Hello, Wolf Pack

Well hullo there. Long time no speak!

Have I been busy? You betcha. In the two months (!!) since my last post, I have written shamefully little new material (unless you count a dozen false starts on a story), revised even less, and generally just kept myself occupied with household chores. And, oh yes … acceptances.

The final MFA tally this year? I applied to 18 schools (19, if you count Syracuse, which simply “reactivated” my app from last year), and got three acceptances and two waitlists. I was accepted at UC Davis’s MA program back in early February, and had a good month or so to mull that one over and get accustomed the notion that I’d be moving back to Northern California. Then everything happened at once.

Among the incoming rejections, I was waitlisted at North Carolina State University and at Portland State University. Then I got into the University of San Francisco. And got off the waitlist at NC State. I extended my Davis visit to include USF, and while on campus in San Francisco I found out I had gotten into SFSU. The latter was an odd and alarming acceptance however, since I had been admitted to their MA program and not the MFA program I had applied to (if I was going to attend any MA program, it’d be at Davis).

I won’t go into details about my visit to USF—the folks there were kind but it just wasn’t a good fit for me, a sense that became more evident when contrasted with the next school I saw. I had a wonderful tour of UC Davis at their Recruitment Day, and visited a lot of friends and family. I came home pretty jazzed about their program, but also knowing that NC State had the better funding package. And frankly, my intuition told me it may be a better fit—to say nothing of the fact that it was a full-fledged MFA program, as opposed to a full-fledged but non-terminal MA degree. So I came home from Northern California with a big question mark hanging over my head, and three days later Angie and I flew to North Carolina. We visited with friends in Greensboro and celebrated my birthday, then headed on to Raleigh.

It was a terrific whirlwind, and I was sold on the program after my first meeting with Profs. Barnhardt and Kessel. They took me to lunch and started asking me about what I was working on. I told them about the novel I wanted to write, and they began animatedly discussing it, and asking me questions that in no time struck at the heart of what I’d been wrestling with for years. Later I sat in on a workshop. The students at UC Davis—both current and incoming—had all been so wonderful, it was a high bar to clear. But the community of fictioneers I met there were witty, passionate, kind, and engaged. And none were so experimental or out there that I wasn’t able to understand and approach their work. We went for drinks later, students and faculty alike, and I found the thrust of my questions veering toward the housing market.

The next morning, as Angie and I packed up to head out to the coast—ahem: down to the shore—I got a call from Barndhardt, angling to close the deal. I couldn’t resist. I had already discussed it with Angie and told her that I was “97 or 98 percent sure I’d accept” the offer to go to NCSU. The remaining 2-3 percent? Purely psychological. I had a hard time just going with my gut and committing. After two years of applying to programs and getting ready for this, after a lifetime of opening doors and keeping my options open, the moment came when I had to make a decision and close a bunch of doors. I told Barnhardt yes.

So it’s with great gratitude and elation that I report to you that I will now be part of the Wolf Pack, a member of the Class of 2014 at NCSU Graduate School, a candidate for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.We’re moving to Raleigh!

At the end of it, I’ll have a semi-finished draft of a novel that I intend to publish and sell and make you all buy and read.

Cheers.

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  1. Your prospects as a novelist are formidable because even the nonfiction of your blog posting made me cry.

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