First year
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First Month in Review

Image: Heipei

In the Pacific Northwest, we do things little differently. Instead of the semester system that I am used to, we work under the quarter system. We have the year cut into three sections: Fall- Oct-Dec, Winter- Jan-March, and Spring- Apr-June. I am over half way through my first quarter in my MFA. Time is flying, and homework is piling up around me. The quarter system is a bit unforgiving when it comes to homework. I am taking two classes- Nonfiction Form and Theory III- Profiles and Memoir and Nonfiction Workshop. I am also involved in three internships: Willow Springs Magazine (I am a nonfiction reader), Writers in the Community (I work in a high school), and Get Lit! Festival (I am an assistant writer and editor for content.)

So far, I have been almost overwhelmed by the amount of stuff there is to do in the MFA. Not only in terms of class work (though that is challenging), but also internships I can work with, my job, and still sleeping and cleaning my house. In Form and Theory we are reading a book a week. I am in grad school, so I expected this. We are reading through contemporary profiles and memoirs, searching for craft elements we can steal. My favorite has been Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. I’m pretty sure she is actually a genius.

The internships are proving rewarding and fun. I especially love the Get Lit! internship. We work to prepare for the festival in April. It is a week long literary festival that has featured authors like Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, and Sarah Vowell. I also got to volunteer at the first SpoYo or Spokane Youth Book Festival. We had children’s authors come and do workshops, readings, and sign their books for kids all over the community. I really loved that event. I loved getting to see small children engage with literature on such a cool level.

As the quarter winds down, I am reading my last few books, getting my last workshop piece ready, and getting over the flu that has decided to take me down. Let me tell you, getting sick during the middle of the quarter is not a good time. Especially when you have a profile to write, Drinking; a love story to read, workshop pieces to critique, and a job to do. Get your flu shot people. Learn from my mistakes!

Now that I have filled you in on the past month, I am going to take some Dayquil and a nap. I will possibly have some Halloween candy with my workshop pieces. Next month we will talk about some self care techniques for the MFA life. Do you have any self care routines that you work through right now?

Best,

Lydia

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