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Saturday, July 26, 2014

grad school at a glance pt. 2

Grad School at a Glance

Ashland University MFA
Summer 2014
Part 2

July 24th

I'd like to clarify something. Some people are curious and have
asked questions about my family situation. That's fine. But I'd
rather explain once than answer everyone individually.

Joseph and I are a unit of two, but we have much outside help.
When I was looking for an MFA program, I had all our needs in
mind. I did not pick Ashland University lightly. I came here
because I knew it was the best match for all involved.

The MFA is called a low residency program. I'm only on campus
during the two-week summer session. Fall and Spring classes are
conducted over the internet. It is a wonderful set-up for a
single mother. They have students here from all over the nations
-- most who are older or about the same age as me.

Yes, I am living on campus right now. Joseph spent a few days
with my parents. Now he's in Maryland with his father. He would
have gone there anyway for Summer visitation. It works out

I miss Joseph, and I miss my cat. I can't believe it's already
Thursday. It's gone by so fast. I wish I could go home for the
weekend. However, we do have some classes on Saturday and Sunday.
At least it's a lighter load.

It's cold and windy and even colder inside. They really keep the
AC cranked up. I should have brought a jacket and more long
sleeve shirts.

Earlier in the summer, I was horrified to find out, on the day it
was due, that I needed to submit a packet of "un-finished" work.
This is what we discuss for three hours each morning.

I had no idea what to send. I had not written any new poetry for
awhile. I had two types of poetry -- good work and bad. I was
desperate, so I sent in "bad" poems. As we've gone through them
this week, I've discovered they aren't so bad after all. They
just aren't finished. With more revision, they could join the
"done" category. At the same time, I wonder how much of the
finished work could be even better with continued revision. I'm
learning there is a difference between revising and editing.

I need to send my professor another poem for tomorrow. I'm
thinking of using "Wedding Night," (AKA "hairy bags of dough").
Do I dare? Scott will be disappointed to miss that discussion.

July 25

Today was the last morning workshop for session one. On Monday,
I'll be with a different professor and other students for session
two. That one is mixed level with a thesis student, two 2nd year
and two 1st year students. Just as I was getting comfortable,
everything is going to change. (sigh)

Lunch was a perfect meal for me -- grilled cheese, tater tots,
cottage cheese and a rice krispie treat. Dinners aren't so good.
I examined the menu for the rest of the program. The only thing
that sounds good is the fresh fruit bowls. I'll be eating in my
dorm. Next year I'll get a lunch only meal plan.

The afternoon craft seminar on cross-genre was pretty good. I'm
not yet sure if I prefer poetry or prose... Here we got to
explore combining the two areas.

I wasn't an English major in college. It's been over 20 years
since I took general level English classes. I haven't read a
whole lot of poetry. I have no idea what the teachers, and even
the other students, are talking about most of the time. They use
terminology I've never heard of and quote poetry as if it were
Harry Potter. It scares me sometimes.

Today I got my first ever college visit from my parents. They
brought me meds, muffins and a new pair of pants. My mom seemed
to like the apartment. She said I barely have any food. And
that's after you add the groceries I got earlier this week.

Someone from disability services used label tape to put braille
labels all over the apartment. They labeled everything in the
kitchen, plus labels on all the doors, closets and bathrooms. I
would easily be able to identify everything except for one
problem -- the labels keep falling off. Most of the time I find
them stuck to the bottom of my shoes. Yesterday my right foot
said "cook" and my left foot said "bedroom." Maybe I was supposed
to make so heat in the sheets. My life is weird.

My dad found a label on the floor and gave it to me. I told my
mom it said "porch." She got all excited. She loves porches. So
we went out on the porch and sat and talked for awhile. It was

I guess I've got four chairs and a hairy owl out there. At least,
I think it was an owl. It was kind of creepy.

My mother gave me money before she left. I just love that. This
is the college life I missed out on the first time around.

It's Friday and classes are over! I'd be more excited if we
didn't have weekend classes and another week to go. At least the
weekend is a lighter load of seminars.

July 26

We only had two hours of classes today. But for some reason, it
felt like forever. Now I've got 24 hours of freedom. I am going
to take a serious nap and then read some James Patterson. I'll
need to do some email and homework... later.

The good news is that someone is doing my laundry. The bad news
is that I won't get it back until Monday. I'm already out of
pajamas and low on undies. Be thankful you are reading this from

Being in a room full of laughing people and not knowing what's
funny is the loneliest feeling. I can hear everyone laugh in my
classes. But I have to wait a minute for my interpreter to catch
up. Then it just isn't funny.

Two 2nd year students stopped to introduce themselves to me. They
said they've heard wonderful things about my poetry... huh? I
could understand if people are talking about me. It's the whole
"you are so amazing" thing. But my poetry? That can't be right.

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