I’m almost done with my first year of grad school. To say that’s a relief would be an understatement, but at the same time I’ve really enjoyed the experience. I have one story left to revise for a workshop, and once that’s done I’ll be turning my attention to my thesis, which is going to be a science fiction novel. That’ll keep me out of trouble this summer while I’m back in St. Louis.
Yes, I realize I’m going back to the Midwest at the worst possible time of year, when summer hits. Summer in Vancouver is supposed to be lovely. July in St. Louis? If you haven’t experienced it, count your blessings.
I’ve written a lot during the past eight months, more than I typically would, which is of course one of the big reasons I signed up for an MFA. (That, and the high volume of quality feedback and sense of camaraderie. I’ve met and made friends with so many writers this year that I never would have otherwise met. It’s been wonderful.)
I’ve also been taking part in an informal writing group that my friend Sugar and I have organized every Sunday. A few of us gather and come up with a writing prompt, and then we write for about half an hour or forty-five minutes and see what we come up with. I’m always amazed at how much I can generate in such a short span of time that I’ve taken to writing in 30-minute sprints lately. It’s at least one way of breaking down longer projects into manageable chunks.
I’ve also been on a mailing list from writer Sarah Selecky for a daily writing prompt. It gives you something to write about and always includes the instruction “Write for at least 10 minutes. Write by hand, in your notebook.” I’ll admit, I don’t do them every day, but I did one this morning: “Write a list titled, Other People’s Children.” Here’s what I came up with:
Other people’s children should be seen and not heard.
Other people’s children should sometimes not be seen, either.
No, other people, I don’t think your children are adorable.
Other people’s children usually look like Winston Churchill when they’re born.
Other people’s children are not angels—unless angels scream, poop, and keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Other people’s children are miniature human-shaped bundles of need and eternal “I want”-ness.
Other people’s children make me wonder how the human race has managed to perpetuate itself for thousands of years.
Other people’s children eventually grow up. Or they don’t.
Other people’s children never stop being other people’s children.
Other people’s children all eventually become orphans, though this may take a while.
Other people’s children eventually have children of their own.
At that time, other people’s children may forget that they were once other people’s children too.
Other people can often take a sense of vindication from this.
Other people’s children don’t always have children of their own.
Other people’s children sometimes wonder if they’re missing something.
Other people’s children without children sometimes make good aunts and uncles. Or not.
Other people’s children always wonder when they’ll finally feel grown up.
Other people’s children sometimes miss that transition entirely.
Other people’s children, sometimes, just feel old.