Monday, September 1, 2014

On the move again

Without much advance notice, I have relocated from Baltimore to Champaign, IL, for a graduate program in Stage Management. I'm getting a crash course in what it means to be going to school for theater (and realizing how much I still have to learn). I'm also re-acclimating myself to life in the Midwest after a four-year absence. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet, besides a little conflicted. It's refreshing to be somewhere a bit more peaceful, where I can smell the trees and the hints of the coming fall instead of just cement and traffic and the fried smell emanating from nearby restaurants, but readjusting to a slower pace of life may prove to be a challenge. School may help distract me from that though. I have 17 credits this semester plus an assistantship to catch up on hours-wise. Since I was admitted to the program so late, I missed most of the first week of classes while I packed and moved, but I feel like I'm getting a clearer picture of what I need to be doing and when. After this week, the picture should be clearer still.

I had no intention of returning to school so immediately (though I assumed I'd go back eventually), but this was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up. In a lot of ways, this program is the answer to my prayers in terms of wanting to avoid the 9-5 desk job, but a part of me wonders whether I wouldn't be better off just looking for some kind of job to start earning a regular income instead of diving into another degree. I think it's the same part of me that remembers the student loan debt looming from my last degree (though I don't plan to take out any more money, thanks to a fully-funded position with a living wage included). Some of my apprehension is definitely just a result of not taking a more "conventional" path, but I've always tried to avoid doing that anyway. My family and friends have been incredibly supportive, and in fact some of my Baltimore colleagues and friends most of all. I didn't get the residency in South Carolina that I mentioned previously, and the few writing/publishing-related job applications I did send in received no response, . 

I am admittedly a bit worried that maybe I won't like stage management; I don't have an incredibly large amount of experience in that area, after all, and don't yet know what all it involves. But it's a risk you take in any new endeavor, I suppose. And I will get access to some of the other elements of theater, including directing, design, and even play-writing, if I choose. I stand by what I've said elsewhere about theater being a powerful medium for telling a story, and one I want to explore. And I've had the feeling -- a premonition, even, perhaps -- over the last few months that my time in Baltimore was drawing to an end. I never imagined that I'd end up in Illinois (or at least, if I did, I would have assumed Chicago) but I feel like I'm settling in well, at least on campus, where things are already becoming familiar. My new apartment and neighborhood can only follow suit; if nothing else, I will find it continually delighting and comforting that the library -- a tie to my literary life and pursuits -- is less than two blocks away from my new home.