Yes, it’s really true. My thesis is done, I passed my defense, and I’m going to graduate.
In the end, as always, I got it together. I wrote. I set aside the angst and obsessing and the panic and the fear, and I wrote. I was able to hand a workable thesis to my committee. No, I’m not happy with it, and no, as a novel, it is most definitely not finished. (It’s not even a complete first draft.) There are parts of it that totally suck. But it’s the biggest project I’ve ever attempted. It’s 150-some pages of fiction that I actually wrote. And I don’t hate it. (Well, I don’t hate it all the time, and that’s progress.)
Until my committee brought me back into the room to tell me I passed, I didn’t believe I would. But I did, and I’m going to graduate.
It was actually one of the best afternoons of my life — to sit in a room with my committee (and Molly, of course, my spectator-supporter) and talk about my writing, to engage with a community of writers about my own work — it was pretty incredible. It felt really good. The defense was a perfect capstone to my MFA years. It was a total rush.
Afterward I got to have lunch with awesome Amy — who also graduated this summer, and who defended her thesis yesterday, too — and Molly, at Newdle! A celebratory drink never tasted so good.
Molly and I just got back from ten days in San Fransisco. She was teaching at an LGBT summer institute held at the California Institute of Integral Studies. I was able to attend the institute and get inspired to be the best Intro to LGBT Studies instructor I can be — which was nice, since I am teaching Intro to LGBT Studies online right now, and I was teaching it during the trip. (Online teaching is amazing.) Robyn Ochs led a really transformative workshop on identity that has already led me to change how I teach my students about the supposed gay-straight dichotomy.
It turns out we were in San Fransisco — staying in an apartment in the Castro — the day the DOMA decision and Prop 8 were struck down. There was a rally in the streets that night, and the energy was amazing. I’ll never forget it. A couple days later we marched in the San Fransisco Pride parade, part of the Bradley Manning contingent. It felt great to engage in a little bit of activism. I made signs!
We managed to squeeze in some relaxation, shopping, incredible meals, socializing and some city park hiking during the trip. And, of course, my thesis was a presence, too, always being thought about or tweaked or obsessed over. Writing in a cafe on Church Street on a sunny afternoon was a pretty great experience.
Now it’s back home, kitties, the dog, the overgrown thicket that is our garden, and, of course, that thesis deadline looms…