“Bummer re: (****) but they are highly experimental and maybe not the most natural fit–plus, they’re in flux right now with faculty. I know waiting is kind of a nightmare, but keep the faith. It is all competitive, but you are a very appealing applicant. No need to apologize!! I got my fair share of rejections too–I know how the whole deal works and a lot of it is just not up to you/out of your hands.”
— Aimee Bender, a sweetheart, mentor, and friend.
I’m losing faith slowly, yet I’m still afloat, still standing. After revisiting my sample, I see the many holes and superfluous passages in my stories, and I can only wish this process could be over so I may start again. But, last night’s writing session was better than the other day’s, and tonight’s will be better than yesterday’s. I am determined to write, taking it one step at a time. I’m a writer, despite my weaknesses, flaws, and self-doubt. ❤
Lastly, with the awareness that I may come across as whiny, these past few weeks have been rather difficult. But they have taught me a lot about writing, why I write, why this matters so much to me. One day, I will get where I want to be as a writer. Even when I get there, I’ll still have a long road to continue walking on. As a writer, and as a person, I know I’ll never stop growing. I know there is so much to learn and to say, because we easily forget. There will be so much to read and to digest and to distill and to gain. Though I feel foolish because I applied to schools prematurely, I have learned what the pitfalls are when it comes to this highly subjective application process. The number one sin (at least, one of my sins) was my pride coupled with my fear. I should have had more writers, colleagues who I trusted, look at my writing sample and statement of purpose. But, it’s out of my hands now.
And it’s okay, it’s okay–this is what I have to repeat to myself every 50 seconds. Writing is incredibly subjective, this whole application is incredibly based on taste and fit into a certain program, and at least I know what I did wrong and what I need to do to fix my mistakes. I need to grow more as a writer. I know what I have to critique and to perfect, and I’m entirely grateful because I’m part of a community, part of a family of writers, who won’t let me fail.
Onto good news: I am love with Edwidge Danticat; she is such an idyllic writer (read “Water Child,” “Lélé,” “Create Dangerously,” and anything else of hers.)
Other greater news: I have been graciously offered a scholarship-mentorship program with Kweli Journal and will be working under Laura Pegram for a year. She will help me perfect my craft and my writing, teaching me how to read like a writer and write with intent. I’m so, so excited.
Part of the program is my reading list below. For funsies, I’ll post it here:
1. What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie
2. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
3. Old Boys, Old Girls by Edward P. Jones
4. The Seamstress by Frances De Pontes Peebles (Novel Excerpt)
5. The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse
6. A Temporary Matter by Jhumpa Lahiri
7. The Water Child by Edwidge Danticat
8. The First Day by Edward P. Jones
9. Fat by Raymond Carver
10. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
Au revoir, and I hope your MFA process is going a lot better than mine! ❤