Thursday, August 23, 2007
I don't know when it struck me exactly, but over the past few weeks, my job has been stressful and miserable; there were times when I loathed it, and I was sure that if I did this for the rest of my life, I would reasonably be able to say that I've accomplished nothing.
Last year I fancied applying to grad school for creative writing, but I wasn't pleased with anything I had to submit, and the GRE downright intimidated me (I haven't taken a math class since junior year of high school, and I probably only took five tests in my four years of college). I ended up backing out of those plans, content that I would be able to write my way into a career.
This is disjointed because I want to pinpoint the moment when I had absolute certainty that it was finally time to go to grad school. I've been rereading novels lately. I finished Wonder Boys a couple of weeks ago for the second time, and just when I was feeling down about my job, my place in life, and the prospect of my future, it suddenly struck me that I needed to reread A Prayer for Owen Meany. Michael Chabon and John Irving are my two favorite authors, and their styles, while distinct and pretty different from one another, are what I emulate (either by influence or by default). Owen Meany has the heart though; it has the soul and the characters and love of what I want my story to be. My story has been swirling in my mind and heart for years. It's about love. It's about family. It's about brothers and sacrifice. It sounds cliche, but if truth is writing from your heart, then it is the thing I have to write.
So around the time I realized I needed to reread Owen Meany, the ideas for my novel solidified themselves, and I figured out how the whole thing ends. I also saw the beginning. Knowing that the piece is to be something akin to biographical fiction and is supposed to span the life of my two main characters, I figure I have 500 pages to fill.
It is time.
The pieces started falling into place. I started reading what I want to emulate; I started writing the story that makes my heart want to explode. I applied to an advanced fiction writing workshop for the fall so that I could work on this novel, mold it, and submit it for my grad school applications. I submitted my first five pages for admission into the class.
Today, I got in.
Maybe by announcing it, I'm jinxing myself, just like I did last year when I told everyone in my family that I was going to go to grad school this year, only to slink away. But it's not like that this time at all. I not only know that this is what I want to do, but it's what I'm supposed to do. Like it's my fate. Like it's part of a plan.
And for anyone who's read A Prayer for Owen Meany, it'll come as no coincidence that I had to read that book.
Until next time...
Posted by Joe at 9:47 PM