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saturday, june 16, 2001

with classes officially over for the summer i can finally catch up (and maybe process) on some of the more recent happenings around here. i actually had stuff through the week to chatter about, but most of it was tiny blurbs, and nearly all of it faded in the face of finals. not all is lost though. i do have cool stuff to report (perhaps in a reverse or even jumbled chronological order)! and now i have time! yes, the quarter is over! and i must say i think i did fairly well. :)

my second "final" involved only dropping of the portfolio of all my class work for my fiction class. really, that was it. but while i was there we talked a bit on masters programs. i have been looking for an online mfa in creative writing for a month or so, which isn't all that easy. there are maybe fifteen or so mfa programs that offer an online option world wide (they are actually called low residency programs). of those i found maybe 5 or 7 in creative writing (most the others were nonfiction or creative nonfiction). 3 of those programs have required residency components in january and june, only 3 have summer only components. of these latter 3, one is in ireland (a wonderful thought but i don't think f.a. covers it) and one is creative nonfiction the last one, however, may indeed work. actually, it fits pretty darn good even if i will be out of my current county for a few weeks. being away from home would be a requirement for any of them, but at least this one includes a campus i wanted to go to after high school (gorgeous campus!). anyway, told him i think i finally found my mfa program. we talked a bit and out of the clear blue sky, and i mean no prompts at all, he tells me to contact him when i am ready to apply and he will write me a letter of recommendation!

this is like...fantastic! mfa programs...any masters program is just incredibly hard to get into. most severely limit the number of students to 12 and require portfolios of your work, letters of recommendation, gre scores, minimum gpa's and so on and ad nauseum. gre's i can do. minimum gpa? already have it. portfolio? nooooooo problem. introduction paper about me, easy. critical essay? easier! this is stuff i can do! recommendations? well, those all come with qualifiers. and in this case, the possible writers of said recommendation are limited down to others in the craft that have worked with me and are familiar with my writing. that's going to be professors who have seen my creative writing. that's maybe, oh, 2 people, 3 tops, none of which i would ask for a recommendation. so him just offering? oh that ROCKS! and knowing that he has been frustrated with some of the idiocy in the class (not reading, not being there for workshops, silly little stuff like that), it is even cooler that he offered. he sees me as a serious candidate for one of these programs. and oh that is sooooooooo cool!

not that i can go into the program any time soon. i have 4 kids to feed. i have to get through my credential program first, get hired on with the district, then get into an mfa program. the credential program will take 18 months to 2 years from what i've seen, and i may need to add a second language to it since i remember my spanish like i remember infancy, which is to say i don't remember it at all. so, i graduate in 2002, the credential program (assuming i get in and all) will take me to 2004, then i should settle in a job somewhere before continuing—or at least get started, i can begin the application process the fall of 2004 but wouldn't be able to actually start until january 2005. some people have told me to take a break for a bit, but i have done that route before and i am not waiting another 10 years. my more recent feeling on education is "get it done", so if i am going to do this i will do it as soon as i possibly can once i am in a teaching position.

you know, many people have that "one" teacher who gives them the boost into their careers, gives them something to hang on to as they grow as the one thing they can do well. i don't recall any teacher having such a positive impact on me as a kid. i was one of those kids who pretty much did pretty good in everything, passed all my classes, wasn't a problem or a hassle, did my work, and so on. as a result, i think for most teachers i just was one of the classroom crowd as a kid.

i think i finally have my teacher. master's programs are incredibly hard to get into. they usually take only a dozen students at a time, so they are highly competitive. to have professor race offer to write me a recommendation really is saying something. my writing has been rated by a "professional", someone who knows publishing, someone who knows writing, even more, someone who is into a writing genre completely different than mine and that person thinks i am good enough and serious enough for an mfa program.


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