Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Remember that post a while back about feeling overwhelmed in regard to school and how unprepared I feel? Well, that consuming feeling returned with a vengeance today and it has yet to die hard. It probably won't go away until I'm in class, surrounded by all of the people that I'm going to work with in the next three years. Then I'll see if I'm in over my head or if there are a few people on the DL (in regard to reading) like me.

I'm falling back into "should" thinking. I should be this, I should be that, I should read this, I should read that. I want to throw up my hands and say "screw this", but I can't because that would be taking the easy road. This new chapter of my life is going to be about taking the hard road and I must preserver. And while my current plan is to reconnect with old classics that I read but didn't read in high school, a part of me wonders if I'm in a way selling out to the type of writing that really makes me happy just to save face or to be the proper MFA student. I feel like you should be at a certain level (in both reading and writing) when you apply and are accepted to an MFA program and currently I am below average. I don't like being below average. It's likely that I'm putting too much pressure on myself, because that's how I roll, but still, it's overwhelming.

So, to feel better about things, I went shopping and bought some shoes (black flats for work) and a book by Paulo Coelho called The Devil and Miss Prym. The summary looks pretty interesting. Maybe I'll read this tonight and attempt to feel like I'm reading something of substance. That or I'll crack open Francine Prose's book Reading Like a Writer or another book that I bought before moving called How to Read Novels Like a Professor by Thomas Foster. Maybe a little studying before classes start might help me feel less paranoid and will help me fake it 'til I make it.

I thought maybe this funky, overwhelming feeling was due to today's horoscopes, but nope. One (my Chinese Rooster horoscope) talked about my new B&N job: Financial good news does bring some challenges, like changes to schedules [for example, I can no longer stay up until 2am watching Olympics and sleep until 10:30 or 11 am] and additional workloads that have to be juggled [work - sleep - work -sleep]. If you accept some additional responsibilities and a leadership role, you could find yourself bringing home a lot more bacon [hmmm promoted to assistant manager after day one perhaps? It could happen.]. And my astronomical Virgo horoscope just talked about jumping on rare opportunities when offered. The Virgo horoscope ended with a sentence that I do hope to be truly prophetic: "You are an investment that can turn a handsome profit as you mature."

God willing. But does mature mean 27 years old (as I will be in a month exactly) or 67 years old?


Margosita said...

Over the summer one of my professors told us that we should be reading at least 30-40 books a year (on top of literary journals, magazines, etc...) It freaked me out, since I do not read that much. But talking with other students and I realized, no one really read that much. We all WANT to (and maybe you do!) but life can get in the way. We are not yet paid to write (and read) the way he is. The more helpful bit of advice he gave was that we should all read promiscuously. We should read the classics, the stuff with good reputations and we should ALSO read books that aren't in the genre we write and books other people turn down their noses at. Because a good writer learns from everything. So you get credit for everything, even the books you hate and even the books other people hate.

Also, I'm beginning to suspect that there is no real "average" MFA student. As another professor assured us during orientation, they spend a lot of time with our applications and if we're in, that means we belong. Have some faith that your professors know what they're doing, even if you're too nervous to have faith in yourself.

angie said...

In the words of the great George Michael (and margosita).....

'Cause I gotta have faith...
Mmm, I gotta have faith
'Cause I gotta have faith, faith,
Mm 'cause I gotta have faith-a-faith-a-faith.

You know you love George ;-)
Tanya, you are so smart, so bright and talented, believe in yourself, what you can accomplish.... I think if you have a little faith in yourself, everything is gonna be all right.

Eileen Wiedbrauk, aka "Speak Coffee" said...

Meh. Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. (and that would be Dr. Seuss taking credit for that little nugget of wisdom)

First off, as margosita said, you never know what is in the program until you're there. Secondly, if you find your tastes run a differently than others in your workshops consider those tastes as bringing diversity to the workshop -- what good would workshop do anyone if you all thought alike and wrote alike and read alike? Thirdly (and last), own it. Say what you think and feel in workshop but do it in a way that is tactful and polite, and presents you as someone ready to learn ... I find that if I act in that manner I can get away with almost anything in workshop.

... man I hope all this holds true for me in two weeks! lol!


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