My essay, my writing sample for both schools were similar, but not the same. Still, working from the first was easier than working from scratch. I rewrote my essay to Lesley, which had to be much shorter than Bennington's. As any writer knows, shortening is always harder than proliferating. I got it done though, working with the same determination I had been for the previous months when I began to work on my Bennington application.
Because I write in three forms, fiction, non-fiction and poetry, I felt the need to represent all three in my application to Bennington, in spite of the fact that I was applying only in Non-Fiction. At Lesley I was allowed to apply in however many fields I chose, and so I decided to apply in Non-Fiction and Poetry. I believed my work in fiction, though more plentiful, was my weakest. This was a hard choice. On one hand I wanted to get in, and felt that I should represent my best work to better ensure admission. However, I want to enter a writing program to improve my work, and really wanted to work in the area that I felt was weakest.
The truth, though, that I always have to return to, is that my fiction pieces are primarily biomythographies. Part of my writing of fiction is related to my love for the genre, part of it is my desire to hide behind it. It's so much easier to tell certain stories to the world and pretend you aren't talking of yourself. Fiction for me is akin to that "friend" we always get advice for. Maybe, I had to admit, the reason my fiction is so much weaker is because I have yet to have a fictious story to tell. Maybe I need to tell my story and get on with it, own up to it.
Aside: The samples of non-fiction were excerpts from a memoir I've been working on called Honest: A Break Up Memoir. I originally pedalled it as a novel. One of my readers challenged me as such: "It seems more like a true story than fiction..." What was I to say? I decided to just girl up and brave it out. Now, year having passed, since the incidents detailed, it seems a bit easier to do, but only with that memoir. I had to battle against the urge to write yet my next difficult story into a work of fiction, but that's a later post...
Bennington required I think 20 to 25 pages of non-fiction. What I decided to do (risky) was submit 20 pages of non-fiction, three pages of fiction and three poems (two pages). I figured, if they discarded the extraneous items, I'd still have submitted the minimum, that with those items I did not exceed the maximum number of pages, and that if they reviewed the materials, they would give insight into my particular style of writing. But, of course, this well thought out sample did not get submitted.
For my application to Lesley, I met the maximum number of required pages in both non-fiction and poetry. They allow you to submit both in one application. I refrained from submitting in fiction also. Sometimes I regret this. It would have been informing, the reaction from the review team. But now it's too late for that, right? Kinda.
I went to Teddy, my second recommender, taking the form and having him complete it on the spot. He sealed it, and I mailed it. Nehassaiu mailed her recommendation, and I mailed my application.
I want to say that, while I was working out my whole writing sample concern, I did call the school. I spoke with several people and they were terrific about answering my questions and providing me with information I didn't know I needed. They did let me know, however, that I was a bit on the late side for June consideration. I rushed my packet out.
I have to say that there is something to be said for that feeling. I took that hefty envelope to the post office, they weighed it and I paid to have it delivered. I left the weight of years of hesitation and self doubt on that post office scale. I had taken a long desired step toward a future scribed with deep blu letters.