Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Live With Your Writing

Jenn Tatum

Live With Your Writing 5

Live With Your Writing 5

I just had my final thesis meeting of the semester. I’ve submitted 90 or so pages out of the 120 page requirement, and now I’m working on generating the last few essays, as well as polishing what I’ve already submitted.

Is winter break here yet? Almost. One more month and my schedule will be much freer, allowing me to squeeze in more writing, to just have a little room to soak it all in and, as Aviya Kushner told me to do, “to really live with my writing.”

One of the best pieces of advice I have been given so far during the thesis process is  “to really live with my writing.” My writing exists in journals and on my laptop, in various pieces of paper stacked on and under my nightstand and strewn about my apartment. I do live surrounded by my writing, but I’m not living with it. So, I decided to change that.

I came home after Thesis Development workshop and cut all of my essays into pieces—just hacked them right up. I broke out the tape and began taping pieces of my writing everywhere in my apartment. On the kitchen cabinets, on the mirror in the closet, in the entrance to my apartment, above my bed, attached to my bookshelf (which I use as a headboard). Now, I can firmly say that I am living with my writing. It feels good. Kind of creepy, because some of the things I have written I don’t want staring me in the face everyday. But, I know that this is what I need.

Live With Your Writing 7

Live With Your Writing 7

I need my writing to stare me in the face when I’m plucking my eyebrows, when I’m doing the dishes, when I’m digging around in the refrigerator for a snack. I need it everywhere—to surround myself with what I have written over the past two and a half years, to just stare at it. Perhaps, after a little living with my writing, I will begin to see the project in its entirety.

This is how I envision it: One day, while scrubbing pasta out of a pot, I’ll look up and BAM! I’ll rip a piece of my writing off of the cabinet, the one that holds all of my glasses, and go YES!, this is where the book starts or this is the last essay, I just know it.

Live With Your Writing 3

Live With Your Writing 3

Yes, that is how I envision it.

Perhaps there’s a starting point in the living—a new place to begin. A fresh start for my revisions.

Perhaps. We’ll see.

We’ll see what living with my writing will make of my thesis.

Live With Your Writing

I just had my final thesis meeting of the semester. I’ve submitted 90 or so pages out of the 120 page requirement, and now I’m working on generating the last …

Creative Writing - Nonfiction MFA Jenn Tatum, jtatumcotamagana@colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605