So in February 2006, I was accepted into a graduate school program for a MFA, in creative fiction--my only avenue--as writing poetry is mere therapy regarding death and the dead. Yep, I saved the letter because I am still so proud of myself. I have always been curious as to which of my pieces secured the deal: one of my two short stories OR the excerpt from my book titled Bottom Rail. Shawna was generous enough with her time to critique the novel excerpt long before I submitted it with grad school apps. It came back to me with a lot of "wcs" and some question marks. Thanks Shawna. Overall, I have still waited to feel regret in turning down this great offer. What did I choose instead...could there be anything to keep me from it...yes, homeownership and ... love. Love can be mobile, but unless you live in a trailer or mobile home, moving an entire house is impossible, I suppose. It just wasn't feasible. Sounds a little spazzy, right? It should.
Dear Renee Osborne:
Having just read the writing samples of all our MFA applicants, I couldn't wait to tell you how impressed I am by your writing and how enthusiastic I feel about having you as a student.
You will shortly be receiving our formal offer of acceptance, but I also wanted to let you know immediately that your writing sample puts you in the small top bracket of serious contenders for the Dickey Fellowship in Fiction. (The award will be decided by further committee meetings and votes.)
Our MFA program offers a mixture of rigorous mentoring and fun, with lively dynamics in class, a student-run literary magazine, regular venues for poetry and fiction readings by students in pub and bistro settings, and visits and advice from major writers and from my own New York literary agent.
We have a very beautiful campus at the University of South Carolina, with a core of graceful antebellum buildings and spreading live-oaks around a central park (the "horseshoe") in a city with the usual advantages of a vibrant university town: restaurants, night clubs, theater, concerts. And in addition, we are only a two-hour drive in one direction to the fabulous city of Charleston and the beautiful Carolina coast, and a two-hour drive to the mountains in the other direction.
I'm excited by your writing. I hope you'll be excited about coming here. Sincerely, Janette Turner Hospital Director of MFA Fiction
Janette Turner Hospital Carolina Distinguished Professor Department of English University of South Carolina Columbia SC 29208 Ph: (803) 777 4203 Fax: (803) 777 9064 email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.janetteturnerhospital.com
Dear Ms. Osborne,
A letter from me will be arriving in the mail soon offering admission to our MFA program and Graduate Assistantships for three years of study in the Department of English.
First, let me congratulate you on getting the attention of such keen readers as Janette Hospital and Elise Blackwell. They do not give praise unless they absolutely mean it. I do hope that you come to South Carolina. We have a fine and growing MFA program, and I am sure that you will have fruitful interactions with the rest of the English department and the university at large.
We are offering a Graduate Instructional Assistantship to you for your first year of study that involves limited teaching or tutorial service and pays $6,000 for the academic year. Given adequate academic progress, we will offer Graduate Teaching Assistantships to you for your second and third years in the MFA program; they will pay at least $12,000 each academic year. Also, during each of your three years of study you will receive 1) the in-state tuition rate (next year in-state tuition will be $385 per credit hour) and, more importantly, 2) asubstantial abatement of your actual tuition costs figured at that rate. Indeed, we will be able to pay all or nearly all of your tuition on up to 18 credit hours for the first year (18 hours is the normal course load for the first year; 15 and 12 hours are the normal loads for the second and third years). We have every intention of covering all or nearly all of your tuition for your second and third years as well.
Please contact me if you have any questions about finances or other things having to do with the English department in general.
With best wishes.
Andrew Shifflett Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature Department of English 1620 College Street University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208 Email: email@example.com Phone: 803-777-5063
and finally...i hit send
I apologize for taking so much time accepting your offer as graduate student at U. South Carolina. At this time I must decline due to important, personal reasons: I purchased a home at the end of last year, not anticipating acceptance to any graduate program, and I am in a committed relationship. I do want to inform you however that your university was my top choice and was the most attractive----geared towards my goal and vision as a writer. I hope the student who takes my spot does the program well and sets it nicely on the best writing program plateau. If you have any questions for me, please do not hesitate to contact me. Should I have less commitments in the future and the freedom to relocate, I will apply again.
Thank you for consideration and the best offer I will ever receive.
Evy'an Renee Osborne
Love as abstract of the word it is has proven to be fine, homeownership is ok, even as we build and repair stuff---we protect our little haven of privacy. However, I continue to await the moment of regret, but so far, it has felt simple, just as simple as cutting those dreads.
It's May 2012 and nothing has changed since November.11. I am all smiles at my relationship and myself. My honey and I continue to amaze each other on a daily basis. We're still ever so 'in' with each other. I completed my MA in literature last May and I'm teaching four college English courses to really smart students. I am hopeful to enter a doctorate program soon. This way, I can run out.All is scary good.
upon hearing your voice life again expands like moon crest like pomegranates swell to the sun and you are patient because god calls
when he came for you this morning you were bent into the flower bed singing black hymns so he left you alone until this third afternoon but even then he found you elbow deep in jewel weed with a mouthful of figs from a nearby tree again he waited because each time seemed to him an inconvenience and a wrong moment
and it was your persistent humming that drove him up and back until he could get his timing perfect he waited another day or so until
your gardening tools rest into porch corners your paring knife shines deeply into a drawer your hair comb lies slanted in a shoebox your wedding band hides in the mattress your fishing rod stays stolen
the sound of your voice desires to sing or hum but this time is perfect he has covered you like lavender-colored silence but he has also added streaks of olive green and pink because this is what the other soul-folk has told him to do and he has become tired in the process and therefore begins to rush sonances of your body he finds you the least complex when you are not outdoors digging in that garden, humming hymns and thriving and for a moment he questions his own timing its perfection and everything goes accordingly until he finds you have buried fruit peels and wandering jew petals underneath your back this does not anger him but it tilts his agility to deliver you and in his own questioning and presence of smells that he cannot privilege all this over powers his choice all this reels his otherwise perfection into letting you go
when i see you sitting in the plush squares of limitless St. Augustine your eyes are lit like crystal warmed soil releases from each of your hands
how did i get to this point this point of knowing you for you are nearly a century old