Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bell, Light, Organ, and Action

Graduating as a Graduate: How to put it in words?

There is something distinctly different about graduating at Converse College. Yet, something even more distinct about graduating with a class of creative writing students. Not just any students, the first graduating class of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree at Converse College.

If my memory serves me right, there was the ringing bell in Wilson Hall...the warm South Carolina sun at 10:00 AM in the morning. The nervous and excited chatter between the students (especially our MFAers). I didn't ask for permission ahead of time to write about the ones that were present, so I won't mention their names. But, I mention their personas kindly. Also, I don't want to shun the ones that weren't present in body, because this is a low-residency program. Some students travel far to attend this MFA program. They were present in our minds--even the ones that are graduating generations to come in the low-residency MFA program. I hope your moment is yours.

Back to my memory, inside Twichell Auditorium, family and friends sat while an organ played. It had an old-world feel to it. (I recall the sound fondly). So, the combination of bell, light, and organ put me in the state of mind of arrival. As a sidenote, it was a pleasure to sit in between the two other nonfiction ladies.

When it was my turn to walk the stage, I looked out at the crowd--taking in the moment. It was my moment of action and arrival, of beginning and ending. (I paused for photos.)

I shook the President of the college's hand and took my turn being hooded. I left the stage a Converse College graduate that would "make things happen."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Big Black Book

It's official, I have my bound MFA Creative Thesis in hand. (Well, not actually in my hands at this moment, because I am typing.) But true, so true. I am an official graduate of a Master's program with a completed thesis. Boy, does it feel good--knowing that I wrote all of those words, created sentences, and followed through with organization. Yes, I am having a moment. I birthed a book!

To celebrate such an accomplishment, how about some inspiration from Mark Twain? I know I can't get enough of his spunk.

"The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart and not to be mentioned with commoner things...king by grace of God over all the fruits of the earth...It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took...we know because she repented." -from Puddn'head Wilson

In reflection of being a steamboat pilot Twain wrote, "In that brief, sharp schooling I got personally and familiarly acquainted with all the different types of human nature that are to be found in fiction, biography, or history. When I find a well drawn character in fiction or biography, I generally take a warm personal interest in him, for the reason that I have known him before--met him on the river." - from Life on the Mississippi

My favorite quote by Twain I found taped to the outside of a professor's door. It read, "Cauliflower is just cabbage with a degree."

What a great perspective! I may be cauliflower, but in the garden of life I still am a cabbage--bound creative thesis and all.