2016, Archives, June 2016, The MFA Years

No Writing, All Questions

Image: Matt Roberts

I haven’t written anything in a month. There hasn’t been a story or a poem, an outline or sketch, hell, I haven’t even written down any ideas on scrap pieces of paper. I’ve started and stopped this multiple times this past month trying to figure out what I’d like my last post to be about. I think you can tell from the writing it is not the best. I’ve got nothing. I imagine part of it is needing a break after finishing my last semester in college and then spending a week and a half dealing with graduation and all its many activities. Most people I know shut their brains off for a little after the end of a semester. But a month feels too long, like I’m getting complacent with my writing when, three months before entering an MFA program, I should be doing the exact opposite.

This time of not writing has allowed me to think. In the midst of trying to find housing and a clinic near me who doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for a physical (yay no health insurance) I’ve been wondering what it is that I want out of my future MFA experience. Let’s get the notion of time to write right out there and move on. That’s the entire reason we all apply to these MFA programs, is it not? But outside of that I’m trying to figure out what I want out of these next two years. I don’t particularly know if what I want should only be writing based or if I can add in some personal wants as well. Logically I know it can be both. But I think we spend so much time researching the writing aspect of these programs we forget that, well, a life outside of that program is required as well. At least I did. It just really hit me that I’ll be leaving the south for the first time in my life. I’ll be in a place where I’ll be one of the few minority students not only at the university but within the town, something I’ve never dealt with before. What is it that I want to gain from these new experiences? Should I even want to gain something out of this, or should it be something to just live through?

The writing side of these wants isn’t all that clearer. I currently have an idea that I’d like to eventually be my thesis, but I’ve heard plenty stories from people who had an idea of what they were going to write when they went into their programs and came out writing something completely different. Should I hope this first year keeps me steady in that idea or should I want it to change? Can I even embrace that change considering I’ve been thinking about this idea for over a year now? Furthermore, what if I don’t get along with my cohort? What if it becomes painfully clear I was not ready for an MFA program just yet? What if, what if, what if…

I’d like to believe that these questions aren’t necessarily doubt but I don’t know what exactly to call it. I’m not doubting myself as much as I’m trying to figure out all the possibilities of this new point in my life. I don’t particularly like going into a situation without knowing all the outcomes but the unfortunate truth is that I just do not know what is going to happen. I want to think that this past month of questioning is me preparing myself for the next two years of my life. What I’m starting to think is that the realities of heading to this thing I’ve wanted for several years now is quickly approaching and while exciting it’s also nerve-wracking.

Three months out from starting my MFA program and I’m not writing. Hopefully by the time this is published my thinking will be less about what is to come and more on something that will get my fingers moving across the keyboard. Because three months of not writing feels like one of those questions, the not ready to be here one, come true.

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