Defended!

I just successfully defended my thesis.

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.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my thesis committee: Chris Barzak, Eric Wasserman and Catherine Wing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are awesome.

San Fran.

Myself and Molly at the DOMA decision day rally in the Castro!
Myself and Molly at the DOMA decision day rally in the Castro!

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…