Monday, March 5, 2012

Exhaustion Report

I haven't posted in over 3 months because I've been working diligently on my MFA thesis. At CCA we turn in our theses to a 3 member faculty committee and then we meet with that committee 2 times to discuss our projects. I've met once so far with my committee (Dodie Bellamy, Donna de la Perriere, Shanthi Sekaran) and it went wonderfully. I had been extremely nervous prior to the meeting but once we all sat down my nervousness went away, and Dodie, Donna, and Shanthi all had really helpful suggestions, and even boosted my confidence. Later, I met one-on-one with Dodie and she took me to dinner, and even though the restaurant had some sort of gas stove malfunction, the dinner was tasty and of course, Dodie offered invaluable comments on my writing.

Since I'm winding down my time as a graduate student at CCA I thought I would express some sense of how lucky I feel to have met the teachers and peers who have made my last 2 years amazingly productive. Just today I met with my mentor Miranda Mellis. We had coffee at Mission Pie. Had I already eaten lunch I might have ordered banana cream pie for dessert! But just a mocha was good. I had never heard of Miranda before coming to CCA; I had never heard of Dodie either, but now I can't imagine my time here without them. I don't think I would have developed how I have had I not been lucky enough to take their classes and be their "mentee". And even better they actually enjoy working with me! What a love letter this is turning out to be. But, it's not just Dodie and Miranda. I've met some really great peers and collaborators. I feel certain some of these people will remain in my life for some time. I feel certain I will work and write with these people in the future. Naturally, some people I will never see again and that's probably not a bad thing.

So I wonder what will we all do when we graduate. Right now I don't know. Certainly, there is no doubt that I will continue writing with the hopes of being published. I think just two years ago there could have been some doubt about that. I wasn't a committed writer. Now, I am. Wouldn't it be great to make living doing it? Or teaching it? Or somehow being involved in the publishing process? Do my peers feel the same? I haven't asked them so I don't know. Do some leave graduate school with an MFA and then never publish anything for the rest of their lives? Is that possible?

While I was on BART this afternoon, I imagined a scene. A fellow passenger would ask me what I did, and I would respond, "I'm a writer." I imagined society's response to that. Or its many responses. How does the rest of the world view what we do? I'm assuming there are no 'non-writers' who read my blog so they might not be able to tell me. Is there some statistic on what people think of writers? And not just economics. Judging how writers are paid, I can guess what people think of them. But, there should be a more emotional view too. Shouldn't there?

I would like to create something beautiful and good. I think I can do that by writing.

A few years ago I read the unabridged edition of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The last 200-300 pages were exquisitely difficult. The emotional power of the story made it impossible not to cry. I loved the characters and their struggle. I don't think I've ever been so involved in a story. I look to those final pages as the prime example of what I want to do not only for others but for myself. I would like to have that feeling again. Even if I have to create it. I would like to create something beautiful and good. This seems like the ideal outcome.