First things first: obligatory Mushu gif, because it’s been so freaking long.
Okay, now that that Very Important Business is out of the way, let’s catch up on everything that’s happened in the last year. Or rather the one Really Big Thing and main reason my poor blog has been so completely neglected, plus the other Really Big But Not Quite As Big Thing that y’all are really here for.
After a three-year hiatus from which I wasn’t sure I would ever return, I went back to college. Switched from a too-large university that still pisses me off for a whole variety of reasons to a small Catholic university at which I felt unbelievably at home. I switched majors, too, from education to English. I cried when I got my acceptance letter, I cried when I got my financial aid letter and realized (slightly) more than half my tuition was covered by scholarships and grants rather than loans. Getting money as a returning student, at twenty-seven, was so much easier than getting money as a traditional student that I was a little offended on behalf of my younger self.
During that first visit with a guidance counselor, I realized that, even with the change in major, I only had 36 credit hours left to graduation.
“So theoretically,” I said, “I could graduate in a year.”
She was doubtful. “If you really want to. But you’d have to take 18 credit hours per semester.”
So I signed up for six classes in fall and six classes in spring. Which I absolutely never could’ve pulled off in my early twenties, when I was working as many hours as humanly possible while going to school and I was in a bad relationship and I despised myself while also being in extreme denial about my general life situation and I had panic attacks more or less constantly.
But it turns out that post-divorce, older me could totally handle it. In fact, crushed it. In fact, gloried in it.
Six classes a semester? No fucking problem.
All As, bitches. Ten years in and out of school, loads of stress over fewer and less intense courses, multiple schools and general life stress, and I graduated summa cum laude. And I graduated. I g r a d u a t e d. I GRADUATED.
English major no longer. Now I have an English degree.
The Chosen Grandma Novel
AS YOU MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN because it’s been so damn long since I bothered updating my blog, last May I was getting ready for the Lighting Round of a Last Man Standing contest. The other contestants and I battled it out until there were only two of us left.
(The event coordinator was stunned/horrified that we kept going even as the weekly word counts mounted to eight and twelve thousand words. She was sure she’d pressure two people out lickety-split and be able to declare a winner.)
The last week, we both wrote over 20,000 words, we both finished our first drafts, and the event coordinator gave up and declared us joint winners. SUCCESS.
A month after that, I took my 160,000-WORD BEHEMOTH OF A FIRST DRAFT to a writing conference, by which I mean I took a pitch for my ridiculous nonsense to a writing conference and pitched two agents. They both requested partials, once revisions are done and I have a (significantly shorter) final draft, so that’s what I’m working towards now.
I would’ve liked to have sent them partials this summer, but with school…nah. I managed to keep up on my revision schedule during fall semester – I completed a second draft between September and November, after a much-needed break, a first draft read-through, and several weeks of planning. But during spring semester I ended up with even less free time than before: I managed to complete a read-through of my second draft, but it took virtually the whole semester.
Luckily, I was waiting on almost equally busy beta readers to give me feedback. So it’s not like I would’ve gotten far with planning or writing anyway.
At any rate, I’m finally revising again – although it’s like pulling teeth after so many months away from this story and fiction writing in general. For example, I could be revising my first chapter right now. Instead I’m writing this blog post.
Poetry Writing Month 2019
As in recent years, and despite my utter lack of time, I dedicated April to writing four poems instead of the official National Poetry Writing Month goal of thirty.
I’m calling this year an unqualified success. Even though I actually only completed two poems to my own satisfaction, not four. But I did write more than four poems if you count all the angst-ridden drafts I wrote the last Monday of April, plus the less angsty but also objectively worse drafts I wrote the Monday prior and never revisted.
(Monday nights were the three hours I allotted myself each week to work on things other than homework, because Monday nights I had burgers with friends.)
More than that, though, I had ideas for more poems (all of which are written down), which is more than I can say for last year’s NaPo. And I wrote two poems in May, plus revised one of the angsty ones I wrote the last Monday in April until it approached more or less what I wanted it to be. And I have ideas for more poems. What.
Basically, I feel super amazing about poetry writing right now (even though whenever I actually write a poem I’m super insecure about it until people give me All the Validation), which is cool since I feel super out-of-the-game with fiction. I need to have my shit together in at least one form at a time, right?
That’s all for now, folks! I’ll try to get back to posting once or twice a week, but *gestures at the many, many posts featuring your favorite pint-sized animated dragon* we’ll see how it goes.
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