Acknowledgements

Y’all know that I am finishing my graduate school thesis. That’s all I seem to talk about on here.

At this point, I’m about 90% done with the thesis and 90% done the preface for the thesis.

I am 0% done with the abstract, 0% done with the acknowledgements page and 0% done with the bibliography. I do think the abstract and bibliography will be relatively easy though.

The acknowledgements though? It scares me. Why? Because I am too grateful. I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know if there is a limit to the amount of pages I can include for this section. I’m thankful for every moment I wrote about in my thesis. I’m thankful for ever person who influenced the manuscript. I’m thankful for all the schools that denied my fiction application when I applied as an undergraduate even though it broke my heart. I’m grateful for the nonfiction graduate class I signed up for at Umass Dartmouth even though I wasn’t a student, just to get my writing juices flowing. I’m grateful for Christina McCarroll who taught the class and all the amazing students who read and helped me hone my nonfiction craft (I’d never written a lick on nonfiction before this!). The two main stories I wrote in this class became my application for the seven graduate schools I applied to. I’m beyond grateful for being accepted to every one of those graduate schools. That is by far one of my favorite life moments. I was so proud of myself. I’m so thankful for Michael White, my program director. Fairfield was tied for first place on my wish list with two other schools. I’m grateful that Michael recognized my talent and was the first school to accept me (only a few days after receiving my application). I’m fortunate for all the students I met in my graduate school career. I couldn’t begin to thank them for their encouragement, their suggestions on my stories. I’m beyond thankful to the MFA gods for giving me Phil as a big brother and Daisy as a little sister in the program. I’m still thankful for earning the Trueblood Award my first residency (now called the Truben Award) and also for being voted the graduation speaker this last residency. I am eternally grateful to all of my mentors: Lary Bloom, Joan Connor, Porochista Khakpour and Kim Dana Kupperman who worked one on one with me over my four semesters. For the teachers who guided my workshops: Kim, Lary, Da Chen, Leila Philip, Baron Wormser, and Marita Golden- their guidance unearthed some of my best impromptu writing, all of which made it into my final thesis. I’m grateful that Baron will be my second reader for my thesis, and I cannot wait to hear him read my words as I walk across the stage to accept my diploma. I’m thankful that Fairfield led me to Phil (my big bro), Trueblood (yep, the award was named after him) and Linsey, as we formed the Masshole Writers Group. The stories I’ve written have changed sometimes very dramatically with their suggestions. Plus, we go out to eat when we critique each other’s work and I love food. I’m grateful for GChat, which allowed me to brainstorm with my school friends at times I might not have been able to easily communicate. I’m grateful for everything Ender’s Island. That place is the perfect place to study creative writing. That island will always be one of my favorite places and it as a place has truly opened me up. I’m actually thankful that I broke my foot on the island during my third residency. It taught me to rely on others, something I don’t know I ever really knew how to do. I am so glad to have worked on Mason’s Road, Fairfield MFA’s literary journal since my first semester. I was a nonfiction reader for three issues and this semester I am serving as the co-editor with my incredible MFA little sis, Daisy. Mason’s Road has greatly impacted my writing. Reading other people’s work is a great way to expand your knowledge and to see first hand what works and what doesn’t work. It has helped me critique and edit my own work. I am eternally grateful to the people outside of the program who have supported or assisted me in any way. I have to thank Kate for editing assistance. I’m thankful for all my friends who encouraged me, or scheduled plans around my busy schedule. I’m grateful for my family for not only encouraging me, but also being characters in my manuscript. I’m thankful for Mr. O’s family and friends who understood if I wasn’t able to go to dinners or get-togethers because I was too busy writing. I’m grateful for Wolverine’s excitement about graduation and the amount of homework we both have to do. He graduates Kindergarten in June (and he still is quite shocked that he graduates before me!) and my graduation is in July. Not only that, but I have to thank Wolverine for completely changing my life. The combination of school and Wolverine in my life has taught me more than I ever could learn about forgiveness and parenting. He has opened me up to selfless unconditional love. He’s helped me learn and grow, and I love him so much for that. I couldn’t end here without acknowledging the person who has probably been my main support throughout this whole experience: Mr. O. I’m thankful for all the times he cooked dinner or cleaned up the apartment or went places without me all so that I could write. I’m grateful for the times he sternly told me to do my homework– he’s the best dad. I’m thankful for the suggestions and perspective he gave me on my writing. I’m thankful that he’s honest and willing to tell me something doesn’t work, or he doesn’t get the point I’m going for. I’m glad he doesn’t judge what I say as he’s probably the only non-school person to read the stories. But besides the actual work, I’m so grateful that he supported me emotionally as well. He pushed me when I wanted to give up, he held and kissed me when it all felt too overwhelming (and then he made me stop crying and start writing.) The biggest thing he did was always keep put things into perspective for me.

Can I acknowledge myself? I’ve written what is now a 114 page manuscript (that could change a bit before May 1st). Wow. That my friends doesn’t account for all the other numerous pages I’ve written and revised in the past two years. It doesn’t account for my preface, for my craft essays, for my graduation speech. It doesn’t account for my class I’ll teach. It doesn’t account for the notes I’ve taken, the stories I’ve started but never finished. I’ve completed (almost) a manuscript, and I need to pat myself on the back as well. Good job, Erin.  I’m proud of you.

Well, I guess acknowledging wasn’t as scary as I thought it could be. Now all I need to do is edit, remove the zillion adverbs and it looks like I might be at least 90% done on my acknowledgment section as well.

Where I Spent My Week On the Internet

Every Friday in my Reader, I’ve come to expect a post by San about the links she’s enjoyed throughout the week. A lot of bloggers do this, and I find myself either clinking over right away or starring the post to check out when I have more time.

I can’t promise to make this a regular item on the blog, but I am inspired to start sharing the links I’ve come to find over the week. I’ll have to hold myself to remembering to bookmark things. (This is why I havent’ done a post like this before. I find links that I love, and then I either forget where I’ve found them or who wrote it or I forget about the whole post altogether!)

The first link I’ll share is actually something I just finished reading. I should give Kudos to San for sharing this link on her blog today, which is how I found it. I’ve read Eleni way back in the day when she blogged under the pseudonym Hope over at Hope Dies Last. Since then, she has written a book, and somehow, I’m assuming when she changed website names, disappeared from my Reader (but she is back on there now!). Anyway, check out what she wrote in defense of women who want relationships.

The next place I spent my time is reading posts from The Scintilla Project. I completed days one and two of this, yet fell off the wagon. I’m trying to go easier on myself and not beat myself up when I “fail”. I have a lot on my plate lately, so I’m just going to enjoy the fact that I enjoyed writing two days worth of prompts. I adored what I wrote to Mr. O, and I liked that Day One really made me take a good look at my About Me page. I’m in the process of working on recreating that page now.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading submissions for Mason’s Road, Fairfield University’s MFA Literary Journal. I’m the Co-Editor of the Creative Nonfiction genre with the lovely Daisy from Write Here, Write Now. I’m not sharing this link because you can read submissions– you can’t, sorry– I’m sharing because I think you should submit. Our current submission period closes on May 1, 2012. So many bloggers are also writers. I’ve heard many bloggers write about how they’d love to submit some of their “real” writing,  but they are unsure where to start. Well, today is your lucky day, folks. There is currently no cost to submit your work to Mason’s Road. Even better than that, we are also currently holding a contest, where one of the submissions that gets published in our July 2012 issue will win a $1,000 prize. Guest judge is the amazing Jacqueline Mitchard. All submissions will be considered for the prize. Get writing, and get submitting.

I’m excited to read about Ashley’s experience wearing only 33 items (including shoes and jewelry!) for the next three months! You’ve got to check out these pictures.

Since I am currently in graduate school and graduating in July, I adored this post by Ashley (no, not the same Ashley as above). I kept nodding my head over and over and over again.

That is about it folks (well, that I remember… I know I’m forgetting a link or two, but I didn’t save them!)… Check back next week for more goodies.