I can see clearly now

Zak Nelson, 10/29/10

Well, I got new glasses. When I was in Oakland for my sister’s wedding a few weeks ago Angie and I stopped by and picked out new frames at Phoenix Optical in Rockridge, my old neighborhood. I went home, got a long-overdue eye exam, and voila! The guy makes the frames himself, just as his mother did before him ā€” this design, with the bamboo temples, was based on one of his mother’s designs, I understand. Maybe a haircut is next.

In other news: took the GRE last week. It doesn’t count much toward MFA admissions, so the amount of stress and preparation surrounding the test is completely out of proportion. Nevertheless, I think I did quite well. Haven’t gotten my essay scores back yet, but my Verbal score was 770, and Quantitative was 690. Not too shabby, eh? Should help me when it comes time to put together aid packages, anyway.

Not trying to go out of my way to toot my own horn (if I don’t do it, who will?), but I also met with one of my three references today ā€” Ryan, one of the people who’ll be writing me a letter of recommendation for grad school ā€” and had a great conversation. He said he thinks I’m one of the best candidates for an MFA that he’s seen come through the Hugo House since he’s been writer-in-residence there. I took it as a compliment. He said, “you’ve got that cue ball lined up nicely,” meaning I’ve done my homework, organized myself, and have a clear shot at my goal. Let’s hope he’s right.

On another note, I’ve had my story The Last Manuscript of Mark Twain critiqued by my workshop with Nancy Kress at Hugo House. Lots of great feedback; there was a lot of consensus on what needed to be done. However, I need to make a decision now about the narrator’s voice that belies a deeper problem with the story’s structure and trajectory. I think rather than make the narrator an adult looking back through the haze of life experience (which would add both unnecessary plot elements and unnecessary pages), I’m going to keep the narration in a young voice, maybe only looking back a year or two. It’ll hopefully accomplish a few things: (1) keep the story uncluttered, (2) keep the immediacy of the language and (3) focus on the decision the narrator has to make, rather than distracting from that core dilemma and putting undue weight on the narrator’s post-story life. When I have it down, I’ll post it here for you to read.

That’s all I got right now. I gotta finish this revision and then go back to City of Destiny. First two apps are due in just over a month.

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