Teaching is not conducive to writing. I have come to this conclusion after three years of in-depth research, research that was entirely unnecessary but which, having been completed, bestows on me the authority to say that teaching is most definitely not conducive to writing. A good friend of mine reminded me of this fact last week when he wrote concerning a recent decision I've made: "What do you need an MFA for? You want to teach? Cyril Conelly once said that teaching had killed more writers than alcohol had--no small feat." Alcohol having never really been my thing, I suppose that leaves me with death by teaching, an option that I find entirely plausible, though not preferable. I'm not quite ready for the writer in me to head to that great used book store in the sky. I'm not done with her yet; that's why I've applied to an MFA program.
Part of me says that this scheme is entirely laughable, after all, I'm forty-three and have been out of school for nineteen years, I'm working a full-time job that requires more than full-time hours, and in one more year The Older Daughter will be filling out her own college applications. Nevertheless, there are reasons to try, as well: I have to have a certain number of professional development hours each year to maintain my teaching certification, hours which might as well count toward a degree; an MFA will allow me to teach per course or eventually even full-time at the college level should I ever change my mind about teaching high school; and I feel rusty and definitely lack discipline in my writing habits, so the challenge and accountability of a graduate program will be good. Ever since I have known there was such a thing, the MFA has been the degree I've wanted badly enough to be afraid of, even if it might kill me.
The application has been dispatched. Now I wait. We'll see what kills me first.