Monday, November 30, 2009

Max Duncan, Literary Giant

In case you're wondering, the previous post is indeed a story dictated by my story-tellin' son, Maxwell Isaiah Duncan. Getting into the family business already . . .

Max and Dad, Kamen Riders by Max Duncan

Max and Dad wanted to go outside to fish with their own fishing rods. When it was night, they went to bed and went to sleep and when they woke up in the morning they wanted to fish again. When they saw their skin they got so scared of their skin that they tried to get it off but it wouldn’t come off because it was hero skin!

When Max saw himself he looked like a knight from his favorite TV show and his Dad didn’t know what it was. It was called ‘Kamen Rider’ and when Max saw what it was he knew what it was. It was called ‘Strike Knight.’ When Max saw his Dad his Dad looked like ‘Thrust Knight.’ When they saw different cards, Max started to look like his Dad. Then Max started to look like his brother Finn, who was ‘Sting Knight.’ Max’s Dad started to look like his son Leo who was ‘Wing Knight.’

When Leo and Max did ‘Kamen Rider’ training, Max won and Leo hit his back on a wall and erased away. Then guns came drifting down from the sky that go on ‘Torque Knight’s’ shoulders. Max’s Dad decided to keep them.

Something drifted down from the sky. It was ‘Siren Knight’s’ sword, and Max decided to have it. And then something else drifted down from the sky. It was ‘Siren Knight’s’ staff, and Max’s Dad decided to keep it.

The ‘Dragon Knight’ that Clem is, is red. There was another ‘Dragon Knight’ that wanted to fight Clem. This one was called ‘Shadow Dragon Knight.’ They had a surprise. Four of the decks had persons from inside and first came Finn, Mom, Clem and Leo. Then they started attacking Max and Dad. General Zaviax tricked them. General Zaviax made them come back. When they got General Zaviax out of Kamen Rider Ray, they put him back together in his regular Kamen Rider form. And then when they started fighting four of them they tried and tried and Max and Dad won! When they erased away again the older son knew how to bring them back and they all attacked General Zaviax and they put him back in his home.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

MFA Anxiety

Microsoft Office is downloading an update to the ol' computer. So I'm going to flex my writing muscles on the blog this morning. This has been a jam-packed semester, so blogging has been a low priority for the last couple of months. Now, though, I'm going to take advantage of this lull to blog about my anxieties. Hooray!!!

Things are going fairly well for my MFA application process at this point. The GRE is over and done with, I have two out of three people I need to recommend me, and I'm actually staying on top of the process. I have two stories I like and am working on a third. All of these are good.

However . . . I am constantly having to pray about the subjectivity of MFA admissions. You can write an excellent story, but if the wrong people don't like your stuff, you're out of luck. In a recent article in Poets and Writers Benjamin Percy (an excellent writer, in my opinion) mentioned that one of his stories was rejected for publication 39 times. Once it was finally published, Salman Rushdie picked it as an honorable mention for Best American Short Stories. That was a happy ending for Benjamin, but my mind keeps going back to the strong possibility that I won't have a 'Salman Rusdie.'

I suppose it's a good thing that these thoughts move me to pray, but I think it would be better to just not be anxious. "Be anxious for nothing" and all that. I think the anxiety rises from a few sources:

1. I've never been this uncertain about applying for anything. I was quite certain I would get into my undergrad schools and seminary. But for MFAs there are so many applicants and so few slots nationwide that the percentages are against me.

2. I've never wanted something as much as I want this, career-wise. This is the path I want to take, so not getting into the MFA would be a blow.

3. I don't have a good solid idea for what I would do in the immediate aftermath of 14 rejection letters. I reckon it would involve a hasty retreat to West Virginia, but what then? Apply again? Distance programs, maybe? What do I do in the meantime? I can teach, but how many jobs are there available for chaps like me?

All that said, I do have good reasons not to be anxious. I believe God called me in the direction of writing. That doesn't mean that I'm guaranteed an MFA slot, but it does mean that God is taking care of me. God surprises us sometimes (surprise, Paul! You've been bitten by a venomous snake!) but then he surprises again with his deliverance (the venom won't harm you. Surprise again!).

Thanks, God. I feel better.