I have completed my first semester of my MFA. I think the weird pressure-to-perform has passed in a way. In another way, it’s still there, but now it’s back to where I’m comfortable—healthy competition. I want to write the best stories that I can and knowing the baseline is helpful. I have a lot of respect for the writers in my program, so I want them to do well but I also want to impress them accordingly. Not even impress. I want them to curl in on themselves thinking, “Fuuuuuck this is goood story, just shoot me now.” Because that reaction from their work is what presses me and encourages me to write even better stories, and those are the kind of stories I want them to write as well. It’s the writing-equivalent of Mutually Assured Destruction, but in this case it’s Mutually Assured Awesomeness. Ya feelin me, dogg?
It really doesn’t seem like I’m a fifth of the way through — I feel like it’ll be over before I’m even acclimated.
In the meantime, I’ll drink gimlets and eat crab cakes and listen to mediocre jazz trios and tell myself that I’m going to write at least two stories over winter break.
This is my job, yo.