Leap Before You Look

It is time I flipped the practical old saying.

I’ve always been pragmatic, careful, responsible, and now that my right knee creaks and Miss Clairol is my good friend, I’ve decided to throw caution aside and have an adventure.

I’m not sucked into adrenaline highs, so nothing appeals like sky-diving or deep sea diving. But I’ve decided to go back to school. Although I’ve always sided with commercial writers and wanted a paycheck for my writing instead of sending stories strong in metaphors and similes and death to literary magazines and getting a couple copies as pay, I’ve applied to a low-residency Masters in Fine Arts program.  Stonecoast in Maine. The two-year program from the University of Southern Maine requires ten days a semester of intense writer-conference-like lectures, seminars, and evening readings in Maine. The hard writing work is done at home and sent via the Internet.

You know how you hear a word you’ve never heard before and then you hear it twice more in the course of a few days? That’s how Stonecoast has been for me. I’ve now met two people who have attended, and then I saw one of those poster deals on Facebook about taking a step in a new direction, and I stopped in the middle of drumming out an article that’s due in two weeks and filled out the form and typed in my credit card number for the app fee. So here I am, ready to get off my regular path and take another trail.

I’ve requested transcripts to be sent. I have my writing sample ready to mail. I’ve conned a couple editors and a friend into writing recommendations for me. Today I’ll write the final piece, an essay about three writers who have influenced me. Dare I mention Laurie R. King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice? I’ve listened to that story of Sherlock Holmes many times for the wonderful plotting and the British accent of the reader. In fact, I listened to a part with ear buds today while I vacuumed. I like commercial writing, but I want to improve my writing and still get paid.

So here goes. A new adventure. Oh, I have to be accepted first. Keep fingers crossed that I get in.