Somehow another month has slipped by. Somehow we’ve slid past the first of the fall/winter holidays and miraculously glossed right past the milestone that signified 2 months until the day of marriage vows. That was yesterday and I’m sure I could do a whole post about all of that, but it’s not what I’m aiming at today. Nope.
Today I’m raising a glass to another semester in my MFA journey being completed successfully (three down and one to go). Two days ago I submitted my final which included a 44 page craft paper, a sampling of 5 final drafts of poems, a summary of my experience throughout the semester with my faculty mentor, a summary of my overall experience, and a bibliography. It only took me a day or so to put that all together because the heavy lifting of writing all the supporting content has been done for a while now.
I still have a bit more to do for my class on campus, but my generative numbers are pretty solid. I submitted 44 new and revised poems to my faculty mentor for review and 18 for my class on campus. Only 6 of those were “crossovers” that we’re submitted to both. Almost all of them have some potential to be something more if I want to put the thought and work I to them.
That’s 62 new poems. Plus the 44 page paper and 7 other reading responses and essays for class. That’s a shit-ton of writing!!
According to my mentor about half of what I’ve submitted to him are candidates for my thesis (as well as candidates for submitting to publication). Now it’s tough to know what all that looks like when you don’t have a crystal ball and also when the work is evolving so rapidly.
In any case, I’m quite proud of some of what I have done and am excited for the next chapter in the story.. my final semester and graduation. My mentor suggested I do a character study of the central figure I’m representing in my body of work, and at first it struck me as an odd thing to do. Who is the character? Well, yours truly. And why would anyone need to do that? I mean, nobody is more of an expert on themselves but themself. Right?
Wrong. When it comes to the speaker of a collection, some things don’t fit. And I think it’s never a bad idea to do more self evaluation and make some choices. Obviously in my lifetime there’s a wealth of writing I could pull from but that would be a holy chaos so it all has to be filtered through a lens.
I learned early on in the program that I didn’t know much about poetry. I only knew what I had picked up a long time ago and most of what I have written in my life shows that. I also tried once or twice to apply what I was learning to revise some of that but found pretty quickly that it would be an exercise in futility.
I decided that the collection of hundreds of poems I wrote previously would stand together as an unaltered record of my life and a measuring stick that shows how far I’ve come. I’m ok with that. I might put some more effort into reorg and cataloging but otherwise it will remain unedited. For most of it I wouldn’t be able to get back into the right headspace anyway. Which is just one of the many things I’ve learned this term.
You have to be able to find your way back to that headspace or very near it to revise a poem. If you cant, something gets lost in continuity and you risk either trying to be about more than one subject or worse, just losing what the poems purpose is completely.
All the things I’m writing about currently are really easy in that way as I’m writing about my current life and all these big changes and all I have to do is wake up in the morning and I’m in that headspace again. It’s a see-saw of confidence and doubt. It’s a merry-go-round of thought, and worry and contentment swings to and fro from day to day.
Like I said, I don’t know what the future of this writing life looks like but I have a hunch that it will be a wild and satisfying ride. For today I just want to revel in my success this term and not worry about what’s next.
Cheers to Today!