Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Question Marks

"You have to go to considerable trouble to live differently from the way the world wants you to live. That's what I've discovered about writing. The world doesn't want you to do a damn thing. If you wait till you got time to write a novel or time to write a story or time to read the hundred thousands of books you should have already read -- if you wait for the time, you'll never do it. Cause there ain't no time; world don't want you to do that. World wants you to go to the zoo and eat cotton candy, preferably seven days a week." 
-- Harry Crews

Nine graduate schools applied to and with nine rejection letters received, the univers(ities) are telling me my plan to go to graduate school in the Fall is not going to happen. I thought losing my job a few days before Christmas was aiding in this next step in my life.  However, as things usually go, I don't get to know as I'm going through it, as I'm applying to jobs and focusing on my workout routine, as I'm wondering why I ever thought being friends with an ex-boyfriend was possible, as I pack up and move yet again, as I begin to research programs in a different field altogether, looking to combine various interests and passions into one, I don't get to know now.  My life has continuously been trying to figure out the answers before the question mark is clear.  Time and time again I am reminded and humbled that I have to live life forward, and only begin to understand bits and pieces of it backwards.  

So, one day at a time, that's what I'm doing. Thinking and ruminating about the why's, the what if's, the how's, it's human and it's necessary to a point, but then comes the time to take action.  And when my thinking is stuck in fear, doubt, indecision, the thing I have learned is to move a muscle, change a thought.  Sometimes it's as simple as doing the laundry or washing the dishes, sometimes it's getting outside to work in the yard or wash my car, other times it's working out, going for a walk or practicing yoga.  The questions doing go away, they just don't scream as loudly, and I'm not trapped by fear or angry at not getting what I want, or what I thought I wanted.  Sometimes, it's allowing myself to let go of what the perpetual 15 year old in me still wants and allowing myself to accept that what I want now is not the same, and being ok with that. 


  1. First, I have that Harry Crews quote taped up above my computer. Absolutely one of my most favorite motivators.

    Here's the other quote I have there, from my thesis adviser Ben Percy, on being rejected as a writer: "You say ten Hail Marys, three fuck-yous, slam a shot of whiskey...and get your ass back in the chair."

    That one has helped me through mountains of job rejections this semester. I'm sorry to hear about your MFA plight--I've been there, too. You're so right to see this as an opportunity to assess what you truly want, from the ground up, with nothing else to cloud your vision.

    And if you do decide to try the MFA route again, provided you're willing to live in Iowa for three years (no easy task) check out Iowa State's program. The concentration is Creative Writing & Environment, and I've always valued how that allowed me to explore all of the other subject areas in which I'm interested besides writing.

    Good luck in charting your new path! Flowers are a great way to start.

  2. Ha I love that Percy quote, thanks for sharing! I'll add an extra 'fuck you' instead of the shot though. I missed Iowa's deadline this year, so as long as they don't require the GRE, I will look into it. I'm not taking that test again. It's a part of the scheme and big business of higher education that I just really don't want to contribute to. We'll see what happens... :o)