So it’s not really “life after MFA” yet. I’m still working through the tail end of it – all I need to do is finish my thesis and I’m set. Easy-peasy. Totally. I’ve got this whole thing in the bag. No big deal.
In truth, the whole thing makes me want to sit down and cry most of the time. I don’t think I’m alone in that, but here’s my reasoning: In December 2009 I will become, for the first time since I was 5 years old, a non-student. This in itself is terrifying (I like school, I’m good at school), but made even moreso by the looming shadowing of my Monster Thesis.
I put it off a semester because I didn’t want to rush my way through my MFA. Why not take time, why not enjoy the experience? Call it avoidance if you want (and you’re not wrong), but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I still think it’s a good idea. Four semesters is a pathetically short amount of time to soak up as much as you can before reconciling yourself to the rest of your solitary writing life.
The thesis, for me personally (and I would hope to all of my classmates), is a Big Fucking Deal. In theory it’s the rough manuscript of my first book. In practice, it’s a culmination of my program. It’s little me standing on a ladder screaming, “This is what I’ve learned! This is what I can do! LOOK LOOK LOOK!”
I don’t want it to suck.
I’m consumed with dread at the thought of how terrible it could end up being. I look back over stories I thought were solid and I want to set them on fire. I want to give up and go home, crying, to my mother and make her tell me that even though I’m a loser who couldn’t get up the courage to finish, she still thinks I’m a star (Moms are great).
Before this semester, I thought about my thesis as a sort of final assignment, not something I could churn out in a weekend but not something that would take over my life. Some writing, some revision, and…done. Out into the world.
I wish I could get back to whatever crack I was smoking when I thought that!