Saturday, February 16, 2008

On Nerves

In my post from Tuesday, I mentioned how I've been eyeballing creative writing MFA forums, obsessively trying to determine when I may or may not be receiving notifications of acceptance from schools to which I've applied. I started doing this weeks ago, and at the time there was nothing to it. I enjoyed reading the comments and finding out how people dealt with the wait, where they applied, and where exactly their hearts landed on their sleeves. It was interesting since I'm new to this process, and as I've discovered, there are people that go through this for years before they finally end up somewhere; even then, they return to support their peers. It's not a stretch to assume they empathetically go through the same anxiety all over again; I would describe most writers as sadomasochistic.

If we're to take the forums as an accurate point of reference, I might find out about one of my schools any day now. My ability to distance myself from the community and the situation as a whole has completely vanished. I watch the lists and read the comments avidly. Did someone receive a phone call today? Has one of my other schools bumped up their schedule by two weeks? I must waste almost an hour of work each day, I check my cell phone all the time, I wait in corners of rooms while my i-Pod connects to the internet so I can download any new email. It's not that I necessarily want to get into this school so badly; it's that I want to know what my future has in store. So much of my life hinges not just on whether or not I get into graduate school, but where I get in. There would be factors to weigh, any number of things to consider, and if nothing pans out on that front, there are other avenues of my life that will be open to evaluation and, ultimately, change.

And at the bottom of it all, like the eighteen year old version of myself that so desperately wanted to get into NYU, I desperately want to get my MFA. I mean that in every respect - from getting the diploma right down to the gritty, tiresome, challenging work that it involves. There was a recurring theme in my statements of purpose - that this was something I have to do. I still feel that way. I struggle to think of something that I want more than to write and teach, and in waiting for these acceptance letters, I'm looking for someone to validate that, to tell me that I'm worthy of that challenge. I want to hear that I'm good enough.

Perhaps I'm making a show of this just so I can create some forum for exuberance (or melancholy) later; I know myself well enough that it doesn't seem like such a stretch. But it may be telling that despite everything I could write about - with the Oscars coming up, or with what's going on in my own writing - when it comes to expressing something, this knot in the pit of my stomach is all I can think of.

Write on...

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