Well, it took 2.5 years but I finally found one of those diplomas with my name on it. This week (Wednesday afternoon, actually), I was awarded my Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

To summarize up the week – tons of stress for my thesis presentation and defense on Saturday night (with Steph using FaceTime to attend), a sense of ‘well now what?’ for the rest of the week, capped off by a nice graduation ceremony. We had a wonderful speech by my classmate Kathleen Jackson but more importantly for me, Steph was able to fly out for graduation.

Corey, Me, Molly
Jenn, Caitlyn
Sarah, Anna
The Pres of Seton Hill, Louise, Kathleen, Therese

It’s a bit of a surreal feeling, a sentiment many of my cohort shared. The last couple of years have been nothing but this program. Writing pages to turn into critique partners. Marking up other pages to give feedback. Tons of reading, analyzing, creating lesson plans, and essays and thesis statements.

And now? Nothing.

My time is mine. No homework. No pages or critique partners. It’s all up to me.

I won’t complain. The Writing Popular Fiction program has been wonderful for me. I’ve picked up a lot, learned even more about writing, and surprised myself by being open to teaching. Maybe that’s on the horizon, maybe it’s not. But I regret nothing and would gladly do it again. Just … not right away.

So what’s my plan? Right now, it’s to take a little break. I really haven’t had time for ‘me’ since the program has started. I want to read books again for pleasure. I intend to tighten up Everest (my thesis) and then fire it off to agents to see what sort of reaction it gets. I also have plans for another novel that I’m sketching out now. So I’ve got a lot ahead of me here and I’m looking forward to it.

Rather than end with some sort of moving or encouraging or fitting words, I just have to admit I’m all out of words right now. So have some pictures from graduation.

What’s more amazing? That I got an MFA or that I was second across the stage?
My mentor Scott Johnson and his wonderful kilt.
My mentor Maria V. Snyder.

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