This blog is something I treasure. It allows me a platform to write my thoughts on topics that are important to me in long form, and then to distribute those thoughts to a large audience. It provides me with a place to practice my writing, which, to a young writer trying to sell her fiction, is valuable no matter what the medium. It also produces instant feedback from readers and gives me the opportunity to interact with them.
So why haven’t I written anything here since June of 2014? Why have I been neglecting something so important to me for almost a year?
Well, a number of life-changing things have happened to me in the past ten months. For your convenience, here’s a chronological list:
- This person wandered into my life and made me fall in love. Rude. I would recommend following said person on Twitter and Instagram though, since both include quality content (Danny is both an amateur photographer and sassmaster).
- I went to the Caribbean on a family vacation and met some donkeys. The donkeys in Bonaire are morally offended by any form of journalism and so refused to allow me to write a blog post in their country.
- I started my senior year of college, which is the primary reason I wasn’t updating this blog. Because of how draining senior year was, both academically and emotionally, I actually fell behind on everything, including writing/editing/revising my novels, reading for pleasure, keeping up with the publishing world, etc. Even playing video games started to feel like exerting too much effort.
- During my senior year, I taught a class on Leo Tolstoy, one of my favorite classic authors. If you’re interested, we read Anna Karenina, selections from War and Peace, part of his essay “What is Art?”, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories (a compilation of his shorter works), using the award-winning translations by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. The class was small, but a big academic and personal success. It also took a lot of work, as you would expect. If you’re into beautiful prose, expertly crafted characters, and emotions in general, I recommend you read all of these things.
- I ended up smack in the middle of a censorship controversy at my university (which, now that I no longer attend the school, I am comfortable stating is the University of Redlands). I was co-editor-in-chief of the student newspaper The Bulldog Weekly when, midway through the year, our student government decided to cut our funding. Suspiciously, this came after we published an article that didn’t make the university look very good. My co-editor and I wrote about it here, but I plan to write a blog post talking more extensively about this as well.
- I graduated from college, earning my bachelor’s degree in Writing Fiction: Listening, Absorbing, and Creating, which is a combination of the literature, creative writing, and psychology fields. If you’re wondering why my major sounds made up, that’s because it is. During my undergrad, I was part of an incredible program called the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies that allows students to design their own majors, which requires a lot of extra thought and self-motivation. I have a lot of negative feelings toward my university right now because of the whole newspaper drama mentioned above, but I can’t speak more highly of Johnston and it will always have my heart. So, if you’re considering the U of R, DO JOHNSTON.
And now I’m doing some traveling in Europe as a sort of graduation gift to myself. But what comes next?
Originally, I had planned to pursue a master’s degree immediately after finishing my undergrad. Senior year helped me realize that I’m pretty burned out on school, at least for now, so I’ll be spending the next year focusing on my novels, catching up with the publishing world, pleasure reading, and keeping up with this blog. I’m so excited to finally have time to participate in these things again, without having to schedule them around homework.
After that? We’ll see. What masters degree would I want to pursue? Many might think I’d go for a creative writing MFA. I considered that at first, but now I know that’s not the path I want to take. I have many reasons for this, which I hope to discuss on this blog at some point in the future.
What about literature? Tempting, but I think I’d rather indulge in all the pleasure reading I can in the years to come. Pursuing a masters in literature means committing myself to whatever my professors list in the syllabus. While I’m sure they’d assign some excellent reading, it means another several years of not having time to read purely for pleasure. Also, the niche I’m most interested in learning more about is Russian literature, and I’m pretty sure that requires learning Russian. Which would be great, and I would love to do that eventually! But I’d prefer to focus on getting my writing out there first.
If I’m going to pursue a masters in anything, my ideal choice (for the moment) is a masters in publishing. I’m really interested in becoming involved with publishing from the editorial side as well as the author side, and I’ve looked into some publishing programs that seem like excellent networking opportunities.
So, expect more posts from me now. I don’t have homework taking up my time anymore and I’m looking forward to posting my thoughts somewhere less restrictive than Twitter. For those of you who have stuck with this blog, thank you so much for reading. For those of you who started following me within the past year, welcome, and I’m glad to have you!
I hope this is the beginning of a fulfilling and educational new era for this blog. Keep an eye out on Instagram for photos of England, Ireland, Scotland, and more!
*Avatar by Charlavail