There's miles to go before I sleep, to be sure. All the stories need revising, and I think some or even half need wholesale rewriting. But now that I've finished them all, I can type them, and have a better look at what kind of animal I'm dealing with.
Meanwhile, I'm doing good work in my creative classes. The exercises are loosening up my muscles nicely, and are helping me write more often and get more accustomed to the feeling of doing it a little bit at a time. Yet I'm still in a pickle-brine of indecision about my final story for each class. I have only one idea at the moment (and what it entails intimidates me), along with a whole lot of fragments that don't go together or are more suitable for essays. There need to be two stories, so I'll have to come up with another idea soon.
If you're wondering why I don't just put these two hands together and bring in one of the secret project stories to one of the classes, I might. One class doesn't allow novel excerpts, per the syllabus, and the other class's content has nothing at all to do with what the secret project's up to, and it's required that the final story engage with the class content. So I may not have a choice.
Otherwise, school is...discouraging. Class time is not bringing out the best in me. One of the classes is very heavily political, and I am not coping well. Two of the classes utterly contradict each other in method - one encourages literary analysis of the material, while the other insists against it - and they meet on the same day. I have made a fool of myself more than once in a third class (for instance, I mis-explained spoonerisms, because of something random I knew about Ringo Starr) and am almost resigned to just saying nothing in there for the next fourteen weeks.
It's not all bad. Part of the reason I decided to start grad school instead of fumbling along on my own is that I thought the structure of regular classes would do me good, and three years in, I seem to have been right. The structure is making me happy, and giving my life a spine.
I'll leave you with a[n unedited] bit of the twelfth story. I wanted to write like Jesmyn Ward at the end of Salvage the Bones. I don't know if I did, but I tried hard.
They sing for me.
The past, too, is slippery. Here, as it moves before me, I capitulate to its colors and textures, but nothing is how I remember it. As if what I see is someone else's story of me, and Corisande is not a real creature. As if she is a whole invention, forgotten further and further each moment, and what lingers here on the sand is the memory.
The earth moves. The tide turns. The light fades, and a thousand thousand living things surrender the capsules of flesh that carried them.
I want her to see me again.