Grad School

Hello, Internet, today is Monday, September 11th, and I have just officially survived my first week of GRAD SCHOOL.

What’s that, Internet? I never told you about Grad School? Um… yeah, I’m going to grad school. MA English with a Creative Thesis at Memorial. It’s a two year program and I started last Tuesday. (Or, I went to “orientation” last Tuesday… and then my classes were on Thursday.)

So, grad school is a thing I never thought I would do. In fact, when a guy I used to “date” (that is not the right word for what we were up to, but you get it) in 2008 told me, as though he knew me better than I knew myself, that I would go back to school, I told him flat out that he was wrong, and how dare he, and then I left his apartment in a huff. (Hm. Looking back, that story had far more to do with being a terrible relationship situation and less about my scholastic ambitions, doesn’t it? ANYWAY)

Even as I was putting in applications and applying for funding, it was never academia that was drawing me back. It was the thought – the very idea – of having something stable and creatively fulfilling to sustain me while I continue on this ill-advised, craggy and unpredictable road as an artist. I was missing writing. I was failing to work on my writing projects, because I just… didn’t get to it. I am in my 30’s now, and I am less willing to work 14 hours/day than I once was. And, furthermore, writing is HARD and if I was waiting for my “spare time” to do it, I would work for 10-12 hours on stuff and then I would have no energy left to do something as difficult as writing. As certain avid readers of this blog have noticed *coughMOMcoughcough* I have not been keeping up with updates. And updating a blog takes, honestly, about 1/3 the energy and time that writing something creative that is coming out of research or out of my imagination or out of anything other than my immediate, already-known, personal experience, takes. So, if I couldn’t update the blog, you might extrapolate that I couldn’t get any writing done at all.

While this is not totally true, the only real progress I was making was on the play that I worked on as a participant in the Arts & Culture Centre Playwrights’ Unit (which, I notice as I forge this hyperlink, I literally did not blog about ONCE, sorry Internet) because, while I did not have funding, I did have DEADLINES. Deadlines issued by people who are not myself. Real, honest to goodness, someone-is-waiting-for-my-work deadlines. Like I have in the rest of my life. And so, while it was a bit of a struggle, work got done. (News on the play, too: there will be a public reading on October 2nd! Hurray!)

So. Grad school. The point of grad school was twofold:

1) Get some funding so that I could drop some non-creative work. Specifically, funding for the stage of writing that is essentially just throwing ideas at a blank page and seeing if they stick. And I was lucky enough to be accepted into the degree program of my choice WITH FUNDING so that I am being paid to work. Not a lot, but some money. So, success!

2) Get myself some deadlines. Imposed and checked on by other people. People who are not me, who would look at me sorrowfully if I turn up on deadline day without my work done. Who might forgive me, but I would have to ask for an extension and I would have to make excuses and generally the only real excuse I have for not getting my work done is being generally over-committed, so… yeah. That would make me an unhappy Sharon. Let’s just meet the deadlines, shall we?

So far? Well, despite the fact that I spent 6 of the past 7 days in rehearsal for transVersing, where I am assistant director but also, in the absence of a stage manager, doing all the stage management stuff (sidenote: Actual Stage Managers Of The World… you are all wizards and I appreciate you so much!), I have written about 1700 words of fiction, maybe another 500 words of reaction to text I am reading, and Oh Look! This Blog Entry since Thursday. And that doesn’t even count the project description I just drafted for a grant application because (shocker) there is a deadline and people are waiting for my work.

So, so far, so good. Go Grad School! One week down, 101 weeks to go.

Coming up in the next couple of months is some real, dedicated, putting-my-head-down-and-getting-it-done. I am one with my office. I will write first, and do the rest of the things after. That will be the order of priorities. Potentially, in that order, I can get all the things done.

To be continued!