In 2008, I graduated from Lesley University. I received my Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. My concentration was Fiction.
In 2009, I came back for an event as an alum…and drank my face off.
The following day I returned to campus mostly to apologize, and also to seek out the current student who’s mother had assisted me in calling my then almost father in-law to come pick me up.
I was too drunk to dial or even see the keypad.
“You have a very kind and patient Mom,” I told the early twenty-something. “Please tell her how grateful and sorry I am.”
“She was just really scared for you. I kind of can’t believe you’re even upright.”
After that I stayed away from anyone or anything associated with the program for a very long time. I also stopped writing.
I conned myself into believing that this was simply a night that got out of hand. I refused to accept it as a symptom of crippling stress, anxiety, or underlying depression, and I comforted myself with the fact that no one from work was connected to anyone from my network at school.
This was well before I was on LinkedIn.
In more recent years, I’ve confessed to Ken that getting my MFA was a mistake. I came out of undergrad virtually debt free, and then racked up close to $40k in loans for an advanced degree that in many circles stands for “More Fucking Adjuncts.”
Ken never agreed with my logic.
“You loved studying with those authors. And there’s no way you’d be able to crank out a couple hundred scripts every six weeks for those friggen pledge drives if you hadn’t. So, you’re constantly using what you learned. It wasn’t a waste.”
To borrow a notion form Anna Lyndsey’s memoir, Girl In The Dark: Ken is the miracle I live with every day.
In this slow and lovely return to writing, I’ve been flirting with the idea of going back to school. Not to earn any more degrees or acquire any more debt – but rather to be a student. To learn. To listen. To absorb.
So, when I found out that there was a reading tonight at Lesley, even though the mere thought of returning ties my insides, I decided to go.
And here I am.
And this time, I’m ready and open.
(PS – this picture is a nod to my super smart and talented professor friend, Mark)