I'm done with all of my classes--gasp. It seems like this program flew for me, and I suppose in retrospect it really did. The first year was incredibly difficult; started things out on a sour note (first workshop) got a little bit better toward the end, won and award that felt more political then deserving (recently had a friend say "yeah, a lot of us were like, huh?, when awards were announced." Shit thing to say, but I'm not stupid, I saw what was happening last year), and spent the first summer reading YA novels and trying to regroup after a rough year. This past year has been great for me. Everyone says that my writing has improved, which it has. Still, early comments about me "rocking" made me second guess everything that was said the first year. The worst thing for me was the placating, the tender "let's not scar her for life" comments that beat around the bush and weren't straight up. I am a better writer when people are honest with me and maybe tear me down a little. It would have been great to hear one of my peers say "step it up." Sure it would have hurt in the beginning, but I would have pushed myself even harder. Anyway, this year's been great and I'm feeling more comfortable like I'm my old self again. Writing is coming easier, when it comes at all, and I'm grateful for that. [Image from here.]
I rounded out the year with a great final workshop and just won a second award from my department, this time the contest was judged by an outside person: the fiction editor at Crazy Horse. So, I definitely feel like I deserve it--or at least there are fewer doubts. Unless there was some back handed stuff going on. Who knows. The same three people (including an undergrad) who won awards last year won them this year, so I'm sure there was some bitterness floating around. I feel great about the award, but it's difficult when you've sense that some of your "friends" think that you're less than deserving. That sucks. It really sucks actually. My friend J made a good point when she said that all of us (all the people I came into the program with) are going to eventually be competing with one another for publication in journals, teaching positions, etc., and that we may lose friendships because of it. I'm not that type of person--I feel genuine happiness for people who receive things that I don't (with the exception of financial aid decisions when I felt a little bitter myself toward a good friend, but it was more about me feeling not good enough than she receiving funding). It's just difficult when said people receive tons of awards/recognition and when I win something there's a sense of disappointment (that they didn't win) and the question "really?" Oh well... all I can hope is that this time around things were legit. I'm not going to let doubt creep in. Begone, evil one.
Let's see... yeah, I have a draft of my thesis due October 15, a final draft sometime in November, and then a defense in December. Then I'll be done, done, done. I'm currently looking for full time work in a writing/editing heavy position. I'm in a wedding in July (about to start crash dieting cause I'm worried that the dress won't zip up, gasp), maybe some more vacation in August, and then maybe my life will start anew. Time will tell. Let me just say that it's SO nice to be done. I'm not sad about not being in classes anymore--not yet anyway. Maybe it will hit me later--or maybe I really am done, mentally and spiritually.