1.24.2014

Old, Patient Calls and other stories

Today I am.... stealing and modifying Masha's meme, as she didn't post it. :)

Rosemary and red-twig dogwood,
arranged by my thoughtful, bush-pruning husband.

Also, I'm:

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Feeling... balanced, en pointe, in tense and thrilling preparation for a move I'm not sure of because I've never made it. But if I do spring, I'm hopeful—even confident—that I can land it.

I'm seriously considering going to college.

Twice in the past I've considered school, and twice I've held back out of uncertainty, out of lack of vision, and, sorry as I am to admit it, out of shyness and fear. This time, I'm not willing to base a decision on fear—and this time, I know what I want, and how, and why. I'm researching the possibilities, and have found at least one online degree program through a state school that I'm thoroughly excited about.

If I don't do this, it will only be because my choice right now is between a focus on learning and a focus on doing. I could go on throwing my current freedom into writing novels and volunteering with choir and gradually schooling myself. There's nothing wrong with that path—it's just that I've been dreaming, since I first moved to Bellingham and had to drive past the WWU campus every day on the way to work, of all the study and direction I was too shy to go for at eighteen and twenty-five.

It's far too late for this writer to get a degree in creative writing, but there are complementary fields of knowledge that interest me very much. I might just have my heart set on directed study.

It means working part time; it means having to prioritize free hours tightly to do things like garden and blog and visit family and direct choir and write future novels (I'll be getting the two I'm currently working on sorted, pronto.)

But I'm seeing an unexpected route to a long-loved vision. I'm tasting dreams and listening to an old, patient call—and I'm grateful for the encouragement my family's given as I've finally spoken of these thoughts—and I'm loving the idea of great books and growing understanding—and I'm hoping I make the right decision, because this is the sort of thing that shifts the direction of whole years, even of life.

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Rather than music today, here's a video about art. It's beautiful.



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I promise that even if I go back to school, I will make an effort to post cat pictures.


Also, because this popped up in my Facebook feed and some of you will enjoy it: Cats Taking Selfies.

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Happy weekend!

16 comments:

  1. Wow, Jenna! I hope you can work something out. Does the online degree program include any in-person meetings? So exciting!

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    1. Thanks! Actually, I'm not sure. I've been assured by a nice gentleman from the offices that I can get the entire degree by means of online courses; I'm kind of hoping we can use Skype for in-person meetings. Although if I end up attending, I WOULD love to visit the campus sometime, just out of curiosity and school spirit. :)

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  2. Cats taking selfies? Hmm, maybe I should click...

    HAHAHAAAHAHAHAHAAHAAHAAAA!!!!!!

    Thanks Jenna. Haven't had a laugh like that in awhile.

    HAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAHA!!! Hee.

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  3. Yay!! I love this!! I'm curious about the course of study you are considering. There is SO much to learn in the world, and a lot of it is very well suited to a more structured, formal learning environment. SO excited for you :)

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    1. Yay! Thanks! The school I'm looking at (my top choice so far, at least) offers a B.A. in Liberal Arts, heavily structured around classic fields of study--history and cultural tradition (classes in history, anthropology, linguistics, geography, etc.), understanding social and legal institutions (political science, sociology, economics), appreciation of the arts (history and theory of art, music, literature, theater, etc.), and critical inquiry (philosophy, ethics, etc.)

      If I had been asked to design an ideal college course for myself, I couldn't have come up with something better. I feel like my novels could use that specific knowledge base, and so could I. :)

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  4. Hey, good for you! You are right that self-educating is a worthy thing, but sometimes it's easier to learn (or one learns more/differently) when someone else knowledgeable creates assignments and deadlines.

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    1. sometimes it's easier to learn (or one learns more/differently) when someone else knowledgeable creates assignments and deadlines.

      SO true. I'm so excited about that!

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  5. "It's far too late for this writer to get a degree in creative writing..." Who says?? In four years you'll be four years older, why not have a creative writing degree to boot?

    Whatever you want to study, I say go for it! Good for you!!

    Deborah

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    1. This is true, by the way. In my creative writing program, there were many people in their 30s and 40s. It's not uncommon at all! And the program I work for now (which is a 2 week summer retreat) has writers literally from 17-75, all hanging out and learning and being contemporaries together. If it's something you're really interested in, you should go for it. (if you're interested in other things, that's great too -- but don't think being 36 is any barrier to taking some writing workshops or even a whole degree. It's very much not).

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    2. It's not my age, it's that as a prosist, my direction is already pretty firmly set! There's also the fact that I can. not. face. another influx of creative writing prompts....

      You're both absolutely right that thirty-six is not too old, though. :)

      Thanks for the encouragement! :D

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  6. Well, as long as cat pictures are still forthcoming, I suppose it's alright. :)

    Seriously, though, it sounds great! I know I wouldn't be the man I am without the 9 years of college I had...

    The coursework sounds great. I double majored in History & Political Science with heaping helpings of literature, philosophy, & sociology. I wish you much enjoyment if you go that route. :D

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    1. I know I wouldn't be the man I am without the 9 years of college I had...

      HAHAHAHA! Funny AND true.

      I'm thoroughly excited about the coursework! And glad you liked yours, since it sounds so similar. :D Thanks!

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  7. This is a little late, but...BEST NEWS EVER!!!! So excited for you, Jenna! Like others I know, you have a much higher quality self-made education than most college graduates, but a good college class is a delight to the soul. I don't think I would have fared nearly as well as you have, had I not had the chance to study under and be guided by teachers who knew what they were doing. Studying at a quality college or university is an amazing gift; I am so glad you are treating yourself to it!

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    1. YAY! Thank you!! I'm thoroughly excited about it, myself. :D :D I sat in on a couple of my best friend's MSU classes when I visited her in Bozeman, and loved all of them, even the Economics class, which I wouldn't have expected to be very interested in. I think this is going to be wonderful. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  8. Oh geez, I just realized that "this is a little bit late" could have been interpreted totally wrong! I was referring to the lateness of my felicitations.

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