Saturday, April 2, 2011

Time on my Hands

How often do I say that? Not much, I know. But here I am, with a series of circumstances which have left me with gaps in my schedule.

I know. Don't get me started. What I'm calling "gaps" in my schedule may not even be considered "time off" for other people. But today I do have the whole day off. No work (the job I had canceled, billing done, emails responded to, no prep work to do, no play to translate or practice). No teaching (scheduling, grading, reviewing, contacting mentors or students - it's all done - waiting for replies). And with the canceled ongoing assignment, I have more time. Yes, I will have to pick up some other jobs to fill in that gap - but it will be fine. Those assignments will trickle in as I need them to (thinking positively here).

So I'm writing more. As I've already said here. I'm actually writing a lot. (And, see, I'm posting more. This was part of my commitment to myself - to post at least four times a week, with a secret hope of nearly daily.)

And - you know what else I found myself doing this morning? Sitting here with my coffee (which is contradictive with the arnica I took; I'll have to take more in an hour or so) and my cottage cheese with kale and blueberries, ice on my achey ankle and foot raised - online, looking around at Masters and PhD degrees in creative writing, creativity, and MFAs. Again. I revisit them now and then. See what's new. If any of them look better than they did last time. What's close to home. Who is offering what for distance degrees/low residency options. And they're looking better. I wonder about those with graduate teaching assistance - maybe, that could be fun or could be H E double-toothpicks; it would certainly be a time consumer, as I know very well. Distance/low res options cut out the time and place requirements, but tend to be more expensive and don't have grad teaching financial help (but they could! I know they could! I've been a mentor and instructor in distance programs and I could do it for an MFA). Today I saw one, more local (and I forgot to check if it's at the local campus or only on the main campus) where a bulk of the classes are workshop. I love that idea!

Simultaneously I am thinking: what AM I thinking? How could I do this? Am I simply uncomfortable with time off or is having some time off from so many obligations giving me time to think about what I do want?

Would a Masters degree in writing or creativity or even the coveted MFA really make a difference? Further my goals as a writer? Or simply prolong or derail them? I've toyed with the idea of a PhD - with all the credits I have an my experience, there used to be a program that I could wrap up the Masters requirements simultaneously and go straight to the top. But the top of what? What is the PhD for - but to teach? And do I want to teach writing/creativity in a standardized academic setting? Or is it the experience and exposure and cameraderie of the degree; the shared space and the permission to write and the feedback (I have great experience with this through Ariel Gore's workshops - in person and online)?

Why do I keep looking at the degrees? And yes, I noticed the excitement I felt at the one with the workshop foundation. I don't know. I've been here many times.

Time consumer? Validation? Permission to write? Networking and information to move ahead?