Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A long-winded explanation of why I am smiling

It's Wednesday, y'all, and I just want to shout, "Yee-Freakin'-Haw!  I finished my last packet of the semester!!!!"  

Wait, you don't know what a packet is, do you? 

You see, I'm a grad student (as well as one each of the following: writing professor (on leave), freelance writer, mom of two crazy kids, wife (I feel like that needs to be said, even if it sounds June Cleaver-ish), and what else, volunteer, oh oh and blogger.).  Most people don't exactly understand my grad program.  Many think it's a joke or a waste of money - friends and family who I love, mind you. But it isn't.  I've learned a great day and formed an amazing writing community of smart, funny, talented writers across the US and across continents.

So, in a nutshell this is what I do:

I study creative writing (in my case, the genre is Creative Nonfiction (or CNF) ) in a low-residency program (and in my case at the amazing Spalding University MFA in Writing Program).  Students in this program come to campus twice a year, in the fall and spring, to workshop their writing with a small group of 5-8 students from around the world, and an excellent published writer as their workshop leader.  This is called a residency.  Each residency lasts for ten days.  We also attend lectures, have special projects to create, have visiting writers, and visit cultural attractions. Then the semester begins.  A regular semester lasts about six months, with a packet of original writing due every four weeks.  Each packet consists of 35-40 pages of original work and critical analyses. 

To make matters more confusing, I have studied abroad with the program twice (once in Buenos Aires and once in Italy) and once at home on the Louisville campus.  Each of MY semesters have been a "stretch," meaning I take a little longer to work on my packets (six weeks instead of four).  During the semester, each student is assigned a mentor from the faculty, with whom we work one-on-one via email and phone calls.  We submit our packets of original writing to this mentor for feedback.  Each semester we write five packets.

I just submitted my fifth packet of my third semester, bitches!  Next semester is my last.  Hard to believe.

In honor of my achievement and of my free block of time to write without deadlines (except for the monthly column I write) until I start prepping for summer semester (in IRELAND!!), I will leave you with a photo of happiness posted on Facebook this morning by Dog Bless You.  (I love their page.  You should go to there.)

I am covered-in-puppies happy