Thursday, December 11, 2008

Icy Tidbits

I'm a wimp. I totally bowed out of driving in ice for the first time today, which was probably a smart decision. I'll get my chance tomorrow when I have to head to work at 8am.

Today was my final day of grammar class and I totally skipped it. My friend graciously dropped off my final paper to my professor. There was no way I was going into campus today with this crappy weather. My only regret is that I missed a fun holiday party for work. Sadness. My dad says that I'll have to learn to drive on the ice on my own, since it was my choice to move up here. I find this ironic for unspecified reasons--maybe I'll explain one day. Maybe in a memoir.

I've been struck by this ominous feeling that I'm going to get into trouble on the roads; a morose feeling that I'm going to kick the ice bucket this winter. I know. I know. It doesn't help that my mom decided to tell me at Thanksgiving that New Hampshire has the smallest crime rate, but the deadliest black ice problem. And it didn't help when the people I stay with mentioned that their driveway is a bitch to get out of (there's a slight slope--I'm positive that I'm going to come careening down it one day and hit their parked boat). Ice is worse that snow, they say. Oh well, Dad's right--I wanted this, I'm gonna deal with it.

[Side note: Ever seen the movie Shallow Hal... nice idea, but a complete fairy tale.]

Anyway, I thought that I should try to blog a summary of semester number one. Here's what I learned:
  • I mentally shut down at the word "psychology" when used in regard to characters in my stories. Never ask me "What's the psychology of your character Tanya?" If you do, I'll likely curl up into a small ball and whimper until the bad word goes away. I remember the first time it was uttered by my workshop professor; I recoiled to the inner me, all trembly and weak feeling. I didn't realize that we'd be talking stories on such a deep level. He probably said psychology about 20 times that first class--along with explaining his desire that we find the "you in you". Double whammy. That first workshop class (and most of the others) left me completely confused. What in the hell was happening here? These workshops weren't going to be about story structure and sentence critiques? It took a few classes before my friend looked at me and said "you really don't like that word do you?" I didn't realize that "psychology" was making me freak out in class. Anyway, overall the workshop experience was tiring. I'm looking forward to next semester so that I can compare my workshop experiences with a new professor.

  • I worked WAY too much this semester to really apply myself in the classroom. I worked three jobs for about 30-35 hours a week and took three classes. I completely stretched myself thin. I'll do better next semester when I become a "list" girl and get my crap together. Time management, that's what it's about.

  • We UNH MFAers like to socialize. Since school started I don't think there's been a single weekend (with the exception of holiday weekends when I went to see my sister) that I wasn't doing something with someone from the program. Tomorrow night is our end of the semester "dance" party. People really do dance. I watch by the outdoor fire. There may be no fire if it's icy tomorrow night.
  • Grammar is not fun. Well, it would be fun without the tedious assignments and projects that grad students really don't have the time for in the end. I half-assed that class--I hope to make a B (maybe he'll be nice and give me an A after that horrendous class on Black English Vernacular).
  • I need more space.

I registered for classes for next semester: Workshop, Memoir Workshop and Fiction Form & Technique. I suppose after next semester I could possibly quit the program and only be out $17K. That proably won't happen. I actually may only have to be here for two years instead of three--they're making some changes to the program (chopping off one workshop requirement). I'm looking forward to next semester, but I know it's going to be packed with reading and writing. I might try packing up my TV and movies to keep myself from being destracted (haha, that's not happening). Next semester is going to be about focusing and reclaiming my passion for writing--passion that is slipping, likely because I'm so damn tired all the time.

I'm determined to not allow workshop to suck my soul out for another semester.

1 comment:

Eileen Wiedbrauk said...

Driving tip: The best break is taking your foot off the gas.

When things look funky ahead just take your foot off the gas, let the car start to slow down, assess the situation and if you need to brake then you're already decelerating and you've given yourself more time to come to a full stop.

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