All posts tagged: doubt

No Writing, All Questions

Image: Matt Roberts I haven’t written anything in a month. There hasn’t been a story or a poem, an outline or sketch, hell, I haven’t even written down any ideas on scrap pieces of paper. I’ve started and stopped this multiple times this past month trying to figure out what I’d like my last post to be about. I think you can tell from the writing it is not the best. I’ve got nothing. I imagine part of it is needing a break after finishing my last semester in college and then spending a week and a half dealing with graduation and all its many activities. Most people I know shut their brains off for a little after the end of a semester. But a month feels too long, like I’m getting complacent with my writing when, three months before entering an MFA program, I should be doing the exact opposite. This time of not writing has allowed me to think. In the midst of trying to find housing and a clinic near me who …

The MSc and The Expiration Date

Image: Ignacio B. Peña I think it’s safe to say that a large number of people go through their lives and at some point (at many points) stop to ask themselves a very common question: “What the hell am I doing with my life?” It’s a question I find myself asking a lot these days, and I think it’s a fair one to ask. Every graduate student I know made the decision to pursue post-graduate degrees for many different reasons. However, pursuing a masters or a PhD is a big decision, and it’s not one that should be made lightly. It’s expensive and, if you’re disrupting a career like I am, it’s potentially life-changing. While my situation may perhaps speak more to the prospective grad student leaving a career behind as opposed to the fresh-faced 21 year-old transitioning from their undergrad, the questions are still the same. What is it exactly that you want to do? Why? I know that there exists the “career academic.” I don’t feel I can adequately speak for someone who …

Haters Gonna Hate

Image: Victoria Nevland I have a lot of regrets when it comes to my MFA application process – I shot too high, didn’t save enough money, changed that one word. Another big regret is all the fucks I gave about everyone else. What bothers me now is that I’m still not done giving fucks. Post-submission, I got sucked into the vortex of MFA Draft and GradCafe. Together, they make quite the cocktail – equal parts doubt, paranoia, and panic. As people began receiving decisions from schools I was still waiting to hear back from, I heard that voice, I don’t know what you were thinking, Lauren.  I mean, did you honestly expect this to work out? And instead of flipping the bird to that voice, I surrendered to it. * I didn’t write post-submission. I was so afraid that I opted not to take any workshops my first semester. Despite the fact that I had actually been accepted to an MFA program, I couldn’t let myself get too comfortable. They were bound to recognize their mistake, and I …

Lydia Mulligan Introduction (Eastern Washington University ’17)

Image: Carolyn Jewel I fell in love with writing at a young age. I read voraciously in the crook of this one plum tree in our backyard. We all climbed it, but I owned it. It was my special reading nook. I walked through the stacks of the library in my hometown and felt the spines of the plastic coated books as I walked past. I fell in and out of writing throughout grade school and eventually went to college to get my writing degree (after cycling through about ten other degree choices…I’m a bad decision maker). I wrote for and edited the school literary journal, I took every creative writing class that was offered; I was in plays and musicals, all in an effort to find myself. Little did I know that wanting to find yourself is a key component to becoming an essayist. My friend Miranda and I were taking a class on the Bronte sisters. It was our last seminar class for the English literature major. Up until that point I had …

Dealing with Doubt

Image: Romain Toornier  My first day of classes is in twenty-three days and all I can think about is not going. I have this vision of raising my hand after attendance is taken and saying, “Excuse me, Professor, you didn’t call my name.” He’ll scan the list one more time, shake his head, and tell me to go to the main office down the hall, on the right. I’ll slide my notebook back into my bag and try not to focus on those watching me leave the classroom. I’ll explain my situation to a woman behind the front desk, and wait anxiously as she types away on her keyboard. And then I’ll see it—the “oh shit” face – and know something is wrong. She won’t even excuse herself to me—she’ll just speed into the office behind her, point to me, and nod her head. “I’m so sorry, Ms. Sharkey,” she’ll say, “but you’re actually not a student here at Stony Brook Southampton. There was an error and I’m afraid you weren’t actually accepted into the MFA …

Patience & Doubt

This past week, I devoured Eula Biss’ On Immunity: An Inoculation in three quick sittings. The book was a welcome distraction from MFA notification season; but it was also a painful wakeup call, at once inspiring and deeply humbling. “This is the kind of thing I want to create,” I found myself thinking, again and again. Something at once ruthlessly smart and lyrically stunning, navigating the space between fact and subjective experience, between motherhood and vampires and modern medicine and the nation at large, with a deftness that took my breath away. Biss’ words remind me why I wanted to write creative nonfiction in the first place. But they also remind me how long it’s been since I last flew through a book like this; of how lazy I’ve become as a deep reader, as an active researcher, in the nearly eight years since my undergraduate career. They remind me that I aspire to write sharp, intricate, resounding work—and yet have not come anywhere close to doing what it takes to get there. The stark …