Today I completed my Master’s in Creative Writing: Fiction. It’s been a 26-month journey that I started when I had only one kid and no idea if there would be another. It was the weirdest kind of impulse buy, when your best friend tells you she’s starting an online Master’s program and you should do it too, so you look online and realize it starts in a week and you have to apply now if you’re going to do it, and so you just kind of…do it.
My first class was just a basic English studies class, where our textbook was about grammar and style, and I wrote my final paper on the works of Ira Levin. I took a Literary Theory class that I slogged through, where I had to reread Heart of Darkness (better than I remembered), among other things. I doubled up on several terms, taking two classes at a time: mashing up a Lit class where I had to write papers and an English class where I could write stories.
I took a class on Victorian Literature, which changed my entire perspective on how to write academic papers, thanks to an incredible professor who held us to super high standards and inspired me to try to impress her. That was an exhausting 10 weeks, but in the end I wrote a 15-page paper about Jekyll and Hyde and how it was a commentary by Robert Louis Stevenson on the Victorian perspective on motherhood.
I took a poetry class (where I felt like the only person in the class who had ever studied poetry before…), and I wrote some bad poems. Oh well. I lost a couple days of that class to being in the hospital for a few days when H was born, and honestly the last couple weeks were pretty phoned in, what with having a newborn.
I took a class on Contemporary Publishing, where I learned a lot about the modern world of publishing and all the options that are out there. In the class we created all the little things you need to query out your book to agents or publishers – hopefully setting me up for success in 2017.
For the last few months I’ve been working on my thesis: a collection of short stories taking place in the Bay Area. I would say it’s now 75% of the way ready to start sending out.
Today is the last day of the program, but I turned in my final (final for school, at least) thesis last Sunday. And I turned in my thesis reflection paper last Thursday. So today is officially the last day, but there was no big “Hit send – it’s done now” moment today.
Which is probably indicative of the entire process of writing. You write it, you send it in, and while you’re waiting to hear back, you reread it, and you change some more things. If the internet serves me right, it was Leonardo da Vinci who said “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
The only thing I would change is to replace the word “abandoned” with the word “released.”