- How quickly time has passed.
- How much writing I've done in the past year and a half.
- How much more writing I will be doing in my final semester.
- How much revision I have to do this summer on my thesis.
- How absolutely this was the best decision I've ever made.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Low-Residency Experience: Writing to the Finish
I have one semester left in my low-residency program at Queen's University of Charlotte. I am overwhelmed by:
The third residency/semester, which began in January for me, pushed my writing. Not only was I submitting new work to our workshop, but I began to seriously revise an old piece or two. Not just glance through, or make some quick changes based on recent critiques, but doing the hard work of taking something apart and putting it back together again. And then, taking it apart. Again. There are still a few pieces left, rolling around on the floor, here - no, there. Can somebody tell me what to do with that chunk of flashback that will not go away?
There's also the reading to keep up with and this May residency, my fourth, included a few books that I could not put down. I think I've mentioned that, at Queens, we're required to read in all genres. I've found I really like the creative non-fiction selections almost as much as fiction. Angelhead by Greg Bottoms and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn (nope - haven't seen the movie) were two of my favorites on the list. I read Angelhead in one night. It was that good. For fiction, the Stories of Breece D'J Pancake by Breece D'J Pancake rocked my world.
Technically, I have the summer off. The first draft of my thesis (a collection of short stories) is due to my advisor in October. A few weeks later, my craft paper will also be due. However, there's that whole job thing. So I plan on spending this summer doing some serious revision on the stories. That break it apart and put it back together kind.
The idea of spending my hard-earned eight week break from the public school system writing...well, this makes me giddy. Seriously.
This plays into the best decision I've made...every instructor I've had at Queens has given invaluable lessons on craft and provided one-on-one, detailed feedback. My fellow graduate students are like family (Cue the violins. Maudlin is what happens the day after you return home from residency.)
In September, I'll go into academic mode and work on the craft paper and plan for my teaching seminar. I'll also submit pieces throughout the semester for workshop. This is why some folks choose to defer their final semester but I'm going for a January graduation.
Both drafts will be turned into my advisors (one for thesis, one for craft) and I'm certain, that by November, I'll take a few things apart. And put them back together again.