Monday, December 13, 2010

Crunch Time

Today is December 13th. On December 15th, in two days, five of my 12 MFA applications are due. Three, thankfully, are entirely submittable online. I just have to hit "enter" before 11:59pm Wednesday night. The other two, I actually have submitted applications for already. But they require me to mail in my writing samples.

To some degree, this upsets me. It means I can't work until the last minute tweaking sentences, replacing verbs, etc. I actually have to get to the post office tomorrow, with two packets of writing I'm proud enough to let represent me. Tomorrow.

So far, I'm sufficiently happy with one story. It's a re-write of a story called "Laundry Day." It started out as a short vignette (which you can read here) and now has grown to be a 7-page story about a girl and her sisters preparing for the big move to Nigeria. It's the only one that I feel is in a good enough place to stop and say, "you can be submitted."

I've also been working on a re-write of "Her Blood," which is based on something that really happened in my family. But which I've fictionalized quite a bit (although I'm sure my sisters would still recognize themselves in the story if they read it. Same for "Laundry Day" actually. In fact, for that one, I used their names for the characters.)
"Her Blood," I think is almost there. There might be one or two more pass-throughs before I'm confident in what  it says about me and my writing capabilities.

I do have one more story I'm working on. A complete re-write of a non-fiction piece I wrote some years back. A complete re-write because besides the epiphany at the end, and the situation that led to said epiphany, the story is now completely fictional. I was hoping the story would be done today, and that maybe tonight or tomorrow morning I could do some more edits and include it in my submission packet.

So far that doesn't look like it's going to happen. And so while "Ruined" might make it into the writing sample for other application, "Laundry Day" and "Her Blood" are probably the only ones I'll end up sticking in envelopes and sending off in the mail tomorrow. And all I can think of is, will they be enough? Will they open the door for this opportunity I so desperately want?

I really don't know, and while I'm sure I'll be hyperventilating as I print them out, label the envelopes, drive to the post-office, pay for postage, and watch them go through the slot to be sorted and sent out... I ultimately just can't worry about it. Time's up. Whether I feel ready or not. 

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