I've just handed in my MFA screed. This gave me no sense of satisfaction, nor do I consider it something to celebrate.
Unfortunately, the nightmare is not over yet. After a period of time that isn't quite clear, I'll get back two examiners' reports: one internal and one external. I get the impression the staff are a bit worried about what the external examiner will make of it. It seems that experimentation with the form is not encouraged (in the so-called 'experimental laboratory of ideas'! Ha!). They seem to want something standardised and familiar, something conventional. That's conservative academia for you, I suppose.
Last week, a staff-member contacted me for some last-minute feedback. There were several useful suggestions, and others that were less so. The marked-up copy of the draft I got back was pretty depressing reading. It was also my first indication of how the examiners will approach it. What was the line I was told? Something like 'the danger is they'll write you off as stream-of-conciousness' something or other. Raving lunatic probably.
I expect there to be a tick in the box labelled 'Major revisions required'. Fuck knows what I'll do then. Maybe they'll decide it's beyond redemption and just fail me outright. That'd be funny.
I've done it for myself, not for anonymous examiners. I wanted to make the kind of book that, if I were to come across it, I would want to devour. The same approach as I take with my paintings – do it for yourself first and foremost. I reckon trying to do what you think someone else wants is a really bad idea.
Here are a couple of pics of the softbound version I've just handed in: