Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Making the Leap

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a writer. I struggled with that fact for almost as many years. It simply never seemed like a practical occupation. I never have had the killer instinct required to be a reporter, and copywriting didn't really strike my fancy either. I almost gave up on the dream entirely.

A little over a year ago, and before I even registered for the final classes I needed at Evergreen, I'd already decided that I was going to pursue a MFA degree. In fact, I spoke with the Program Director at PLU last summer. I was nervous and held off from sending an application right then, but I made up my mind that I'd do it.

Fast forward to Summer 2008. In the back of my mind (and sometimes at the front), I knew that I needed to get my applications started. Back in June, I started piecing together a list of what I needed and what colleges required. I made a little data sheet and started plotting. I had 4-5 colleges offering low-residency MFAs where I planned to apply. Right before our vacation, I took my un-backed-up flash drive out of my purse so I "wouldn't lose it" and we headed for Montana. On our return, I returned to application mode, but I couldn't find my flash drive. I was absolutely sick about it. Figuring I'd eventually find it, and not wanting to re-do all of that work, I procrastinated on my applications. In September, I realized that I almost missed every deadline. I ended up missing one, but still had four on my radar.

I submitted my first application packet on September 12th. It was due on September 15th. In New Jersey. I didn't know if it would make it. I also didn't know if my writing sample was going to make the cut because they put a maximum line limit on the length of your writing sample. I had to condense several poems and didn't really like the final product. Not having time to do anything about it, I crossed my fingers and put it in the mail. I sent the second one out on the 13th (also due [for "priority consideration"] by September 15th. I figured I'd have a better chance of hitting the deadline since it is on the same coast. Two down and two to go.

During our trip to the Oregon Coast, I got a call from Jessica. She was dog sitting and had grabbed the mail. Of course, being my darling child, she opened my mail and had to call to start reading me a letter. It was an acceptance letter to the MFA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She didn't tell me that at first. I had to interrupt her to ask her which school. Then it sunk in. I was going to be going to England to attend the low-residency portion. Wroxton College here I come!

"Wroxton College is the British campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University, situated in the ancestral home of Lord North at Wroxton Abbey in Oxfordshire. The Abbey is located in the Village of Wroxton, which lies in a dip on the northeast edge of an ironstone escarpment bordering the Cotswolds. These hills are in the southern Midlands, the rural heart of England. The Midlands region is rich in both urban and rural landscapes. Its influence in modern and historic Britain is hard to exaggerate. Birmingham is 40 miles to the north; it is Britain’s second largest city. Oxford is 26 miles to the south; it is the home of Britain’s oldest university. Between these two cities are thousands of acres of the finest agricultural land, the ancestral homes of a score of great English families, and two important towns: Stratford-Upon-Avon and Banbury.

Wroxton village is two and one-half miles from Banbury. Although the village is small, it supports three churches (Church of England, Roman Catholic, and Methodist), a post office, a good hotel, and two public houses. "One of the most beautiful villages in the country," wrote E. R. Lester in his short story of Wroxton. Around the small pond in the center of the village stand fourteenth through twentieth century homes. They are built mainly of local honey-brown Horton Stone and roofed in decorative thatch.

The main College building is Wroxton Abbey, home of Wroxton College, a fully modernized Jacobean mansion on 56 acres of its own lawns, lakes and woodlands. Originally constructed as an Augustinian priory in 1215, Wroxton Abbey has accommodated several British monarchs and statespeople such as Theodore Roosevelt. It now houses the College’s classrooms and seminar rooms, the library, fully modernized student lodging facilities, and computer laboratories. "

How cool is that?

More on this later...

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