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CAUGHT IN MY HEAD

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One Year Into Grad School

When I think about the maze I crisscrossed in order to get here, I can almost chuckle. So many unnecessary twists and turns. But I'm here after all.

Yesterday, I attended my very last class of my first year into the Master of Fine Arts program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. In true writerly fashion, we gathered at a deli/cafe for a reading. This class in particular was Travel Writing. Over the semester, we wrote about our experiences with travel, whether that meant a harrowing trip abroad or a walk to the corner store. Ending the class with a reading is always a positive forward stepping motion to close with. We celebrate our work and prepare for the next thing.

For me, this was a perfect class to take this semester because I will be going on a "Field Seminar" with the program to Indonesia in a little over a week. We'll be gone for about 20 days. So, even though the end of my first year feels melancholy, I won't need to be feeling that for very long. There's always something exciting on the horizon. That's what I've grown to love about grad school.

The Julia that walked into the program last August seems so divorced from the Julia now. I took a grand leap into the literary world and have loved it. I'm learning how this community operates and adore the chance to constantly exercise my creativity. I've also been challenged, which I always find difficult at the time, but always see myself grow after. 

Public readings have probably been the hardest. I have anxiety surrounding public speaking. In the past, I avoided it at all costs, but now I'm actively putting myself behind the lectern. If I want to find success as a writer, I need to be able to read my work, so I've been making myself do just that. Every opportunity I get. 

Another change I've seen in myself is sharing my work with people. Before this program, I was so self-conscious about my writing, but now I want as many eyes on my work as possible. That's the only way I'm going to get better. I'm so focused on developing a strong body of work that I have no patience for being self-conscious.

The best part of this first year was finding out that a flash fiction piece of mine is going to be published next month in Rag Queen Periodical. It's the most validating feeling to know that my work is appreciated. It's the sign I needed after all this work, that I'm heading the right direction. Here's to this summer and beyond!

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A note about this blog: It's something I've written on and off since I graduated college in 2013. I originally wanted to solely focus on music which is another passion of mine besides writing. I'm still going to do that. I'm still going to talk about music, but also about my life as a writer. I find those two parts of my life intertwine more than not. So, to start that out. Here's a song I discovered recently that has such beautiful lyrics. The first line: I fell into your eyes with an inky black splash.