Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Happy New (Thesis) Year!

Jenn Tatum

Warm Weather Drive

Warm Weather Drive

After the craziest flight ever, my trip back home to San Diego ended up being wonderful. I relaxed in the warm 60 degree weather, had a home-cooked meal every day, and got to spend time with family and friends that I hadn’t seen for a year.

I made a deal with myself that I would read and write while on vacation but that I wouldn’t feel bad if I didn’t. My goal is to write everyday, even if it means just a sentence or even a few words, but when I have a large amount of free time, I feel as if I need to be glued to my computer hammering out my thesis. After finishing a very busy semester, I decided that I would take until January 3rd to clear my mind and to just read and write at my leisure, which is exactly what I did.

I read small portions of Random Family by Adrian LeBlanc, and one night while browsing through one of my friend’s bookshelves I came across How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers, something that I have had on my reading list for awhile now. I got excited and was promptly sent home with another book to read. Now that I’m back home, the new year is here, and I’m settled again, I’ve been reading both books trying to clear my mind a bit before I begin restructuring and revising my thesis, which is due in early March. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.

Delicious Treats

Delicious Treats

That’s why I needed to relax. I wrote a few paragraphs, a few scattered lines here and there while in someone’s car or on the plane—typing into my phone, sending myself reminders, and scribbling in my notebook whenever something popped into my mind. Instead of spending the last two weeks stressing about my upcoming deadline, I watched romantic comedies and, like I said before, I ate and slept. I also pulled my childhood dollhouse out of storage and put it back together, which is no small task and something I’ve decided to write about.

I decided to crack open my notebook today, to just write about my adventures back in San Diego. My thesis deals with structures, families, and childhood, and it was a treat to go back home and see my mom’s new house, since lately I have been writing about all of our old houses. It was especially interesting to put my dollhouse back together, to study the little lego-like people and all of the tiny furniture. The trip, the house, seeing my family now, and reflecting on our holidays in the past really did give me a bit of inspiration to pick my pen back up and break out my notebook.

Childhood Dollhouse

Childhood Dollhouse

I’m excited to break out all of my revisions, my scraps of paper, and peel old essays off of my walls and sew them all back together. This semester should be an interesting one, as all of my coursework is done and I’m only teaching one class. The Creative Writing -Nonfiction MFA program allows for an entire semester, without coursework, for us to work with our thesis advisers and really focus on our final piece of writing. I’m sure I’ll be a madwoman at every coffee shop and library in town until this thing is finished, but I am glad that the program allows me this very valuable amount of time to focus solely on my writing, without the distraction of other coursework.

By the end of this journey, I’ll need another ten days in San Diego. Family and friends, I’ll be seeing you much sooner this time!

Happy New (Thesis) Year!

After the craziest flight ever, my trip back home to San Diego ended up being wonderful. I relaxed in the warm 60 degree weather, had a home-cooked meal every day, …

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

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