As I thought, February was hell, but not entirely for the reasons I had thought it would be. Halfway through February I found out that I didn’t get into the UMass MFA program. I had a bit of an existential crisis for the rest of the month, floundering as I scrapped all the plans I had been making so I could start over. I know, I know: don’t count your chickens before they hatch, but I’m extremely bad about not taking that particular piece of advice to heart. Granted, I never realized just how intensely competitive MFA programs are.
Anyways, I knew I needed to move forward and not wallow in my own tender feelings, but wallowing is so much easier and nicer especially when you have a nice, big cabana bowl full of shredded chicken in your lap. And so, as if fate was here to slap me out of my self-pity, I found myself sitting on the couch stuffing comfort tex-mex into my mouth, half watching some Ancient Aliens-esque show but with werewovles when a man started talking and under his name was that magical word: folklorist. I’ve been in love with folklore since before I can remember. It started with fairy tales and mythology, moved to the constellations and the stories behind the patterns and names of the stars, grew when I discovered the breadth of the Grimm tales, flourished entirely when I learned they weren’t the only ones and that any culture, nearly any topic you can think of, there is folklore running rampant through its roots. When I discovered that term, that you can call yourself in modern times a folklorist, I remember falling in love with the idea. The entire time I working on my Associates, my heart was squarely in folklore.
But I exist in this constant back and forth between writing and studying. So the pendulum swung three years ago and I went back to chasing writing. I can’t really say if the pendulum has swung back now, but I’m starting to warm-up to the idea of both. I’m not entirely sure why, but I really like the idea of graduate school. I like the idea of backing up all my various passions with Masters degrees, if not Phds. Being able to say, “this piece of paper proves I am an expert.” I think wanting to teach writing workshops has something to do with it too. I just really like the idea of having an MFA in writing. At the same time, I understand and fully except that it is possible to be a writer without that coveted piece of paper, but it just sounds so nice. I’m currently in this space of trying to persuade that part of me to compromise. Pursue folklore, become a folklorist, and write. Use that folklore to write, to create. I’m trying to get that pendulum to steady some, maybe stop swinging all together. Maybe try to get these passions to intermingle.
In entirely unrelated news (because I wrote all of that up there around the middle of the month), if you follow me on twitter or instagram then you’ve probably already heard the news, but at the end of the month I placed 2nd in the undergraduate creative writing category at UTSA’s COLFA conference! This is my first recognition of any form that my writing has potential other than someone saying, “yeah, that was fun, good job.” With not getting into UMass, this was a major confirmation for me that I’m going in the right direction even if I don’t get into a MFA program. I’m taking it as the universe saying, “Look what you’re capable of if you just focus and put all your passion towards doing something, damn it.”