Monday, April 22, 2013

Giving Myself a Break

A couple of months ago, I met with an admissions assistant at University of San Diego's Masters in Family Therapy program.  He was a young guy -- in his early 30s perhaps. We chatted for just 30 minutes about the admissions requirement so that I can start thinking about how someone like me -- someone post career no. 1, someone midlife, someone with a family -- can start to incorporate a masters program into her life. We sat in a small conference room, he with a brochure, me with a purse and a single piece of paper with all of my questions. I asked all the questions off of my list, and he gave me the answers that he gives in his capacity. After the short meeting, I walked around the building, briefly peering into classrooms where lecturers stood in front of whiteboards and a few kids in hooded sweatshirts sat hunched over their computers. As I walked around, I found myself muttering, "Really? Am I going to leave my kids at home with some stranger so that I can come sit here? Really??"

Shortly after that visit, I pushed aside the idea of doing a MFT program. If I'm so ready to push it aside, maybe it's not the right path for me. Maybe I really wasn't that into it in the first place -- not that committed to the idea. Maybe...

For the past few months, we've had a babysitter for about 12 hours a week so that I can figure these things out. I haven't been doing anything with that time other than blogging and entertaining the idea of doing something with my writing. I love writing. It grips me at my core -- deep inside where it really matters. Like any other craft, I need to keep at it -- practice it, immerse in it -- knead it like dough. Despite my shortcomings, I find it fulfilling in a way few other things are. But how do you make a living with it, make it a career? I know others do -- so why do I doubt that I can? I feel like such a coward at times. I've never taken a risk in my life. Not really. And I wonder what I even have to say that's worth saying -- really, is anything I have to say any different than what anyone else feels or says? And how could I ever write as beautifully as some of those writers out there? What about all those people with PhDs in literature, those who've read everything worth reading? I haven't read a book in ages -- I feel like such a phony.

Last night, I read some interviews with Kazuo Ishiguro. For the past year, I've been obsessed with his book Never Let Me Go, and I can't stop thinking about it. So I was just poking around on the net after putting my son down for the night, and what a pleasant surprise that he wasn't schooled in literature. He wanted to be a musician and went onto writing only when he couldn't make a success of a music career. He then went onto a MFA program. In one of the interviews, he identified the few writers who formed the foundation of his writing. I copied down that list.

I'm still floundering, but it's clear that I need some more structure. I've been all over the map lately. I sometimes think I should get the MFT because I can use that knowledge as a basis for writing anyway, even if I decide not to become a therapist. Other days, I'm convinced that I need to become a journalist, and build my foundation for writing that way. I've also considered just blogging -- using this as my basis for writing and launching my writing career that way. Since my time is so limited these days anyway, isn't that a good use of my time?

I've even been going back and forth about signing up for an online class. One class. Which takes up just a couple of hours a week. Just because it's right around dinner time, and I'm not sure whether I should delay the kids' dinner time so that I could sit in front of the computer.

What is wrong with me??!!

Ugh, ok, as I'm writing this, it's becoming obvious that I just need to sign up for a class. Stop feeling so guilty. I'm allowed to do this, right? What's the harm? I can spend a few hundres bucks on a class. I can. Really. Right??


  1. agreed, although i may not be in your position exactly i feel your sentiments. I have thoughts on forgoing college in order to help with my family's financial needs by going to work full time and school part time. But a little voice inside me tells me it's okay to be greedy, selfish sometimes. It's an internal struggle, really.

  2. Hi, I am a reader from kimchimamas.
    I think it is your experiences and your very own mind observing and reflecting on things that make your writing special.
    Fun fact: there are quite a few layers who turned writers in history, such as Franz Kafka or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Good luck with your plans!

  3. Have you checked out zoetrope? It's an online workshop where you can review others and have your work reviewed.

    I'm in a similar boat as you I think. Not satisfied with my present career, studied for a long time for something, have 2 young kids (2.5 years and 3 months), and am interested in writing.