May 16, 2004

What Does the Future Hold?

I figure I'm overdue for an update on our future plans considering I've been sitting on some information for a while, so here we go.

As many of you know, I applied to graduate schools this year for an MFA in creative writing. Unfortunately, I was not accepted by any of the graduate schools to which I applied. This was disappointing news, as I'm sure you can imagine. I felt that I had a strong application and chose a good mix of highly competitive and less competitive schools, but there were a few things working against me. First, I was really interested in small programs--I think the largest program I applied to accepted 25 people and the rest were under 10. Second, the completely subjective nature of creative writing is a challenge--getting accepted doesn't rely so much on the quality of your writing but how you manage to strike each reviewer. Third, with the economy in the shape it is, all graduate programs are packed with people out of work and looking to get ahead or follow their dreams. I think the junction of all of these factors was just too much to overcome for each of my applications.

That said, I can't deny it was a blow to my ego and confidence. I was pretty bummed about it for a couple of weeks, but I have had time to get over it. I have renewed my effort with my writing. I'm continuing to work on my novel and pursuing my writing career. As my very wise friend Dorothy said, "You don't need four walls and a professor to be a writer" and she's absolutely correct. My plan to be a full time published author is still on track and I also plan to continue taking workshops and classes as well as trying to find a good writer's group like the one I was in in San Jose.

So the question now is "where to go?" The Original Plan was to see where I got accepted to school and then move there, buy a house, and set up shop for a couple of years. With that having fallen through, we are pretty much free to go anywhere to live. With Kevin's work team here in Hamburg he's free to work remotely from anywhere, so our options are wide open.

After my 8 hellish educational years in the Midwest, I would most definitely like to live in California. After several heart to hearts about what we want for the near and distant future, we've decided that our number one priority is to buy a house. With this in mind, we're scouring the Internet to see what different locations have to offer us. San Jose is in the running, but with the housing prices there so high we are leaning away from it. We're looking into several cities in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. With my parents in LA and Kevin's in OC, not to mention a large collection of friends throughout the area, it's very appealing. We'd also like to be around the kids--Kevin's brother Zach who will be 13 in July, and our nieces Corie (8) and Seana (nearly 2).

But when will that be? We're not exactly sure. Kevin has been offered the opportunity to stay here in Hamburg for another 6 months. I'm still not sure how I feel about this--it's definitely not a light decision. The tax situation may be too much of an obstacle, however. We're allowed to work here for 6 months tax free, but it looks like if we do decide to stay we may be liable for a whole year of German taxes rather than just the 6 additional months. We're having an HR person run the numbers and see how that looks.

If we don't stay, our term is up at the end of July, which puts us back in the U.S. looking for a house in earnest at the beginning of August. So much is still up in the air that I really can't speculate further, except to say sorry Mary--I know Philadelphia has many fine things to offer but it's just not on our radar. I'll keep you, my faithful blog audience, updated when things become more firm.

Posted by Shelby at May 16, 2004 09:07 PM

Hey Shelby...

thats okay. *sigh* I sort of figured that Philly wasn't an option for you to settle in (at least not permanently).

of course - California is still a possibility for us, so you never know!


Posted by: Mary at May 17, 2004 06:41 PM
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