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Almost done!

One final at 11:00, and then I'm done for the 2013-2014 school year.

How sweet. How delectable. How absolutely wonderful. Just an hour and a half of pure agony left and then I can truly feel free.

Almost everyone I know will have graduated from the program by the end of the 2014 fall semester. It will just be me and one other fellow whom I just met this spring, the both of us working on a thesis in the spring of 2015 if things go as planned. Which they may not.

However, I'm not thinking about this. I'm thinking about painting--well, technically drawing, then painting. Working on some house projects. Writing on long neglected projects.

For the summer I have a reading list to help me figure out where I need to go to get this thesis started. I have something very specific in mind. I don't know if I can learn what I need to learn by reading, but maybe I can. Combine it with a course on sentence construction that I desperately want to take and we might have a little something cooking.

Sometime, I have to face the fact that I have comps to take. And that will be a massive undertaking on my part, as I am definitely not as well read as I need to be. But I’m not going to worry about that this summer, even though I should. I want total freedom to do as I please.

This year I had to take classes outside of workshop, as you do for any degree, and I just really hated it. That’s honest. It was interesting stuff, but not interesting enough to justify the hours spent in memorizing facts for tests and writing papers that I just don’t care about. Chalk it up to my age and the fact I’m not like the rest of these kids, hoping to make some kind of living out of it through teaching. I have a delicate balance to maintain between developing my style and running my life—all which trumps jumping through hoops as proof I’ve learned something.

In writing there is only so much you can teach, the rest is developing and polishing up what you’ve got.


Another semester of school.

I'm cleaning up the studio in expectation of doing a lot of writing in the next four months. I'm also relocating the books that I think I'll need to the most access to closer to my desk. This is a very different sort of refocusing than I was doing last semester, in preparation for the GA. I've gotten back into the routine of keeping house even.

My experience as a GA taught me many, many things. I'm very grateful for the experience. But now I have to get serious about this writing business. I've not written this sort of work in a year, and I'm not sure where it is going to go yet. One of the major issues is the fact that I am just not a short story writer. I'm just not. I have been collecting ideas for this type of work though. I even had a really interesting dream a couple of nights ago that might be something I can work with. Maybe.

The big problem I see coming up shortly is that this is a shared workshop class with undergrads. They are just coming off a previous writing class. Meaning they are still hot and in the zone. And what I hate about this idea is that I'm a grad student and should be able to really write some nice work--but it's been a long time. It's matter of pride, don't you see? I also feel like it ham strings me from being able to experiment--though, experimenting always turns out badly in this particular circumstance. Unless I can write like George Saunders I need to give it up right now and just stick to what is acceptable. Even if it's not commerically viable or what I do naturally.

But I know from art school exactly how this works. I'm still learning. I'm still growing. It's a painful course of action, but it ought to be worth something. However, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that thesis scares me a little. If I could just be myself this would all go so much easier.

Just a week left and I'm out!

Oh joy! School is almost over!

I do wish I had some good plans for the holiday break. Meaning, plans to get something done. In some very real ways this entire semester was a complete waste on that front. I learned some interesting things, but nothing outside of fulfilling requirements for a career path I'm not interested in following.

I do often tell myself that I have nothing better to do--but that's not exactly true. Actually, I have many other things languishing for lack of a little attention. It's my indecision that needs some straightening out, not my agenda.

Next semester promises to be hellish, but on the other hand, a couple of those classes ought to be important ones. Worth taking.

I am really looking forward to being done completely though. And depending on my temperament at the end of Spring, I may totally decide I'm ready to take another direction completely. I do think I am going to spend a whole month in Florida. It does nothing for my work, but the change of scenery is good.

I do have a right to be concerned--time is fleeting.  I won't be able to paint forever. Or hang out with my kids. Soon enough some of my choices with start to close in a forever kind of way. It makes taking classes I could care less about seem stupid. It makes this entire idea seem stupid--because I could find the answers I'm looking for in other ways, you know. Workshops. Targeted online courses. And still be at home.

Something to think about.

Months later...

Things are certainly different. I'm extremely busy. For better or worse? I can't say and I also think that depends upon the criteria. One thing is for sure though, I'm going to be hard pressed to get anything done outside of work and school, and yet I still think that I might try. Nothing impossibly ambitious as nanowrimo, although if the writing center asks, I'll reactivate my account for this year and friend them.

Writing letters is quite the challenge too. I've become so frazzled and presssed for time that I find it difficult to proof read as well as I normally do. So we'll see. It will make for an interesting experiment.

Cleaning out the Studio.

In an effort to get ready for the hurried scenario fall is likely to bring, I've been trying to reorganize and centralize things I know we'll need. Things that have to have a consistent home.

The front room of this house has been many things, but for at least five years it has centered on the kids and their homework. This year I have all three in school. Luckily, I have three chairs for their table. But also lots of toys. So I'm trying to change things around.

I am cleaning out the big toys, putting in book shelves for all that read and respond stuff, and emptying a book case that has books no one has read in ten years or more, and putting in school and art supplies. Scissors and glue and glitter and paint. It’s right next to the printer and the pencil sharpener. Seems like a good spot. A work room/ entryway--a place to put away coats and backpacks and then later do homework.

To do this though, I am moving items from my studio. You might not be able to find a pair of scissors or double-sided tape any other place in the house. It feels like a risk-- to me anyway. I need to do some house cleaning in here and now seems a decent time, if a chaotic time. I just hope that once I get everything down there it doesn’t disappear. Not put back. Carried off. There’s a work table--seems reasonable to think the equipment would stay there. But life is rarely reasonable. Let’s hope for the best.

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Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not the sitter.
Oscar Wilde