Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I rarely have symbolic dreams. For the most part I dream about boringly literal things off my to-do list like grocery shopping, filing, and doing laundry. Seriously. It’s dull. Every now and then I do get an action hero dream where I’m swimming into some Nazi-occupied cavern Lara Croft style or battling vampires in an old stone castle. Not symbolic, though, just fun. But last night I had a straight out of Freud symbolic dream.

In the dream I was waiting in a fertility clinic with Greg to find out if I was pregnant. At the start of the dream I was hoping I was. One of our friends was there (apparently working) and I said Hi and chatted a bit before I realized that it would be obvious to her why we were there, and that for good or bad we were outing our intentions. Then, I saw a woman struggling to control her child and I thought, wait, have I really thought this through? Suddenly I realized (oh dream self, you should’ve thought of this before) that if I was pregnant I would have to GIVE BIRTH to a baby. Now I was having serious second thoughts. Before I had a chance to do or say anything, the doctor’s door opened, and I woke up.

After I’d gotten over the horror of the whole birth thing (which, I know, is natural, how I got here, etc, but really is kind of barbaric.) I realized with some relief that my dream was probably not about actually being pregnant (although I did have a little tummy bump from some pizza I'd eaten right before bed), but instead was probably more about mfa school, and my mixed emotions on what I’m getting myself into.

Last night I had an off-night in my Grub class. I didn’t feel like I was adding much to the discussion and somehow everything I said just came out wrong. Work-shopping fiction isn’t always a wonderful experience. For every class where I feel on top of my game, it seems there’s always one that leaves me feeling like the slow kid in class. When I miss the intent of a story, or confuse plot points or characters, it’s embarrassing, and I worry that I’m hurting the writer. Every week we read and consider drafts of stories with no background information to tell us what the story is meant to achieve. We read and we provide feedback. While it’s often fun to see these completely fresh works, it’s also a more labor intensive job than reading a published story for pleasure. I spend hours each week reading the stories and writing my comments, but each person in class will only have their work reviewed twice, so if I lack focus one week, that’s 50% of the attention they’ll get from me. I feel bad about that.

On the way home from class I thought about the benefits and costs of this system. In an mfa program there would surely be times I would be exhausted, confused, worn out. It’s not a decision to take lightly. The biggest benefit of the Grub Street classes I’ve been taking, is that they’re giving me a taste of what that life is really like. I’m learning to make time for writing, reviewing, and commenting. I’m tempering my hopes and dreams with some of the frustrations that are inevitable. I’m making this decision with my eyes open.

So what I’m saying is despite the nightmare, I’m still on track to apply this Fall. Next Tuesday I may reconsider the greasy pizza right before bed, though.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

First Post

Well, here we are. Another blog. Is there anything more intimidating than the first few posts of a new blog? I’d rather just continue the old one, nicely padded with a few years of book reviews and pasta recipes. Unfortunately, the old one is also linked up to everyone and anyone I know, the supportive and the judgey alike. And, of course, it contains my famous New Years Anti-Resolutions for 2010: no blogging, no writing classes, no applying for an mfa, no big-ticket purchases, no diet/exercise goals, no savings goals, no travel, no … well everything I’ve been busy with since January 2, basically. Why is the moment I become absolutely sure I don’t want something always immediately followed by the moment that thing becomes my urgent goal? And why do I always think it’s a good idea to announce these things publicly?

So this is the spot I’ll be writing from for a while. For the most part I hope to document the process of applying for an mfa program this fall, but beyond that I’m also working to create a writing life for myself more generally. Given the high probability that I don’t get accepted anywhere, I hope my efforts this year will help me to get in the habit of writing and sharing my work.