Shortly before I left for Taiwan, I was having ramen with Marcus, and he asked how the MFA was going. It was a somewhat rushed meeting in a trendy ramen shop, since I was leaving for Taiwan the next day and Marcus has work on his third (THIRD!) book, all of which would deeply impress our twenty-something selves. But anyway, the MFA.

It’s hard. I usually consider myself a pretty productive writer. I’ve been blogging since 2005, and I published my first game essay in 2006. (That magazine is now defunct, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t my fault.) I usually have work going on for game clients, other work for editors, personal creative pieces, blogging here, and my endless private journals. But I don’t produce nearly as much as my classmates. The quality of what I do write is average at best. This isn’t one of those false-modesty things, it’s a legit comparison to my classmates’ work.

And it’s that’s hard too, because I can’t work out how to look at bad grades or bad responses in workshops without falling into the pit of how I’m actually a terrible writer, I’m going to fail everything, and any success up until now has just been a fluke.  Washing out of the program is a reasonable fear, and I can’t work out how to accept that some people in my classes are not going to make it without deciding that I’m going to be one of them, because I’m actually a terrible writer, I’m going to fail everything, and even getting accepted in the first place was a mistake.

This is also the same conversation when The Interestings came up, and Marcus said he thought Jules was kind of mean. I felt like I’d left my diary open, since I empathise so deeply with Jules, and when I read this book, I basically pictured young Ethan as a twenty-something Marcus.  I guess this novel meant so much to me that I kind of own it, and I forgot that other people can read books too.

“Shut up!” I said, “It’s not her fault! Jules is just talented enough to know she’s not as talented as her friends. Everything is really hard for Jules.” So there’s that.

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3 Responses to Interestings

  1. Kris in China says:

    Random rare blog comment:
    Speaking of “knowing someone” — I moved to Yantai in Oct 2015 and found your blog in a search for info about my new home. I binge-read all of your posts and carried an encapsulated avatar of you in my head for several months as I compared a decade of growth [Chinese-style growth, at that] to your impressions. Yantai is certainly does not resemble its aught-5 self, although it is still a “backwater of 9 million.”

    • Meg says:

      Hi Kris,

      That’s so great to hear, I’m so glad my Yantai posts meant something to you!

      Are you still there? I’d love to hear about 2017 Yantai!

      • Kris, Still in YanTai says:

        I checked my email & junk folder- I never got a notification that you’d replied!

        Still in YanTai.

        In education news, there are four K-12 and one 7-12 non-Korean International Schools struggling along with 70/ 150/ 300/ 450 students. There are at least as many Korean schools, with an order of magnitude more students.
        Recently the rumor mill has begun spitting out info that a “Dutch Company” [I think Shell’s conglomerate] will move 200 families here in the next 18mo and start their own school.

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