Ladies and gentlemen, I need to be honest with you. I am a hobby freak. Just within the last year I made a short film, took a singing class, bought a new watercolor set, indulged in various paper crafts, jewelry making and am currently teaching myself how to play the baritone ukulele. I don't say these things to impress you. (As if anyone could be impressed by my clumsy string plucking or sloppy paper folding!) To be completely honest all this hobbying is kind of frustrating, expensive and time consuming. The worst part, though, is that after I hit one little success in my hobby I'm off to my next new thing and won't return to the hobby I had been working so hard to master for months, perhaps even years. I've been doing this since I started college, when I was presented with unsupervised free time and bank account. I bought scads of fabric for (mostly unsuccessful) dress making, piano charts for songs I still can't play, a Food Network cookbook that I have opened only once, a tennis racket that has spent most of its life in the trunk of my car, among many other silly and strange things.
So far in my life I have only run into a few "hobbies" that I just can't get rid of: writing, spirituality and feminism. If those three things occupy the majority of my time, energy, thoughts and money, then what in the hell am I doing with a henna kit and a "how to draw manga" book? I'm not exactly sure yet, but recently I have been affirmed in my obsessive search for an obsession. When I was applying to Hollins, I found a little passage on their MFA website:
[W]e are pleased to see someone’s got obsessions. Fly-fishing, quilting, medieval Japan, the Fibonacci series, Indian motorcycles, goats, progressive jazz, the Appalachian trail, whatever—if there’s something out there in the world a student finds compelling, we feel hopeful. If it’s several somethings, even better.Now, I always knew a strong sense of curiosity in the world around you is a sign of life in a writer. Even better, there's a grad program out there that wants me to be more than a writing machine. That's a heavy task to take on. I've always felt uneasy about taking on the persona of "the writer." That label conjures up images of somebody hunched over their laptop, moodily jabbing the keys and screening phone calls with the thought don't they know I'm writing? While I have been known to lock myself in my room from time to time, I am not just a writer. I am a woman who writes and has way too many art supplies for her own good. Maybe one day all of the experiences of pricking myself with needles, setting off the fire alarm in my apartment building and my misadventures with the tennis wall will come together in an elegant and coherent essay, but for now I am happy that these a simply signs of a healthy writer's life.