be.

        A gallery for others to understand the thought process
        which is more unique to you and towards the career you are choosing.


        • November 30, 2010 1:03 pm

          Andy, buddy…either I am still a little sick or you aren’t making much sense.


          • Andy permalink
            November 30, 2010 1:11 pm

            Just think of my answer at two bullet points to your question. Writing is a gallery (picture) of thought in words for other to see (read). Writing is usually to an audience you nor any other writer will ever personally know or see.

            Have you ever heard the phrase, “See you on the radio?”

            Schools are putting emphasis on creative writing these days more than before.


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