Maybe 10 Minutes of Blogging Will Do

Today is one of those days I wish I could just sit and write. It’s raining outside. I love rain and treasure it. We’re gonna get rain here in Utah for only another month or so and then we’ll get nothing until September.

The rain we’re getting smells just so good, but all my homework and study needs keeps me from sitting next to a window and writing. I just spent three hours catching up on my French homework (no deadline on this work). I did some financial aid. I did some research for a paper I need to finish outlining by the end of this weekend (I should be okay). I also did some exercise so I can reverse my getting fatter habits.

But I have written anything important all week. I’ve written an essay a day all through spring break, except last night when I got to fight with a backed up toilet for three hours. Essays are nice, but the essays part of my GRE prep regime.

I need to write a poem or outline a short story or brainstorm a novella. Something. Nope. I got reading to do for the rest of the night. I’ve got academics who’ve been dead for decades calling for attention and demanding grey-matter.

I guess I’ll have to put it off some more. I read about some of the complaints people have for MFA student about how they are forced to write. I love the idea. I can’t wait. Before I started school in the fall, I was writing a hiaku or a tanka a day and posting them to twitter. I haven’t done that since August, but in August I had a poetry class to write for. Not this semester. I have a lit class, a rhetoric class, a philosophy class, and two French classes. Nothing that demands creative attention.

I’d love to have an MFA workshop whip snapping behind me. I’d love to sit next to the window and write for me, the cosmos, my grand-kids, God, and maybe no one.

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MFA Search: Week One

For the last week, I’ve been looking twenty universities that I am interested in applying to. After examining the schools for one week, here are the top twelve schools:

  1. University of Wyoming
  2. Vanderbilt University
  3. Oregon State University
  4. Syracuse University
  5. Portland State University
  6. University of Florida
  7. Virginia Tech
  8. University of Virginia
  9. University of Oregon, Eugene
  10. Florida State University
  11. Virginia Commonwealth University
  12. University of South Florida

These are ranked by ease of application & application requirements and what living near campus will be like. I looked at cost of living, funding levels, how much it will cost for me to move there, rent, distances to shopping & the VA, and convenience of social activities I’m interested in (comic book shops and used book shops).

To be honest, this is all easy stuff to look at. I now have to look carefully at the programs, classes offered, faculty publications, campus publications, faculty reputations, alumni publications, and urban data dealing with crime targeting students. This is going to take some time and is honestly the most important aspects of my MFA program search.

Grad School Prep: The Groundwork

After walking a mile after French Conversation 115R class ended, I went to the professional development stacks here in the library and picked up a copy of the GRE prep book by ETS (the dweebs who make the test). 

In the previous sentence, you can see four things that have to do with preparing for grad school: walking, French, professional development, and the GRE. The other things I’m doing is researching the professors who teach at my prospective schools, researching the campus experience at each school for grad students, and also researching the community surrounding the campus I’ll be renting an apartment in.

Walking. I am walking right now as exercise. So far today, I’ve walked 2.2 miles and yesterday, I walked 4.1 miles. I’m averaging 2.8 miles so far this week. I’m trying to get back in shape without killing myself. I have started a small calisthenics program and I walk a bunch, but it isn’t much. Again, I want to get into shape without killing myself. I am slowly improving how much I walk and how much I exercise.

I will be going to grad school for English and while there, I’ll be teaching. Most students are resentful they have to take two sections of beginning English classes after they took all those English classes in high-school (yes, English 101 & 201 are beginning classes, don’t fool yourself). I get it, but I don’t want students to hate English just because I am a fatty. There are loads of other reasons to hate intro English.

French. This one is easy. Many grad schools have a language requirement. I lived in South Korea for eight years, so I can speak a smattering of Korean, but English departments want French, Spanish, or German. It doesn’t matter if I’m fluent in Korean, I still need to study French.

Professional Development. I have worked for two fortune five hundred companies as a manager and know the professional standards those companies require, but do those standards apply to English as an industry? I don’t think so. What are the dress standards? What are the work hours? What types of meetings do grad students go to? How many and what types of committee meetings are there? Other than teaching, is there more management time I will need to spend? There are loads of these kinds of questions.

GRE. Right next to me are three GRE test prep books. I’m going to be flipping through them to get an idea of what the test is like. I already have been preparing for the two essays, but I also need to do well on the rest of the test.

Research. This area is really broad. I set up an excel spreadsheet to track all of the information I’m gathering about the different schools I applying to, the professors who work there, and the communities the schools are in.

Getting Ready for School

So I’m still doing research. I’m supposed to, but I also have to do other things, too. I’m hoping to be able to post comics to the school paper. The kind of comics I’ve been doing for the last six years are political in nature. I really like doing political portraits. I have a problem doing funny comics, because I often don’t feel funny about some of the people I get to draw.

That’s how it is with this subject: Steve Bannon. I find his brand of Steve Bannon #putz alt-right republican political cartoonrepublican politics repugnant. Yes, I think he’s dangerous, but only because he works to force animosity between American’s based on ethnicities. I know other people do it, too, but Bannon is in the news now.

There things I’m doing to get ready for school is write poetry. Not just the easy going haiku I sometimes post here, but form poetry or poetry that is a bit more difficult. I also have been reading poetry and finding prose to re-edit. I haven’t been in school for ten years. I gotta get better at what student’s do.

School at Utah Valley University Starts Monday.

I registered for classes & I’ve been fighting with financial aid at Utah Valley University. School starts Monday. I’m pretty excited a just a little scared. I haven’t been in class for quite some time & from what I’ve been told, the classroom dialectic has changed.

The free & open exchange of ideas is no longer an option. Some speech by some students is not welcome.

I’ve decided if my voice is not welcome in a particular discussion, then I’ll keep it under my hate & dialogue with the teacher through email. I don’t want to cause a fuss & I also don’t want some younger students to feel like I’m the enemy.

Regarding my Boyd K. Packer research, I’m still working a bit every day. I’m slowly proceeding, but eventually, I’ll be able to start publishing papers.

Related to this, I’m going to be doing a load of volunteer hours working for a new on campus religious studies journal that’s yet to be named & I’m going to start working directly with Boyd Peterson, an editor on Dialogue, a Mormon Studies literary journal. I’m pretty stoked.