Yippeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have finished my third semester at Vermont College of Fine Arts. This one was more challenging than the first two because it was the critical thesis semester. I really got into my topic - the illustrious objective correlative. So much so, I applied higher math to literature. Yes, this is what weeks of researching a topic will do to you, collide the left and right halves of your brain until you're combing math and words. Craziness...it's all part of the graduate school experience.
After I honed an cut, crafted and styled my thesis, I spent the rest of the semester sculpting the beginnings of a new piece. It was all about layering this time around. Coming up with the basic foundation, i.e. character and problem. Layering scene on top of that. Then external plot. Emotional plot. It was like creating a painting very painstakingly from the canvas up, hyperaware of each layer and the role it plays in the final perception of color and composition.
So, all in all, a successful semester. And only one left!
What this graduate experience has thus far taught me is that even if Socrates was a little glib when he said, "I know that I know nothing"...I know that I know nothing. There is so much to learn about any field--any craft--and writing is no exception. I will spend the rest of my life learning about it, glorying and despairing in the nuances of the written word and my ability to use it (hopefully glorying a little more than despairing!).
The critical work has imparted the same lesson it did during my PhD, structure, analysis, description and interpretation. It helps me to be able to organize the parts to story and know how they work together, what tools are available, which one I want to tinker with, and how other writers have done so in the past. I need that kind of direction in my writing.
Next semester it is all creative, all the time. I am curious to see, what I learn then?
I review books that surprise me, jar me, make me think. They are books I've bought, borrowed from the library, or been given as a gift. I do accept ARCs, but will only review a book if it moves me. It's about the writing. If I'm moved, I pass it on in a review.