Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Jousting With Windmills; The Watch Is Over

My watch for the decision on my Vanderbilt MFA application is over. I have awakened from my dream. Don Quixote is no longer jousting with his windmills. It is time for me to move on.

Last night, i received a very polite notification i was not accepted for the Vanderbilt MFA program.

It was a long shot from the beginning, and i am okay with their decision. It was probably the right decision for Vanderbilt and the applicants who were accepted.

And after all, it was just a dream of an old man who has dreamed all of his life.

Vanderbilt, from my perspective, remains one of the most wonderful places on earth. It combines the best of academia with a confluence of the most wonderful people i have known outside of family. The MFA was my dream to correct the degree i should have earned but screwed up a half century ago by bad decisions and lack of focus and misplaced priorities. This effort was my attempt to correct that.

And now i will never be a certifiable member of the Vanderbilt cult, only an outsider looking in.

That is enough of my selfish whining. More importantly, i now must decide how i will take this rejection and make it better for me and all those around me. One impact is my writing will take another course. I may intensify my writing efforts. I may just let it take me where it wishes to take me. I may rest for a while and turn to other tasks awaiting me. I may work on my golf game.

For the next couple of days, i will wrestle with all of that. i have wrestled with worse.

In many ways, the results were good. For example, i can get on with me growing old.
Regardless, i have learned from the hunt even though i did not catch the elusive fox. It has even been fun.

I am in great appreciation for those who have joined me in the chase: Carla Neggers, Pete Toennies, Dave Carey, Bob Koenigs, and Amelia Hipps who submitted letters of recommendation in my behalf; Dave Young who provided me with great advice on changes, significantly improving my writing submissions; all of those who continued to offer me support and counsel about all aspects of the application process, in particular my wife Maureen, my two daughters Blythe and Sarah, my brother Joe, my sister-in-law Carla, my niece Kate, and Alan and Maren Hicks. And thanks cannot overlook the impact JB Leftwich has had on me since he became my mentor in journalism and provided me the impetus to write seriously over fifty years ago.

i am looking forward to getting on with it. Besides, i don’t have to move from my home in Bonita.

The poem below was the last of those i submitted in my application. Somehow it seems to fit my current situation.

Dreams and Innisfree

Mr. Yeats, that revolutionary son of a bitch,
wrote of the Isle of Innisfree,
creating yet another dream for me,
which i did not need for
i have dreamed all my life;
it’s time to put aside such distractions.

tomorrow, i will meet a young woman,
not needing some dreamer to interfere;
we will converse, enjoy our time
discussing possibilities
in the ambience of the avant garde eatery:
she will go away again,
forging her own path.

i will go home to
play my role,
subjugating my dreams;
it is time i gave up dreaming,
then that ole sum bitch Yeats
tempts me with Innisfree:
I will succumb and dream again.

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