Tomorrow is the start of my third week back at UNR and I have to admit to feeling rather overwhelmed. This semester is a kind of crucible for me; I’m taking 10 credits in creative writing and literature to see if I am up to the task of pursuing an MFA (I wrote about this decision before.)
I didn’t get as much writing done this summer as I had expected, life and family have a way of intruding in summertime, a complaint I’ve often heard from other mothers who write. There are too many pleasures in summer: trips to the lake and mountains, hikes, farmers markets, painting the bedroom, reading and napping in the hammock. These activities have a siren-like quality that pulls me away from working seriously on any stories. I know, that’s just an excuse from sitting down at my desk but I’ll argue that we all need that summertime break from work , whether that work is writing or toiling in an office or store. That’s the time to recharge our mental batteries.
Late August rolled around, the start of another school year. I sharpened my pencils, piled up the notebooks, stuffed my computer and textbooks into my backpack, and then I set off on my latest adventures in creative writing.
When I received the required reading lists from my professors, my jaw dropped to the floor. I wanted to hit the pause button—no, I wanted to hit the rewind button and go back to that warm spring day when I blithely registered for three classes. Twenty books to read, thirteen of which are novels of at least 300 pages, in addition to the writing assignments: short stories, fifty new pages of my work in progress to workshop. My heart raced as I read through the syllabi; I was convinced that I’d made the worst mistake.
Now, two weeks later, I’ve recovered my composure and I’ve realized that I can do this. I’ve already finished reading two novels, written one short story and I have fifteen pages of my manuscript ready to workshop in the graduate seminar. Stay tuned to see if I can continue this pace. Go team!