Good afternoon, everyone! I hope everyone in the US is enjoying Labor Day weekend, and that you all are staying well. 🙂
Ivan and I often joke that we post less than 10% of our lives online, both for our own privacy and for the sake of those around us, and this has proved especially true in 2021. That being said, I’m excited to share some news I’d planned to post earlier this summer but have delayed given a variety of reasons, including appendicitis.
For better or worse, I try to avoid discussing a project until I’ve finished it. My MFA in creative writing is 4 ½ years long, which is why I don’t usually mention it on the blog. Although this is still my modus operandi, I wanted to pause and give a brief update since I’m at a point in my degree that’s relevant to you all. 🙂
Just to review, I’m working on an MFA in creative writing. Although “MFA” stands for “Master of Fine Arts” it’s the writer’s equivalent of a doctorate, and I’ll be qualified to teach at a university after I graduate. (As a point of reference, the average master’s degree is 36-45 units long, Ivan’s doctorate is 60 units, and my MFA is 90 units.) The main reason my degree isn’t called a doctorate – at least according to what I’ve been told – is that there’s no foreign language requirement.
The other difference between an MFA and a traditional doctorate is the dissertation. Instead of writing an academic dissertation in order to graduate, an MFA candidate has to write a publishable fiction or nonfiction manuscript as their thesis. One of the reasons I went back to school was that I wanted to write a book about how God’s worked in our lives through the accident, but also I wanted to have the technical training to do it well. It’s hard to believe I’m ready to start working on my thesis! Reaching this stage is also exciting since I’ll have intensive faculty oversight and feedback while writing.
But navigating faculty oversight may also become more complex as the manuscript develops. While I’m grateful to study at an amazing school like SCAD, I’m also cognizant that the Christian message I’ll be weaving throughout my manuscript falls outside what the school typically endorses.
I began sketching some opening chapters in July, but I’ve spent the majority of my summer praying for wisdom about what and how to write. While some of my content will come from this blog, much of it will not: my goal is to show Ivan and me in weak moments as well as strong ones since God’s power is perfected in our weakness. Content aside, I’ll also keep seeking wisdom about how to integrate instructor feedback with Christian values. God’s given me amazing faculty who continue to push my technical growth, but I’ve also used “technique” to justify cutting or softening overtly spiritual content in my past artistic work.
My hope is that with continued practice and plenty of prayer, I’ll be able tell our story in a way that honors God and my instructors at the same time.
I’ll keep you posted as we get closer to January 2023…And yes, it does take that long to draft a book.