There came this point last year where I felt I had to make a decision about somethings I had been avoiding. Chiefly, should I or should I not pursue a MFA program. I’ve been thinking about it for a few years now but something else always distracted me, things like family and the books I was already writing.
Several of my friends have completed long-distance MFA programs, usually through Spalding’s low-residency program. It’s a terrific program and had I decided to pursue the MFA I likely would have chosen this route. But being an OSU grad already, I did check out OSU’s MFA program in Central Oregon as well.
Ultimately, however, I decided not to get the MFA. As one academic adviser so bluntly put it: Why would you?
I was already working as an adjunct at a university. My eighth book is due out in September. I have two more I am working on. I have taught off and on for years. Over the past two years, we’ve become grandparents to three grandsons. Life feels pretty full already.
So weighing the pros and cons, I decided nope, I didn’t want to invest the time it would take to earn the MFA. So instead, I returned to grad school in January to study something that I was truly interested in: Literacy.
Maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t been blogging as much? That’s because I’ve been devoting my time to writing grad papers, designing curriculum, and generally studying the ways in which people learn reading and why there is such a growing reading gap in this nation:
I turned in my final project paper last week. Two full terms of grad school courses and two 4.0s later and I’m wondering if we all wouldn’t be better students in our 50s than we are in our 20s. All these years of writing have given me the focus I lacked as an undergrad.
Of course, I was pursuing these courses for a reason. I wanted to spend this next season of life doing something in addition to writing books. Writing is a very isolating pursuit. While I love writing, I don’t love the isolation that goes with a writer’s life.
So I decided to do something about that.
I’m returning to the classroom this September. Not as a student, but as a teacher. I’ll be working at a nearby high school (Umatilla), teaching English Comp to blended classes of juniors and seniors, as well as some Honors English (rumor has it 36 students are signed up for that class alone).
Yes. It is true. I do have a book coming out in September as well, and the stage play of Mother of Rain debuts in April of 2016. So you can well imagine that the blogging may continue to be erratic.
And you may have heard a rumor that Tim is retiring from his job at Hermiston High. That’s no rumor. It’s true. He isn’t going anywhere, however. He’s going to be teaching and coaching for Irrigon this coming year.
Not since we were in our 20s have Tim and I faced so many life changes at once. It feels right and good and we are both looking forward to the adventure.
There will be crazy moments for sure, but then again, crazy has always been a trademark of our household.
We just embrace the craziness. It gives everyone who knows us (and especially those who don’t) something to talk about.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of the forthcoming Burdy, Mercer University Press.
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.