To do’s

The first of November is creeping up and I’m still working on my MLS applications. Yikes!


One set of recommendations (out of three)
One set of transcripts (out of two)
My personal statement

I should get the last set of recs today, and the transcripts today or Monday. If I don’t get them on Monday, I’m following up with the school. My undergrad ones came lickety split. And I’ll work on the personal statement this weekend.

I don’t think I’ve written that I’m taking another memoir class this semester. Better get one in before school starts.

It’s a very different format than my other classes. Usually two or three people workshop per class, having emailed their pieces to everyone beforehand. There’s in-class writing, as well as discussion about books.

In this one, there’s no emailing beforehand. Everyone – all five of us – reads 8 to 10 pages aloud, and then people critique. If you have more pages, people can take your stuff home and give back to you the following week with comments, if they have time. The teacher always takes home and returns with detailed comments the following class.

At first I was wary, but it’s actually been okay. Gives us more time to work on our own stuff. The only problem is that the stuff I’m working on is already pretty polished; it’s more the overall structure of the whole book I’m concerned about, which can’t really be addressed within 10 pages.

Then again, I can work on the structure part on my own, and maybe speak with the teacher off-line, and get my 10-page sections extra polished. Polished doesn’t mean perfect. People always find things that don’t make sense, which is extremely helpful. Or you can say, “Well in an earlier draft, I had this. . .” and people might respond, “Oh you should put that back,” or “Cut this other section.”

I like feedback like that. No pussyfooting. Just, “Cut it.” Awesome.

At first I thought the book would be divided in three parts. Part 1 my marriage, divorce, etc., part 2 China, and part 3 unknown. When I first told the teacher about it, she immediately thought I should intersperse parts 1 and 2 into one book. At first I resisted, but now I think she’s right.

I’m actually excited about the idea. I want to finish the China portion as quickly as possible, then print everything out and look at how I can move the parts around to make a whole, which will show me overlap and gaps.

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