Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Making the Leap

I have entered once again the abyss, and now I'm free-falling, like one of those cave jumpers who dive screaming into the murk until on a whoosh comes a wide, white parachute and a waking dream of the dark and dank and cool.

Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic. All I've done, like so many others, is make the decision to attempt to go back to school. It's a Master of Fine Arts in writing (fiction) I'm trying for, because--at least at this point in time--the MFA is still considered the terminal degree for creative writers who also want to be professors. I actually started the application process in late summer 2008, and then the life-changing happened that Fall (see the photo above). And the graduate school dream was put on indefinite hold while I navigated pregnancy and hormones and the wonders and stresses and waking dream that is new motherhood.

It's not the first time I've done this: I earned a MA in English in 2004, and I've been slaving away at various colleges and community/technical colleges since then, thoroughly enjoying my job but wanting to find something more permanent and, ahem... monetarily feasible. I know I'm not alone here; there are thousands of us--lowly adjuncts--teaching across the country, working for pittance and wondering why we got the advanced degree in the first place. (This could be a whole other blog, and it's been done, so I'm not going there.)

But I'm not one of those people. I earned my Master's degree in English for two reasons: to work towards a terminal degree (I thought at the time, a PhD), and to acquaint (and reacquaint) myself with the great writers, in order to become a better writer. I never regret school; I feel that education is a beauty "worthwhile in itself." But now that I'm starting the process all over again--and with a toddler, husband, and part-time job in tow--and though I know that it's the right and best thing for me, I wonder if I'm not a little nuts?

What am I thinking? I barely have time for myself now, and I have one child. One. My "free" time is not spent writing, but catching up on school work and bills and laundry and all the sundry and annoyingly wonderful things that come with being a wife and mother in the modern word. I poop out, exhausted, at about 10:30 every night. I'm nuts, I know it.

The thing is, I know that I can do this. I can figure out how to earn (another) degree, be a good mama, a loving partner, a healthy person. I'd just like a magic potion. A pill, perhaps (are you listening, Phizer?). I'll make my best go of it. I just wish it were a wee bit--just a wee bit--easier.

Any advice, you writers-with-children? Students-with-children?

Disclaimer: This post was a result of one week of cancelled preschool due to snow, and three days (so far) of delayed preschool. A bomb filled with toys, magazines, stuffed animals and thermal coffee mugs (don't ask) has exploded in my house, and I just let my toddler wade through it at will. I rock.