Wednesday, October 23

"you're better than you think you are"

Long time no blog!

I know, I know. I suck an enormous amount. And I'm not apologizing to those who read my blog, but rather my future self who will have no record of what happened between October 18th and October 23rd. I even neglected my journal so quite seriously no written documentation of my life was recorded for a solid week minus two pathetic blog posts that really just kind of scratched the surface.

And now I'm going to mostly ignore everything that happened minus one thing, because all of those other things do have photo evidence of happening and deserve to be accompanied by pictures because I can't do them justice with only my words.

Last week, just before I hopped on a plane to Virginia, I finished my midterms and applied to creative writing workshops. And I realized mid way through revising my pieces I chose to submit that I was applying to 400 level workshops. Which are the last creative writing workshops I can take.

I remember the first time I ever took a workshop. I needed some writing in my life. I needed to be forced to write so that I would write something other than lab reports and complaints about people that were annoying me in my journal. I didn't really know at the time, though I think unconsciously I knew I also wasn't just taking "one workshop for the heck of it" like I told myself I was, that it would result in changing my major. I know now that what I was doing was trying it out to see if I was actually good enough and as good as the other people in my classes. After a semester, I didn't feel like I was, but my wonderful teacher at the time told me to apply to apply another. So I did. And I still didn't feel "good enough" at the end of that one, but I kept going because it was so much more fun than the classes I was taking. And I've learned and grown and been humbled many times by the words of my classmates. But this time around, applying to my last workshops as a creative writing major, I am not sure I can say I felt "good enough" but I felt like I deserved a slot amongst my peers I've been writing alongside for two years. I may not be better than any of them, in fact I don't think any of us are better than anyone else, but I felt like I could stand among them finally. I wasn't nervous. I submitted my best work. 

And then I made the dumbest mistake. THE dumbest mistake. Of all things you could do to mess up your chances of getting into the quasi-competative workshops taught by the best faculty in the program, I did the worst thing. I didn't read the flyer completely. I turned in my submissions three hours late. THREE. I didn't read the bold writing that said "late submissions will not be reviewed or considered". I was sleeping on my living room carpet at the moment they were due taking a pleasant unnecessary nap. When I realized I, excuse my language, FUCKED UP SO MAJORLY, I sat in my room and wrote lists of what I would do with my time to continue writing. I could make myself continue to write, but workshops have made me better. Honest feedback has made me see my writing objectively and welcome critique. I couldn't imagine life without a workshop. 

.... And then I went to Virginia. And came back. And my friend texted me and said we both made it in. I made it in. I got in even though I shouldn't have and deserved not to have a slot next to the other names that did turn in their work on time. At first I jumped up and down and then I felt sort of guilty when I looked at the long list of people wait listed. I texted my mom and she said something that was sort of perfect in the moment. She said that for whatever reason, the professor thought my writing was good enough and chose me for a reason. She said I needed to give myself more credit. I really fucked up, but for some reason this professor thought I deserved a spot nonetheless and chose me to be in his workshop. So now I'm saying this, after two and a half years in workshops pushing myself to the point of tears and frustration at 3 in the morning the night before a 500 word essay is due that I swear I hate, after misses and nose dives, and after a few minor successes- I do deserve my spot. I can stand among those other square glasses and sweater vest wearing classmates of mine I have grown to love and respect. I will probably never fully believe I am better than I think I am, but I need to think I could be to get there. I have to challenge myself and be better than I think I am. It's the doubt that pushes me further with every piece I write and I know I'll never look at another classmate and think I am better. I finally have the confidence that I fit. Rather than thinking of myself as less than everyone else, I can think of myself as equal and start to believe in what I can do to make myself better than I was yesterday. I made a mistake. But I'm here for a reason. I'm still here.


Lyndsey said...

YAYYY CONGRATS ON MAKING THE WORKSHOP!!! you know, when I got to the part where you said you were 3 hours late, I instantly thought oh no.. but then when you said you made it, I thought about a movie scene. Like, this stuff only happens in movies! Like, holy freaking crap- this is a HUGE step in your life! And it is also another point that anything you put your mind to you can achieve. You aren't lucky you made the spot, you're actually truly blessed with a God given talent! Whatever you scratched on to that paper and set it in stone with tears and countless nights of sleep, all built up into this one amazing beginning. Not only did it break you down to the point where you were vulnerable, but it also built you up to the point where you actually could see that you are better than "good enough". This is actually a really beautiful thing and I'm so glad I got to read about it. You're amazing, little writer♥♥

Shawnee said...

oh man, i have tears spilling onto my cheeks, whatev. maybe because i'm so happy for you and these words are so true. also because i've felt this too, only to be overwhelmed with nice comments from my peers about things that i write. i feel lucky now that with every writing class at my college, at least all of the ones i've taken, we always do workshop as a class. with every piece. i will not take those for granted anymore. i think i've found some hidden truth in myself from this post, as well. so thank you. and good luck, maggie!!

Emma Jane said...

Um hi that quote in that picture in this blog. Knock this perfection off before my heart literally cracks open with tears of joy, support, and love. THIS IS AWESOME! Hell yes you deserve this. I love those flukes in the system when you don't deserve your way but then the universe gives it to you. Your future is so bright and the universe, and also me :)- fully supports you. WOO CONGRATS! HUGS FOREVER.

Tightrope to the Sun

becca said...

hey, go you.

it really is so wonderful that you made it into the workshop and let's be honest, the only productive thought to have about that is to simply believe that your mom is right, and that you were sent through for a reason, so make it count.

thanks for your constant honesty and thoughts and for being quite transparent about the whole thing.

and good luck!!!!!

Jennifer said...

Congrats on making it in the workshop. I have the same experience with conferences for my journalism emphasis. If I could do both creative writing and journalism, I would have. But I don't think I could mentally take that much pressure. Which is why I'm glad technically being an English major made me take two creative writing courses as part of my major and I have my blog to practice more when I wish.

I actually just sort of wrote something on this. Although it was much shorter and less anecdotal. It just helps to have people who have your back and believe in you, even when you want to doubt them.

Can't wait to see you accomplish so much in the future.