Sunday, January 24, 2010

I’m applying to another MFA program and wonder if I’ve lost my mind.

With all this running and writing, this weekend I found myself browsing schools’ websites I’d applied to in 2005. The first one, St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, was one of the most painful rejections. Painful, in part, because it’s not a well-known program (not like, say, Iowa) and because, while they liked me enough to put me on a waiting list, it turned out to be delaying the inevitable rejection that came a month or so later. So, when I found out their deadline is the 31st of January, a small part of me wondered, what if? 

A funny question, “what if”-- it’s been known to get me into trouble. And this might be the case, because if you haven’t guessed from the title of this post or my incredibly long lead up, yes I’m applying yet again to St. Mary’s College’s MFA program in fiction.  And yet, that question plagues me “what if?” What if I get in? What if I don’t?

I’ve never been so torn about an action of mine before. I know I can handle another rejection. It will probably just fuel my fire and make me do something insane or crazy (run an ultra? write a multi-volume novel? who’s to say?) But what if I make it, this time? 

Though four years is at time a blink of an eye, it is also an amount of time that can change a person’s life in pretty significant ways. I, for one, am not the same person who applied in 2005... not at all. If this blog’s any evidence, I’m fanatical about training. If I’m accepted, could I train there? Would my capacity for running decrease because of the lower altitude? What about my cats? What about Steve? Would I just pick up and leave-- what sort of person would that make me? 

I want to be a successful-- professional-- writer. But for the first time in a long while I’m forced to define what exactly that is. Is Rebecca the writer also Rebecca the solitary? Is the sort of happiness that comes from a relationship, or a community, one that Art (be it the “art” of a perfectly executed race or the other sort of art, painting, writing, theatre, that sort of thing) necessarily excludes? Is there no happiness in trying to be “great”? 

And what if I don’t apply? I’ve thought about that, too. But, I’d like to know in one way or another if I’ve grown enough to “make it.” So, it’s wait and see. I’ll keep you posted.

1 comment:

elaine said...

Yeah, I remember St. Mary's and their rejection letter too. You have so much more experience now, I bet you'll get in. Just remember that you don't need an MFA to be an author... most aren't. You also don't have to be miserable. :) You just need to set aside time for it.