This morning a friend called to see how I was doing. “How’s the MFA going?” she asked.
I laughed and said, “Well, I’m so punchy from writing and researching that last night it took me three tries to put on my facial lotion–first I picked up the toothpaste, then the sunscreen, and finally on the third try, picked up the jar of nighttime face cream. Then this morning I emptied my cats’ water bowl and left it in the drying rack. The cat sitting by the food mat reminded me to refill it, as he was obviously thirsty. Oh, yesterday I was so punchy I walked into a wall. And this morning I realized I ordered the same book twice from Amazon.”
“Oh no, are you regretting that you signed up for the program?” my friend asked.
“Heck, no!” I said. “I’m loving every minute of it!”
And that’s how it is, really. I don’t know if I’ve ever been this busy in my entire life, or put out so much mental energy. Maybe I did in college, but that was a long time ago, when I had a few thousand or million more brain cells. As soon as one project is done, there’s another waiting. It’s kind of like the Russian front during WWII. You know how the Russian soldiers just kept going up against the Germans, and if the soldier in front of them dropped, they picked up his weapon and kept moving forward. This has that same never-ending feel to it. But without guns. And nobody fires anything at you. And there’s no death or destruction. Maybe that wasn’t the best analogy…
There are times when I can’t sleep at night because my mind won’t shut down. I feel guilty if I take a full day off (oh wait, I haven’t done that yet. Never mind). And there is an ever-growing pile of picture books, research materials and three laptops in my living room that seem to have taken up permanent residence.
Yet, I love it. I cannot think of a single thing I’d want to be done differently. I love that my advisor pushes me to try new things and see things in a different light. I love reading and critiquing the work of my four other classmates and receiving their feedback on my own work (they’re brilliant) . I love the support the students and faculty give each other. I love the critical aspect of the program (I never dreamed I’d actually enjoy writing critical essays–who knew?). I love trying new forms of writing, like the biography I’m working on right now.
Yes, life is good in the VCFA MFA program.
Even if I do fall asleep on my keyboard sometimes.