I have spent the last several weeks digging through all of my blog posts and college notebooks. There is a broken external hard-drive somewhere and some missing floppy discs that probably hold other forgotten treasures too. I have decided to apply to grad school to earn an MFA in Creative Writing, Non-Fiction. It has been a tedious, self-esteem defeating process trying to gather enough portfolio worthy work. The biggest road block right now is starting my personal statement.
A few months ago when I announced to my family and closest friends my plan, I was full of enthusiasm and pride for all of the work I have already written. However, the longer I sift and suffer through reading entry after entry, the more I feel like I have hardly written anything. There is an undercurrent of fear tainting my productivity too. The fear of failing, the fear of not being able to afford it, the fear of becoming a burden to my family, or worse, the fear of missing out on something important that is family related.
But, the biggest fear of all is waking up twenty years from now and everything about my personal journey being exactly the same as it is today. I am actually more afraid of everything staying the same than I am of change itself.
I feel like I did when I started training for a half marathon. I can picture the finish line but I still can’t picture all the steps leading up to receiving the reward. The process feels massive and overwhelming and yet, I can’t think of anything else.
Since I am interested in focusing on creative non-fiction, I will have to apply to a low-residency program. The choices of MFA programs in Michigan were surprisingly limited. The Poets and Writers magazine database was by far my best resource. Most of this afternoon I have been staring at a blank screen and eaten my weight in chocolate peanut butter M&M’s. I can’t get past my extremely humiliating undergraduate GPA. My oldest daughter, The Tortoise, has suggested I use each semester as a road map; a sad tale of a college drop-out who has a baby, gets divorced and then goes back to graduate as a single mom. But it is this GPA that I fear will get my application thrown out before it is even read. (This fear theme is getting exhausting). And what about the rest of the story, the single mom who finds a second chance at love and moves halfway across the country to spend the next 17 years as a stay-at-home mom? Not very compelling.
Personal statement: pick me because I am a hot mess but worth the risk.
Or some version of that, at least