Today was such a great day! A run-down of all the coolness:
- First, I attended a reading by Andrew Porter at my alma mater. My favorite professor talked about this event for months prior to my graduation, so it had been on my calendar for, well, months. At the last minute, I almost skipped it because of all the details I need to wrap up before the house goes on the market on Friday. But I did go, and I am so, so glad. Porter, a recent winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for his book, The Theory of Light and Matter, was, in short, brilliant. Not only was his prose moving, but he both read well and spoke engagingly. He answered questions thoroughly and, in my mind, generously. He was very humble too. It was quite inspiring! If you like short stories, definitely check out his book. Even better, if he’s speaking near you on his present book tour, GO. I can’t wait to dig into my newly-signed copy!
- Second, this gave me an opportunity to reconnect with a couple of my professors. One even recommended some local creative writing classes. I have the writing itch, and I think it’s time to explore it.
- Finally — this is the best part — my favorite professor introduced me to Porter as the school’s Distinguished English Major of the year. Whoah. What?! My shock must have been obvious. The classic, “Oh, you hadn’t heard? Maybe you’re not supposed to know. Don’t tell anyone I said anything” followed. Later today, though, another professor called to confirm the award. <squeal!> Even though I graduated in December, I’m supposed to return to the April Honors Convocation for recognition. Apparently, a cash prize is involved too, though I don’t know how much.
As great as all of this was, it raises a pesky problem. My professors are urging me to apply for Ph.D. programs, and, gosh darn it, I’m having a hard time resisting. If, by some miracle, I got into Rice’s program, for example, I’d be done in only 5 years and with zero loans. Yup, if you make it into Rice (and some other schools), they pay your way. <swoon> The English department chair at my school got her doctorate from Rice, and she’s promising me a glowing letter of recommendation.
What’s a girl to do?! Why does it all feel so much more complicated as a woman? Most days, I want to have children. But do I really want to wait until I’m 30 and my husband’s 35 to start trying for a family? I think not. Yet, it’s hard to walk away from exciting opportunities. And it’s almost excruciating when people you admire tell you it would be a waste if you didn’t do such-and-such. I do have other important women in my life telling me it’s okay to wait on the career — that I can get my Ph.D. later and teach literature after I’ve raised my children. So maybe I’ll just take a deep breath, support my husband in his graduate school ambitions, and see how I can explore other opportunities in the meantime.