process/progress

One of my favorite opening lines of a poem:

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from Dean Young’s collection Beloved Infidel

This morning I woke to a warm spring rain. I hope it’s safe to say that winter is finally behind us. This winter has been a good time, a productive time, and I’m also looking forward to a new season.

In April I will start the final phase of my thesis work, and if things go as planned, I will finish my MFA by the end of May. It seems hard to believe. I’ve had many moments of doubt that I would ever finish, given all the transitions our family has been through over the past five years.

One lesson that life continues to teach me is PROCESS. Bringing our son home, learning each other, attaching, bonding, settling into a new home after a move, building new relationships, and creative work: just a few things that involve a slow, steady, and committed amount of time and attention.

I’m growing to love the writing process and one of the things I’ve valued most about being in school is the way it’s teaching me how to write: the many constructions, deconstructions and re-workings involved in creating a “finished work.” I recently read an article stating that the process of revision is not interior decorating. It’s architecture–building and re-building–the tedious work of renovation. Sometimes the structure collapses on you if it wasn’t strong enough to begin with.

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I started this still-life drawing a few months ago. Perhaps I will finish it this summer after my thesis is completed. Sometimes, though, I find that I like the look of the rough outlines contrasted with the objects that are done. It’s an image of life, is it not? We are all a constant work in progress, like rain that begins all day, like a road that stretches into a distance of blank miles.

What kind of “processes” are you currently immersed in? What is the journey teaching you?

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4 thoughts on “process/progress

  1. I am in the process of making my hobby my profession. Say, what do you think about a master’s in Creative Writing? Do you advocate for it now that you have neared the end? I am pondering my next step.

    Warmly,
    Reagan

  2. Hi Reagan!

    I have loved my MFA program. I have learned SO much. It’s crazy to think about the changes in me as a writer/artist since I began the program. I know I have a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to see the progress I’ve made. I have grown more comfortable in myself as a writer and now I’m just starting to explore the (daunting) world of publishing and potential writing careers. But…without my program I don’t think I would have known where to start! (I had NO literary background. Just a BS in Nursing). If you have any other Q’s feel free to ask or email. I saw your post about young adult fiction–that’s a great genre…I know my program recently added a class specifically for fiction geared towards that age group. You are a great writer and I think you’d do well with or without an MFA, honestly. Just sitting down and doing the work–that’s the hardest part. If you can just sit down and write…send your stories out to journals, etc…keep at it. The rest will follow. Hope this helps 🙂

  3. Lot’s of novel revision lately, and now back to draft 1 on the follow up – the fun part, first drafts 🙂

    And trying very hard (but failing) to learn to spike properly in volleyball!

  4. Libby – Congratulations on finishing your degree along with the other major achievements and demands upon your life. When I think about process/progress, I must remember it doesn’t include easy gimmicks. The only way for me to reach the finish line is to experience each event no matter how large or small. Excellent post.

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