who the heck knows anything, anyway

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

a moment of confidence, however brief

An hour ago, I almost posted a (jokingly*) bitter statement on Twitter about my resentment of peers who have more than 35 pages of their thesis written. Not done, but written. Well, done, too. I have 32 pages written. Every term, I have re-written the novel that is now my thesis project. Every time, I end the semester with about 70 pages of work--so I know I am technically capable of doing it. It helps that I am the kind of person who does not miss deadlines. However, I am also a person who writes very slowly, and who started over again during her thesis semester, changing the setting of the story from town to city, and changing the POV characters from one woman and three men to three women (two WOC) and (currently) no men. So, big changes. Good changes. Heck, probably GREAT changes. But I'm still about 40 pages short of a thesis that is due, in its revised entirety, in two months. So, yeah, I was going to swear at my friends who are basically done.

As everybody who has ever spoken to me for 2 seconds (or read this blog pretty much ever) knows, I have complicated feelings about myself and writing. I have always felt like I just fell into it, that my participation in the culture was not an act of love, but a natural go-with-the-flow type action resulting from my basic skillset. In recent years, I have struggled with the idea that maybe I was meant for art school, maybe I was meant for beauty school, maybe I was meant for neurology or paleontology or even rocket science. But the last couple of weeks, I've felt pretty at home in this. I listen to podcasts about writing/reading (Book Fight, usually) and I nod my head knowingly and laugh at the jokes. I get feedback from my advisor that is overwhelming in what it demands from me, and I am glad to work hard for someone who both mentors me and treats me like a peer. I don't know, it's strange, but maybe I sort of feel like I do belong here. Like I am in the right place. And that doesn't make the work any easier, but it does make it feel like less of a competition. Yes, I am nervous about my page count, but the 32 pages I do have? They're pretty damn good. And, yes, I am absolutely stressed to high heaven about meeting all the grad school deadlines, about coming up with a graduate presentation that doesn't suck, about residency housing logistics, about finishing school and being on my own again, but I finally, finally feel (this week, at least) like I am not a fake. The Book Fight boys went to Iowa, but I know if you put me in a room with them, I'd fit right in. I'm done feeling like a failure or the kid the Ivy League didn't want.

My thesis is coming along slowly, but it's going to be a hit. I can feel it.

*I love the people in my program so damn much.