Archive for August 7th, 2013
Have I told you lately how much I like the Writing Excuses podcast? (I can’t emphasize enough how great it is to queue up an episode and get the perspective of professionals in the industry. If you are new to the ‘cast, it’s worth the time and effort to go through the site and download past seasons.)
Disclaimer. I have all of the episodes on various electronic devices, so it’s possible to select specific episodes.
What I’m talking about here, though, is how the recent episodes themselves have happened to coincide with specific issues that I’ve got going on in my WIP. (Since the beginning of July, for example: Episodes 8.27, part of 8.29 [as mentioned before], 8.30 and 8.31.)
I think this just goes to prove that working on a project makes you more open to hearing things… or advice doesn’t “click” until you’re in a trench and can see how it can fix a problem at hand.
There’s this place called Scotland, where can be found a school called the University of Glasgow. Those that have been around a while may remember this… (for those chosing not to following the link: I was accepted to their PhD program for Creative Writing).
Since the admission came late last year (in May), we had opted to defer for a year to see if we could arrange funds. After several scholarship applications, the only source of funding that was still standing was Federal Loans (see my thoughts there in the linked post).
Here’s the irony: the only thing that didn’t work out was the money (isn’t that always the way?). I had applied for, and been awarded, to one of the ultra-rare Family Flats as the Student Apartments [ETA, 11a: go here for some other pictures]. I had the acceptance. I was advised of a hiccup related to the deferment [needing to be reassigned to new supervisors], and received this from the current Director of the program: “Your application is strong, writing is compelling, and your acceptance stands.”
From the time I received my acceptance, I had been looking forward to the adventure. It had been an assumed thing by several of our friends – questions like “When do you leave?” “How long will you be over there?” and “When can we come visit?” were common.
Monday, I sent the emails officially withdrawing from the school. It was something I had been delaying as long as I could, but with Fresher’s Week and Matriculation now only about a month away, I couldn’t see the point in waiting much longer.
Am I completely giving up on Scotland at this point?
Not hardly. First, I will be channeling my focus on just the MFA program at this point, with the intention of having my novel’s first draft done in the next couple of months, then wading hip-deep into edits before the end of the year. For those that have played in Academia, for most of the past year I’ve been mentally juggling if I could do both the MFA and PhD programs concurrently (at least, the year and a half overlap). I know, right?
Second, the Plan B that was discussed in the beginning was that we would plan a trip over at some point after finishing said MFA program.
Third, and this is the dicey one: I’m not opposed to applying again. I had to develop a research proposal as part of the application, and while I have been rethinking a lot of what I included in the proposal (specific angles to explore), the core is still something I want to address. Also, the creative component is still a story that I want to tell, and I’ve been tinkering with it, exploring it and world-building, for most of the last year. As a story, it’s on the radar as one that I am considering tackling after I finish (or while revising) the novel for my MFA program.
I’m not saying “never,” just “not right now.”
I would like to take a moment to express my thanks to the professors that wrote letters on my behalf, for both admissions and scholarships (Dr. C. W. Sullivan III, Luke Whisnant, Alex Albright and Dr. Will Banks). Dr. Birgid Jensen for her help with my Fulbright application. Drs. Will Napier (Glasgow Alum), and Elizabeth K. Reeder (Director of the Program), for their candor in conversations about the program. Dr. Grahm Guest (a student at the time I applied, who has since been awarded his PhD), for fielding questions about the application process. Charlie Stross, for a brief conversation at Boskone in 2012 about general life in Scotland and things to consider before moving over. Danielle Houston, the regional International Officer. And, perhaps most imprtant of all, Susan Howell, the Admissions contact that I have been in touch with for the past 18 months, for fielding the variety of random questions in that time.