Three more days until the first term of grad school ends. The turkey’s defrosting in the fridge; I have a grocery list of Thanksgiving items to buy. The kids have dog-eared the Mindware and Target toy catalogs, Christmas dreams starting to occupy their thoughts. I’m always amazed how quickly time passes.
About a year ago, I was in a creative slump. I hadn’t written seriously in several years, nor had I met local writers since moving to Florida (but I hadn’t made much effort seeking them out). In an attempt to revive my writing habit, I applied to the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop and set aside each Wednesday to write.
Fast forward to June. I attended the Kenyon program, which was an intense week of generating new work, both in class and outside, and having this work critiqued by the instructor. I was exhausted upon returning home, but the experience rekindled my creative fire–I wanted more. Fourteen years after graduating college, I started researching low-residency Creative Writing master programs. I was excited that Antioch University Midwest had such a program; I talked to the enrollment manager, program advisor and one of the deans. I applied and was accepted.
Suddenly, I was sitting in a classroom again during my first three-day residency in mid-September. Energy flowed. Students from all over the country were coming together to begin their master programs in creative writing, social sciences, teaching, and several self-designed programs. After years of seeing myself as “just” a mom and wife, I was exhilarated to finally be doing something for myself, to be engaged in a learning community once more.
And now it’s the end of November. I’ve written several short stories, experimented with poetry and personal essay. Read Didion and Ondaatje, O’Connor and Orwell. I learned how to write an annotated bibliography, interviewed a poet, blogged, and started planning my first individualized course. Locally, I started volunteering at a community writers’ workshop and in my daughter’s classroom on the day they work on writing. I’m exhausted. But still elated.