Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Back to School: Dorina starts classes at Hollins
I've just completed my first week of classes at Hollins University in the MFA Children's Literature program. I was so excited to actually get back to school and immerse myself in this world of writing. Ericlee took this photo on my first day. I felt like a little kid again. I've always looked forward to my first day of school.
Hollins has that quaint, East Coast collegiate feel with brick buildings, white columns, perfectly cultivated flowers and trees and winding paths. A few of my favorite places on campus are the library's large porch complete with oversized rocking chairs and the third floor "napping loft" with its body pillows and ambient lamps. However, the week has been so busy there hasn't been much time for lounging since I'm juggling the jobs of student with mommy and wife this time around.
This is actually my second summer in the program. Ericlee and I were here two years ago and then we skipped last year because Meilani was only a few weeks old. I was able to continue my courses online and independent study. This summer I'm taking a Creative Writing tutorial class with author William "Chip" Miller and History of Children's Literare & Criticism with author Alexandria LaFaye.
I'm really enjoying these classes. My Creative Writing tutorial only has three students including myself. This is good news for a writing workshop because it means in three hours we get a lot of personal time to discuss our writing and get feedback from the other students and our teacher. Chip Miller is a laid-back, insightful guy. He's published 12 books - mostly multicultural picture books, which I was excited to hear. He's already been such an encouragement to me and given me some great tips on editors and publishers to send my work.
The History & Crit. course is required for all students. I was supposed to take it my first year but it didn't fit in the schedule. I'm happy to take it from Alexandria, who is responsible for me coming to Hollins in the first place. I took a class from her at the Fresno State Summer Arts program in 2004 and she recommended I look into Hollins. She's a self-proclaimed "egg head," meaning nerdy smart and wickedly funny. Her passion is historical fiction and cultural studies so once again she's a great connection to my interests.
I would say the biggest challenge is balancing my time. Ericlee and I have switched roles as he is primarily watching Meilani and I'm always leaving for work/school. I really have to discipline myself to be focused when I'm at school or working on homework and be completely dialed in when I'm spending time with the family. Meilani has been teething this week and running a consistent fever so it's hard not to feel bad when I have to leave her. I'm so grateful for Ericlee's willingness to concentrate on her and support me in pursuing my dreams.