Monday, July 10, 2006

"I can't believe I'm not bleeding" my all-true, incredibly personal, totally unwriteable story

Transcripts sent? Check. Financial Aid forms submitted? Check. Contacts within the university and specific departments of interest? Check. Glowing yet sincere letters of recommendation from a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, and an executive director of a non-profit who just so happens to be a priest? Double check.

Actual application submitted? Of course not. Why? Because of the essay. I cannot write the essay. I want it to be perfect. I want it to be Hemingway and Shakespeare and P.G. freakin' Wodehouse all in one.

"Describe your background and interests. Explain why you wish to pursue the degree for which you are applying and what you hope to accomplish in this degree program. (1 - 2 pages)"


I've got a great story, too. I mean, I'd buy it at an airport. It's got everything.

Poor little rich girl traumatized by the events of her youth is shocked to discover a God she had never believed in was suddenly very real and wanting her to do something. She didn't know what. Overcome by wonder and the sense of true hope for the first time in her life she leaves her abusive family and starts a new life in a rural Virginia town and yet beneath the surface, a well of disease bubbled inside her. One November evening she collapses in a hotel lobby, a bloody glazed-eyed mess. She is forced to leave school and spend the following two years convalescing in the home of her grandparents, 2000 miles away from everything she ever knew.

Slowly she heals and makes a life for herself in this new town, she meets an older man --a philosopher and mystic-- and because stories like these must have romance she falls in love. On a non-descript summer morning three years later the healthy but unhealed girl wakes with a deep feeling of nebulous impending doom. She is powerfully drawn to walk the labyrinth of a strange church in an unknown part of the city. It is there at 12:30 in the afternoon of August the 10th she is struck down and receives in ecstasy what Teresa of Avila described as the Wound of Love. She is transported by joy, crumbled in gratitude and overwhelmed by an ineffable love. Her one clear thought? "I can't believe I'm not bleeding."

That afternoon she receives a five word email from her older man --the one who had played priest and Pygmalion for so many years-- "I've met someone else. Goodbye."

What happens next? Where does she go?

She goes where she's been called.

and that, friends, is where the real story beings.

10 Comments:

Blogger hipastorzwife2B said...

Ummm. Change those all of the Shes to Is and mail it!

2:27 PM  
Blogger Rachel's Big Dunk said...

I say send it exactly as it is.

What a great story.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Carol Leslie Hargis said...

My beloved Glen asked me to read your story. "Wow"!
It was almost enough to send me to divinity school! After you add the "what you hope to accomplish" paragraph, send it. What could you possibly write that would be more heartfelt? I expect that those seminary types will appreciate your passion -- in fact, isn't that a requirement in religion?

4:34 PM  
Blogger revabi said...

concur with hipastorzwife2b and rachel. Send it. i would buy it too. Great story. Perhaps you are bleeding in a whole new way. I don't know what I am saying.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Glen said...

Just so you'll know, Rhiannon ...
Dear Carol (comment number three) has been in the publishing business since birth. If something impresses her, it is very good indeed.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Geezow,girl! Cut and print. Send it.

12:48 AM  
Blogger see-through faith said...

go girl, go ....

12:29 AM  
Blogger LutheranChik said...

I'm already waiting for the sequel!

6:45 AM  
Anonymous towanda said...

I had the same problem...in fact I got a letter from admissions telling me all my references were in and was I still actually planning to apply? I got through my writer's block and here I am a year later, through one year of seminary. You can do it! Your story is sacred, even if you have to leave stuff out for a committee. And I second the other folks who say to send what you've posted here, it's terrific.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Ciaviel said...

Send it! (came over here from revgalblogpals) I'm a doctorate student, so I know all about entrance application essays. You want something short, to the point, and something that'll grab them. That'll do it. If it doesn't that school isn't worth being at, because they're nuts.

12:52 PM  

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