Ending The Suspense

Yes, I did pass my thesis defense with flying colors yesterday. I found it very much to be like what one graduate that I had finally been able to pin down about the process, at least at the W, said it was–it was a workshopping of my thesis with me as the only student with a group of professors that wanted me to succeed.

We discussed my process for writing, the effect the narrative had on the reader because of the choices I had made, what to alter or change that would keep the reader in the flow of the narrative, my purpose in writing the entire work and whether or not I had achieved it, etc. We were there about an hour and ten minutes–I didn’t notice we had taken so long. Some comments of note–my program director said it had powerful narrative arcs throughout. One of my committee members who is a novelist said I had done something she didn’t think she could do–make ordinary everyday incidents compelling.

They started discussing publishing houses to pitch to, edits to make or publication, going far afield from the thesis as it currently existed. I was super pleased with everything they said because even their suggestions for change were well-reasoned and argued. So I am looking forward to spending more time with it this summer and making those revisions and changes so I can maybe start looking for an agent this fall. Then start on something else.

I got some wonderful questions and comments at the reading itself, and on Facebook, one of the other students who read before me was talking about starting thesis next semester and gave me a shoutout as some one who had been a lot of support and an inspiration to them in their writing. I was so very moved by that. So a wonderful time was had by all.


Only One Up

So far I am the only one awake. I went to bed on time and Bob stayed awake forever. I don’t know if it’s his anxiety or what that kept him up all night. I plan to ask him once he gets up this morning. My youngest is still asleep as well. No problem. I only have two errands to do today–Get linen cotton paper for my signature pages and get a mani-pedi. Bob says he will go to get his car this morning, so we will see about that.

I don’t think we have plans as a family this morning so I shouldn’t have any trouble getting those errands run. Then after tomorrow, I have to send off to get the copies printed and mail one to Mike. I hope it surprises him enormously and makes him happy.

I feel better today. Probably because it doesn’t feel like I have a lot of pressure on me to produce since it is the weekend. I am really hoping the defense goes smoothly and I get a lot of feedback out of it. I already know where some cuts will be made–I’ve found some places where I am still in my “advice” mode that I missed in the last revision. And I think I’ve figured out what part I’m going to read–the whole Hurricane Katrina chapter and part of the Amy chapter if I have time. We will see about that. I will practice at some point today. I know I’ve got some typos they will tell me to correct.

But on the whole I’m not afraid of how I will do. I think I have a solid craft foundation, a solid purpose for having written the work, and some strong narrative arcs–being broke in the American South during that time, being a smart girl in an environment that didn’t respect that, and being bipolar when no one knew it. The bipolar is the main thing, and the others are subplots. But I think the defense and the reading will come off well. I’ll have my cheering section and will be content with that.

So I think I heard Bob stirring around to wake up. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend. I got the shot–so should you! Godspeed.

Today’s The Day

I have my thesis director’s blessing to the final bits of my thesis, and I’m going to send it out to my committee today! It would be due April 28, but I emailed everyone on my committee and asked if it would be okay to turn it in early and explained everything that would be going on that week. Mary replied and said it was fine, and so did my director. I haven’t heard from the final one, but I’ll send it on to him as well and let him go ahead and be looking at it. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY me!

I really have God to thank for getting me through this far. I’ve had three hospitalizations since I started my degree, and I have been treated with nothing but the utmost courtesy by every faculty member in the department. I’ve been given favor in everyone’s eyes in evaluating my work and making it better, and I hope I have provided the same favor to everyone whose work I read. I hope some of the friendships I have made stand the test of time. I feel like I’ve been going to school forever and will really miss it when I’m done. No more assignments or reading to fill my days. I will try to catch up on my pleasure reading while I’m relaxing in the bathtub. I will stick with the blog. I will maybe do more with MCIR. I know I will stay busy either way.

I feel a real peace that all I have left is defending and getting copies printed. It is well with my soul.

Well, It’s All Fixed. . .

I finally got the numbering problem fixed in my thesis and barring any edits that Ellen Ann wants on the front and back matter, my thesis is DONE. DONE DONE DONE DONE. I want to go out and do something special for myself but I’m not sure what. I will have the rest of the week to think about that before my oldest gets home.

So now time to start thinking about the next MSS. I started reading it last night and found some parts where I could just lift tiny essays right out of what I had written. Other ones I will have to construct a bit for context and such. But all in all. I think it will be a worthwhile project too. I plan to start on it once I graduate and start shopping the other one around. It’s odd to think of working on another project, I have been at this one for so long. At least I have some sample essays already written up that I can send to an agent to generate interest while they are shopping the other one. I also have the sample essays from Rollerskating Over Forty, so I feel good about that, too. Maybe I can swing my dream deal. We will see.

All I know to do for myself is go ahead and get started with all the spare time I have. Ellen Ann sent me a sample book proposal and I could probably do that once I make the edits that my committee wants this summer. So that is kind of what I am looking at.

SO I am going to go and see if I can do laundry today. I don’t really want to but it needs doing and will do nothing but pile up more and more. Maybe after lunch.

Godspeed, everyone. Stay safe from the virus. Get your shot! Thanks for reading!


I made a mistake about today–my appointment with Tillie is not until next Tuesday on the 16th. I had read the rounded six as a zero. I discovered it once I looked at the appointment card closely, so that was fine. I’ve been reading over my thesis and making little baby revisions here and there–I m still waiting for my edits from last week and about halfway through my process essay. I boiled it down two facts–that I wrote with ease early in my life with a process of picking a topic, researching it, and writing it down. That was it–simple as could be. Then bipolar disorder hit–and I had to relearn all over again how to write with anything resembling rationality or craft. So that was interesting to figure out.

I’ve done really well today–I’m about to get laundry started and continuing to type my process essay, which I turn in today. I have phone calls out to people for my MCIR story ; I haven’t heard from anyone yet. My piece for BPHope came out yesterday, and I have two more assigned from them. I’m just tearing it up. I like that feeling.

I need to finish the process essay while I have it on my mind. Hope everyone is doing well. Stay safe! Get the shot! Godspeed.


I got a message from the bpHope editor–I have another assignment from them for March talking about how my mood changes during this time of the year. So we will see how that goes. Hard to believe it’s February since January was more or less a continuation of 2020 in next-level weirdness.

I have a conference with my thesis director Friday to run down how it’s going. I’ve made some very good changes so far, so this time of review and polishing is not being wasted. I’m just not writing every day on it like I was when I was drafting it. But I applying more time to it than I did at the first of the semester so that is good. I turn in anther batch of pages tomorrow and my research journal (which I still haven’t read any books for). I wish I could get in gear doing that.

My plan is to do another round of editing once my defense is over using their feedback on the MSS. Then I’ll start sending it around to agents and start on the next MSS, which is A Year Without Writing. I say I will start work on that this August after I graduate so I can say I’m an honest-to-God MFA graduate in my query letters. That is the plan so far. We will see.

Well, I think I will start on lunch and laundry. I have had a very slow day of it so far and I think that will continue. Hope everyone is staying safe from the virus. Godspeed.

Sunday Service

Had a wonderful Sunday service today. We saw nine people be baptized, and that was a joyous time as always. Adults down to five-year-olds. Just wonderful.

Today is the last day of the fasting time, and I feel like tomorrow I can start reintroducing music in my life. I’m going to start with gospel music then move to nature music. Then back into instrumental music. I don’t want to listen to words as much as just plain sounds. I want to listen intentionally instead of just music to fill the air. So that will be what I start doing tomorrow.

I did a lot of revision on the end of my thesis yesterday and got the page count back down to 300. So I am going to do a short epilogue to keep the word count under control. So I will go ahead and start work on that while doing the few line edits she is still giving me in a few places. I will continue to work through the other sections as I have them planned.

And I need to start reading the books I don’t have long to do that now–only a month. So sudden. I can’t good off any more. I’ve got to kick it into gear.

My middle one is coming down as we speak to get here so we can take her out to lunch and then go to my youngest’s dance event. So we will have a busy day. I guess I will need to get started on it.

Hope everyone is staying safe from the virus. Godspeed.

Burst of Energy

I went to it on my thesis yesterday–revising the first four essays and chopping one out near the end altogether. It was good work, but just didn’t fit anywhere in the narrative. So far I’ve shopped it down six pages and want to cut seven more. I know there’s places where there’s repetition so I will certainly cut those. My goal is to tighten, sharpen and brighten that entire piece into something you just can’t put down. We will see how that goes.

My middle one is already having to give up her dog. He’s wanting to play so he nips at her, which the last one did too, and it sends her in to a panic attack as if he’d actually bitten her. She said yesterday he was so bad about it and she didn’t know if she could take another day of the behavior. So she took him to a shelter this morning. I so hate it for her; she was looking so forward to having a furbaby,

My oldest one had her first day back at Disney and she was really enjoying it last night. She said some things had changed, but she was altogether looking forward to getting back into the mix of it all. I am so proud of her.

I guess I will go back to serious work. I need to write my research log and talk about how it’s all going so far. You people take care of yourselves. Godspeed.

Thesis Syllabus

SO I drew up my thesis syllabus for the semester. It’s going to be fun! I’m turning in research logs every week as I revise. I have to write a process paper as to how I put it all together, and I have to format it correctly for binding.

I’m going to have four copies bound–two for school, one for me, and another one for Mike BD and send it to him. I caught up with him a long time ago and we’ve been emailing ever since. I think I’m going to dedicate it to him and Thomas Price Caldwell, my other creative writing professor. He was one of the first ones to believe in my work, as was Mike. Dr. Caldwell died a few years ago and I so regret that he’s not alive to see this.

Bob went to work today finally. He says he still doesn’t feel 100% but he felt all right enough to do a desk job, so he is doing that. We’re going to go see my middle daughter this weekend on Saturday and visit, take her out to lunch. I hope it goes well. My oldest should be completing her new level of training for her new location in Disney World this week.

Well, I need to go and see Tillie soon. Hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Be careful out there.