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Posts tagged ‘Graduate School’

October So Far


Beauty of Fall in MD.

This month has flown by.  I can’t believe it is almost November, especially since someone decided to turn the calendar back to May.  It was so warm today, I swore it was spring, not fall.  But all you have to do is look at the trees and you remember what time of year it is.  Spring and fall are the best times of the year in the mid-atlantic.

Class is going well so far.  I have to give an oral presentation at the end of the semester, which I am not crazy about.  The positive side is that I get to read an author I have been meaning to explore for a while now. It’s Reynolds Price. I first read an essay he wrote for Book World (Remember that on Sunday?) in The Washington Post.  I was so blown away by it, that a short time later I went out and bought Kate Vaiden.

And it sat on my bookshelf ever since.  You know how that goes…

So now I am finally getting around to reading it.  Yay!  I almost picked a few other books (The person should-be an American and a book of note, but exceptions were made for others.), but I have been sitting on this book long enough.

I also realized I’ve been watching way too many episodes of How I Met Your Mother.  I used the phrase “suiting up” in my last post.  LOL! I didn’t even realized until a week after I posted.  I also find myself humming “Let’s Go to the Mall” every now and then.  Thank you FX.  It’s a great show and my subconscious is giving you a high-five.

Interested in reading the essay?  Find it here.  It’s a great collection, and well worth the money.

How My September Came and Went

It’s been a busy, sad, and thoughtful few weeks.  It’s now the end of the first week of October and I can’t believe how fast time goes by.  I’m deep into my class for JHU.  I’m still working away (and crossing my fingers for the business to do better) at my full time job.  I’m still on the hunt for great books, although I haven’t found anything good since the last post.

But last weekend was hard.  One of our cats (I say “our” because she was technically my parents, but I had been taking care of her for the past two years.) had to be put down.  She was a wonderful cat, but at fourteen, she just got very sick.  I cried when the vet told us, but I didn’t want her to suffer.  She will be missed.

Class is keeping me busy.  We just read and discussed A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.  I liked it.  The structure, voice, and characters all made it for me.  My favorite chapter, “Ask Me If I Care”, just jumped off the pages.  I also love the flash forward moments too.  This seems to be a trend in literature today.  I’ve read a few other authors that practice this technique.  I haven’t tried this yet in my own fiction, but I am excited to try one day.

Speaking of writing, I’m suiting up for National Novel Writing Month.  Lately I’ve been feeling like I need more material.  I am a very slow writer, but now that I am in grad school, I feel like I need to have more material.  I just feel as if my body of work is too slim.  So I’m going to tackle something big next month.  I also have grand plans to finish a few other short stories I have started.   We will see how far I get.  Hopefully I will have something to show at the end of the year. *Crosses Fingers*

Best Book Scouting Day Ever!

So yesterday, I had an amazing day.  On 4th of July weekend 2011, I started seriously collecting books.  My main focus is scifi and horror by minority writers, but I also will pick up books by others that I really love that don’t fit into those categories.  In a little over a year, I have found some really good stuff.  Gems include:

  • Dawn by Octavia Butler (1St)
  • American Gods and Neverwhere (signed) by Neil Gaiman (both 1st)
  • Signed copies of Lady Oracle and Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood
  • Lion’s Blood (1st) by Steven Barnes
  • Signed copy of Invisible Sign of My Own by Amiee Bender (review copy)
  • 16 signed books of Roger Zelanzy
  • The Road (1st) by Cormac Mccarthy
  • All three Dragon Tattoo books (1st)
  • A few other books by Octavia Butler, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, and Samuel R. Delaney

Yes, this year has been good to me.  But yesterday I found a Fist Edition of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.  I am a huge Atwood fan and I lost my &!@% when I saw it on the shelf.  It is officially one of the most expensive books I have ever found.  So cool!

I needed the boost.  Not only is my company still on shakey ground, but it is very discouraging when you need to get your car repaired and it takes your whole paycheck.  But it had to be done.  Luckily I have perfected the art of living as a struggling artist, so I had the money to pay.  I just hate seeing it go out as soon as it comes in.

I have started my new semester at JHU.  So far so good.  Lots of reading this semester and I’m mixed in with some nonfiction students, so this is a new experience for me.  I even picked up a copy of Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking to read in between semesters.

I also picked up Infinite Jest to read over break.  Ambitious I know, but I’m feeling like I need to read more.  Just flipping through it intimidated the heck out of me.  So many dense passages!  But I may love it, so I will dive in head first in late December.

Wish me luck!


Good News!

The last few months have been so busy.  I ended up not moving, because my money situation is just not good.  Basically, the owner of my company is dealing with the uncertainty of the business climate.  So my 10% pay cut continues….

It is frustrating, because I want to get my own place again.  I miss having the privacy that I used to have.  But I guess I can be happy that I am saving money.  A one bedroom or studio would run me at least double what I am paying now.  And money will be even tighter now because….


After being admitted as a provisional student into Johns Hopkins last fall, I am now an official master’s degree candidate.
I am so excited to start.  I can’t stop smiling.  I really wanted this and it is nice to be on this journey.  I know this is going to be a lot of hard work, but I am ready.  I kept going back and forth about going back to school, but I know that this is the best decision for me now.  I already have one class under my belt, so let’s get going on the next semester.  Before I know it, I’ll have my MA in Writing.

In other (not so exciting, but still good) news, I have expanded my book collection nicely in the past month.  For a little over a year I have become a serious book collector.  I primarily collect scifi, fantasy, and horror by minority writers, but I also have a good amount of speculative literature by other writers.  One of these days I’m going to up load my library to  But that is a big project and right now it is all about school.

My mom says I am the book whisperer.

But it is looking more and more, like I will have to let go of some of my books.  Like I said before, money is tight.  There are a few I am not dying to keep, so they will probably go up for sale on amazon.  When they do, I will be sure to announce it here.  My few, but still awesome, readers will be sure to hear about the scoop first.

Working on new material too.  To early to tell any details, but this summer, I started plotting out a new novel.  It is strange, I didn’t think I had any more novels in me.  I wanted to focus more on my short fiction. But I just can’t picture this story as a short fiction piece.  I guess that will teach me to predict my own ideas…

So far, August has been very good to me.