Sal likes to say, when you're done, you're dead.
I met with my thesis director this week and he told me I was finished. He had no big changes. No small ones either, unless I wanted to make line edits on my own to individual poems, but he felt that as a whole the manuscript was set. I don't think I reacted the way he expected. I think I said something to the effect of "okay" and nodded.
As I was leaving campus I texted Sal. He was excited for me. I posted it to Facebook. People were congratulatory. I told my mom. She was proud.
I'm not feeling it. I'm proud of myself on some level, somewhere. I feel it. But mostly I feel deflated. I loved waking each morning and devoting myself to those poems. I was in love with editing. I was falling in love with forms. I've got two sestinas, a sonnet and a ghazal. I loved that writing poems was my job and that others were expecting me to create this thing. So I had to commit myself to it each morning. I loved waking up early, sitting at my desk with my coffee and clementines, deciding which poems to work on that day. Printing them out and observing the shape the words made on the page. Laying them all out on the floor.
Now I have to write cover letters and job applications.
I still need to defend, but I've never really been worried about that part. I can speak intelligently about what I've written. I can talk about my influences. I'm strangely excited about my defense. Maybe then I will feel more accomplished.
I know that my manuscript isn't really done. I know that two years isn't enough time (for me) to write a full length book. But my priorities have shifted. I could not graduate without my thesis. Now that I have it, I can. Now I must fall from this safe bubble into the world and try to create that magical space on my own and somehow not let the noise of the world distract me from committing myself to writing each morning.