the view from November

m m m m macchiato

Dear neglected, beloved blog,

I’m sorry. I think of you often, I do. Here I am, writing to you from my uber cluttered desk. There are transcripts, and rough drafts, and rougher drafts, and manila envelopes; Paris Review books of interviews, sinus medication, and stamps. This is November as I was sure it would be. Today marks one month until the first of twelve MFA applications are due. Today I retook the GREs (standardized testing be damned), plotted out when to sweetly remind my gracious reccommenders to send their letters, and perused the MFA blog for what I’m sure is the seventy-fifth time. To ground myself, here are a list of some statistics which illustrate this process as it is:

Number of stories edited for writing sample: 2

Number of drafts of stories edited for writing sample: 6, total

Amount of pages spat from my rickety printer: 60+

Average acceptance rate of all twelve programs I’m applying to: 8.416%

Number of freelance pieces I’ve insanely managed to bang out in the midst of all this: 5

Percent of GRE Exam in a Box vocabulary flashcards learned: 82%

Increase in points between the first time I took the GREs and the second time I begrudgingly took the GREs: Verbal: 70+ Quantitative: 0 [even though I didn’t do a lick of math studying the second time around, my score was the same. WTF, testing gods, WTF?]

Total fees for sending GRE scores to schools (with the four score reports included factored in): $140

Number of macchiatos consumed since September: 17 (and counting)

Some current worries of mine (in a non-numerical fashion): I still don’t have a polished second story for non-fiction writing samples, if I decide to follow through and apply in non-fiction to a few schools. Despite some decent prep work, writing a personal statement has been like trying to articulate myself in a language I don’t speak. Furthermore: since this whole process has begun, I’ve slowly tapered off time for writing. Y’know, the whole reason I’m applying to these programs? The discipline and craft I am supposedly so in love with that I’d like to devote the next three years of my life to it’s pursuit?

As much as it is often riddled with fear and self-doubt, I miss those nights when I just banged about at my laptop. When it was just a collection of pages. When I wasn’t feverishly making to-do lists and analyzing over and over and over again what makes me a writer; what makes me want to do this.

I miss writing.

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3 thoughts on “the view from November

  1. question —

    what did Seth Abramson say about Iowa that made you not put them on the list you blogged a few months ago?

    I also take his word as bible, except for like a non-fictional bible.

  2. Ha, funding-guru Seth didn’t say anything either way that made me choose not to apply to Iowa. I guess I decided against it because I already had a few top tier programs that I was feverishly interested in (UT Austin, U of Minnesota, U of Alabama, Syracuse, Hunter College, UNCW, Purdue), and so I needed more of a mix of newer programs and harder-to-get-into places. Meanwhile, every time I say to someone that I’m applying to MFA programs, they pipe up, “Iowa?” Nothing against the program, I’m just putting my eggs in some other baskets.

    • I’m most interested in Iowa and UNCW. I wish I could be more interested in UT A, but the idea of no nonfiction really kills me. Hunter looks good but funding looks bad. Minnesota looks cold. Alabama looks south. See, I’m stubborn. I’ll probably apply to Iowa and UNCW and maybe Arizona and if I don’t get in do something else. Next year. Not this year. Then I’ll have at least a publication under my belt and hopefully two more publications.

      I would tell you you should apply to iowa but the deadline is today. But I spoke for about an hour on the phone to one of their students, one who is on a huge fellowship, and she said nearly every other person in her entering class was straight out of the undergrad — and mostly unpublished. This is the nonfiction writing program, which I assume is altogether less intensely head-and-shoulders-above-the-rest-of-the-country than the IWW is.

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