• Karis Rogerson

The precarious magic of life & writing

Last week I started my MFA program, and after six workshops on magic systems and real-life magic, it occurred to me that there's a magic in the timing of our lives.


The thing to know is, I was supposed to already have a master's degree. Right after college, I was accepted in NYU's journalism MA program for three semesters of learning all about journalism in the real world. I didn't even consider going for my MFA in creative writing at that time. And then I dropped out. And I reevaluated my whole life.


I wondered — was I really meant to be a journalist? I had life crisis after identity crisis after depressive episode. And in early 2018, I applied to the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA)'s MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults. I was supposed to start the program in July, 2018.


It's January, 2022. And I'm just getting started. So what happened?


Magic.


Or rather, life got in the way back in 2018. I was a full-time contractor for a public safety app on the overnight shift in July, 2018. I didn't have paid time off and I didn't have a daytime schedule and I didn't even have a home, honestly. I couldn't commit to a 10-day residency, much less 25 hours a week to schoolwork. I could barely read that year, much less read 8-12 books a month.


The timing wasn't right. And so, I let this dream slip through my fingers. And then last July I woke up one day and decided I want to get my MFA after all. I was about to quit the job that had taken up so much of my life and brain-space for the past 3.5 years, and I didn't know what was to come.


In addition, I felt like my writing was stagnating. I was querying unsuccessfully and feeling a lack. So I applied to VCFA. And to my shock and surprise, I got in. I paid my deposit. I went to the orientation sessions. And then, on Jan. 11, I started residency.


It still doesn't feel real — it feels like a fever dream, actually. But it is real. I was paired with an advisor. I've taken out loans. I have a cohort full of friends. I'm doing this.


So many times during the past 10 days, I thought — how perfect is the timing of this?? If I had started in 2018, I wouldn't have met the amazing cohort I'm a part of. I wouldn't have had the chance to learn from some of the faculty, who are new (my advisor is in her second semester as faculty, so I wouldn't have had the chance to learn from her!). I wouldn't have had the experiences I have had and will have.


In my workshop, I had a revelation about writing and the magic that follows the very process of writing. It can feel scary sometimes, to realize that if I'd written my favorite scene a day earlier or week later, it would have turned out different. It can feel...precarious.


If I reframe my mind to think of it as a form of magic, the magic that undergirds the world and is a current running through reality, well...it feels a lot better. It's still a little random, a little precarious, but it's delightfully so. It's magic.


I'm starting my MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults. It's not the path nor the timing I thought my grad degree journey would take. But I do think it's perfect.

14 views

Recent Posts

See All

Don't miss

my newsletter

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter