Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Stark Realizations

I won't rob long time readers of a proper reflection, but for the here and now, be it known that the grad school application process is just about wrapped up. To date, I applied to six schools for a MFA in creative writing, received four official rejections, one unofficial rejection, and am waiting on my last, long shot, school.

This happens to people, and I'm not unrealistic about my writing ability, especially in prose, but I don't think I can go through this process again. Next December I'll turn 26. I have no marketable skills, no career prospects, and a writing ability that is strong but unfocused from the years I've spent dabbling in so many different mediums (cyberspace, I guess, included).

At one point in my life, if there was something I wanted to do, no matter how unlikely it was, it happened. It could have been any number of things, but through a combination of determination, talent, work, and what was probably quite a bit of luck, things just worked out for me. I think it's easy to fly high while in the confines of college and walls and rules and it is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

There are a lot of talented people out there, and I honestly do think that I'm among them, but I don't think I want "it" enough. I don't want crappy jobs while I write mediocre things and chip away at a block of talent until it becomes a polished, godly tool of literary destruction because I don't have faith or confidence in the fact that after all the work has been done there will be something there worth toting. I am only twenty-five now, but what happens if in ten years I'm still struggling to make ends meet and I realize that maybe this writing thing isn't taking me anywhere? Then I'm thirty-five. There's a chance I'll pull through and be the working, influential writer that I aspire to be, but the numbers indicate - just like the grad schools that receive 835 applications for 25 slots - that it just won't happen.

At 16, while in the midst of a pretty serious depression, I made the choice to drop everything and study my ass off so I could get into schools outside Kentucky, my home state. I didn't know just then what I wanted to be (I would gravitate toward acting a year later), but I knew where I didn't want to be, and I knew my brain was the ticket out of it.

For as much as I love writing, I don't know if it's what I want to do with my life, but I sure as hell know that in ten years, I don't want to have screwed myself out of more opportunities by following a pipe dream. It frightens me, and whether or not you believe fear is something that should dictate action, well, sometimes, I think that it's perfectly okay.

I don't want to say I'm hanging it up because I'm not. Writers write, and no matter what you do for a living, no matter how old you get, no one can ever take that away from you. But there are a lot of other things that I'm interested in, roads down which I need to travel. If a letter shows up on my doorstep from the University of Virginia and says I'm in for creative writing, this will be moot and silly and completely ridiculous, but for now, and for a long time, there are other things I need to take care of.

I hate that I can't take myself seriously. I hate feeling like I have no control over my life and that I don't have the power to affect change in this world.

So that's what I'm going to do.

And no one is more surprised to hear me talk this way than I am.

--LoKor out

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