Timing is Everything


Yes I only have one semester left, but I decided to take a semester leave of absence from my MFA program.  Even though I had considered this option pretty much every semester since I started, I managed to eek it out and be okay with what I was producing…until now.

Timing is everything…

The same week I got my acceptance letter into my creative writing program was the same week my husband  “broke up” with me…(now, I put that in quotes because it was really more of a desertion…not a break up.  “Breaking”  denotes an action, whereas this was very clearly a refusal of action…The opposite of love after all is indifference.

At the time I decided to fully fling myself  into the graduate program and just plow through it, believing that it was my only saving grace during a time when staying still was seriously damaging.   I figured the program was exactly what I needed to put distance between a defining break-up (ehh…I’ld rather call  it “the wake up call”) and a new me.

Except studying creative writing is not the same as studying say…. engineering…The personal is very intimately connected to the very act of writing… and tapping into my creativity, though cathartic when feeling blue… did prove to be a bit difficult while bouncing back and forth to family court,  drafting up yet another cover letter to get myself back to work, or following up with my ex-husband to give me a weekly schedule of days/times he could spend with our son…

I am proud to say I no longer provide the services of a doormat secretary and feel pretty confident my son will be fine whether or not his Dad is “busy”

I quickly realized that what I have to learn isn’t only how to balance life with creative writing… which can be a  challenge in its own right, it is more the learning how to move passed  that “wait, why am I sitting on this computer for hours on rare child-free and sunny Saturday when I could be out...?” Taking in the sun on a park bench…

So for a while I tried combining the two… I would take a trusty notepad out to draft scenes on while taking in the sun on a park bench…or would reward myself after devoting several hours on completing a submission with a night out with friends…

Although writing was healing…my .20$ wing night at Cuban Revolution with my gal pals was coming in a close second…

But this semester things have been much different.  I am finally working full time, and time wise  I have found it nearly impossible to devote 5 hour chunks of time on banging out a short story. …and there has been an unfortunate reduction in  20 cent wing consumption as well… which is just bad for moral.

Since I work full time, I don’t see my son all day and the only thing I want to do when I get home is hang out with him. Not my keyboard and that depressing blank white space on my monitor… Besides, after sitting at a desk most of my day, I find it difficult to sit down for more than a half hour at home which any fiction writer will tell you, is not enough.

I am sad to say that this semester I started breaking the cardinal rule of writing:  sit your ass down and write.

Not to mention this is an important semester, one that will set the foundation for the successful completion of my thesis ( a short story collection) and the development of my graduating seminar ( a 45 minute ‘class’ on a fiction writing topic that tickles my fancy)… and I wasn’t getting ANY where…

I realized I was doing myself a disservice by not having enough time or energy to devote to my writing program… and even though it will just be a semester off, it will make a huge difference… to my sleep, my short stories, and my son.

Because after all; timing is everything.


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