Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Seasonal Disfunction

The MFA application cycle is coming to an end (in theory). By now everyone should have heard if they're accepted, waitlisted or rejected. If you're like I was and sitting on a waitlist as well as an acceptance list you're feeling icky, scratchy and generally irritable. I hate not being able to let one school know because the other school hasn't made up its mind. I was also (in retrospect, so maybe I still am) irritate by the fact that WMU "accepted me without funding" which they conveyed to me as "waitlisted." Now, if I had known it was just a matter of funding/no funding I could have made a decision weeks prior to the April 15 deadline. As it was, I thought I couldn't come at all unless they had a spot open up with funding. The graduate direct is very adamant about people not going into debt over an MFA, which I appreciate, but as an in-state student I have to admit that this is the closest thing to a free MFA as I can get. Jolie has blogged recently about this, the season of agonizing.

The weather is okay, yet my cabin fever has morphed into something more dangerous. At best I can call it a funk. At worst, it's some sort of depression.

I have in fact, arrived at the point where I either have to confront and fix my "funk" or it will start to have an effect that can't be fixed.

At the moment, I am getting only the bare minimum done that I need to function. Grocery store, cooking, minimal cleaning, meeting deadlines for my two classes with a few hours to spare and doing minimal prepping for the classes I teach.

I spend large chunks of time reading. You would think this is good, right? But it's emotional reading, much like emotional eating. I've devoured 3.5 books in the past six days -- only one of which, a YA novel, was for class. This volume of reading drowns out my need/will/ability to do other necessary activities.

Today I ended up cancelling those two classes with almost no notice for my students (although I say you should always check your email in the morning before you leave to go someplace like school/work; someone may have tried to tell you something important in the wee hours of the morning). I won't get in to why I chose to cancel, but despite the fact that it was symptomatic I hope that in the end it will allow me to fix things.

Being out and about before 8 a.m. -- I had to go in to affix a sign to the door to say class was canceled -- was very, very good for me. For one, it was a peaceful, post-rainstorm morning. I got to collect my wits and my sense of self. I have decided that I am going to make two changes to try and get me out of this whole and one of them is to wake up at 7 a.m. and walk every morning. Lately, I wake at 6 a.m. or 11 a.m. dependent on my need to be somewhere. At 6 it's still dark and at 11 I feel like I'm wasting my day. 7 a.m corresponds with dawn right about now so I'm hoping I can stick with it.

The other change I'm making is to have one hour per day spent wholly and solely on a personal, non-academic writing project. That sounds and feels great. However, I'm nervous about this because I don't have a personal project going right now. There's nothing I'm currently invested in, although there are projects I had to set aside that I could pick back up. One way or another, I will have to decide and develop a personal project, and do it soon, hopefully.

I thought about making other changes, about mandating how much time per day I spend grading or other such work. But I don't want to attempt one of those giant life-restructurings that fails a few days in because it's just too big of a change.

Highly Recommended