Thursday, December 12, 2013

Post-Semester Post: Fall 2013

I. Am. Done. Actually, it felt like I was done as soon as the final week came. But I soldiered on. And now, today, I can say I am done! I have finished all my work. I have handed in my mater's thesis. I feel like celebrating. Of course, there's still much work to do. A chapbook to publish. A novella, as well. Some stories. And a new novel to write. I'm studying for the GRE Subject Test. I need to apply to get my PhD. I need to apply for a teaching job. A lot of stuff. But I must celebrate. Somehow. Don't know yet.

Fiction Workshop

I submitted a version of my story "Imitating Life," which actually needs more work than I'd hoped. It's a story about my particular alienation as a light-skinned Hispanic estranged from his Hispanic culture. I also submitted two experimental pieces: "Island" and "Chosen," one about science and the other about religion, respectively. They're short, so I did them together. The feedback is always awesome and overwhelming. There's so much to fix that I question whether I can do it. But I've learned not to worry about perfection. I CAN NEVER MAKE A PERFECT STORY! This should be the mantra of every writer. Stop trying to write perfection. Do your best. Rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Take your time. But I don't think a story is ever "finished"; it's let go, and you move on, as in life.

Past, Present, and Future

A very cool class focusing on how time is used in narrative. We've read a couple of SF pieces and everyone wrote their own SF piece. Really, just great stuff. I'm stunned at how many good writers there are at CCNY - and really, by extension, there must be in the world. I submitted an excerpt from my new novel (an introductory story and three chapters), nicknamed Alternatives, inspired by I, Robot in a sense. People really liked it and I'm very hopeful about where I can take it. Out of all my attempts at writing a novel, this one has come along the easiest and most natural, #WriterGrowth. I'm guarding details about it, obviously, sorry.

Thesis

So my thesis is a combination of my novella (the third draft), codename Notorious, and the excerpt of my new novel, nicknamed Alternatives. Altogether it's about 115 pages or so. Both things I wrote entirely within those two years at City. And they would not have been possible without everything that I've learned. It might sound cheesy, but the MFA experience has taught me a lot about writing - I've really grown and matured as a writer. I've learned why I write. My stories, all my stories now, mean something special to me. And as far as craft is concerned, while there is always room for improvement, I feel like, just by looking at my writing at the beginning of the semester, I've improved immensely.



Now, I'm on my own, as it must be for my kind, the writer specimen. Everything I write is primarily for me. I hope you enjoy it, but I'm very selfish. Life is short. I write what I like and feel I should write, and I hope you take something away from my experience/philosophy written into narrative. But if you don't, and I know I did my best and that it means a lot to me, well, then I don't care. This is, I think, how we should live regarding what others think of us. When we write or experience life, we explore ourselves, and there is no end to that journey but death. So we must endeavor to honesty explore ourselves (whatever your method) along the journey because "the unexamined life is not worth living."

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