Why yes, I did just finish writing my extended critical essay - the Spalding MFA version of a master's thesis (though a short one, since the main focus is in the 4th semester on our creative thesis). It has irked the everloving *crap* out of me that all of these folks pursuing a graduate degree were whining and bitching about a 20 to 30 page scholarly-type paper. C'mon,folks. Say it with me: graduate degree. I suppose I'm enough of an academic snob to feel like you shouldn't get one of those for just the creative writing part, especially since a lot of MFA programs can't very well fail you if your stuff is swill, so long as you jump through all of the hoops. A creative writing degree - an academic degree, now - should also imply that you've got training in critical thinking.
Sigh. Anyway, very happy that mine is done, since technically the final draft isn't due til packet 3. (And packet 1? Oh, due December 11. That's right. Nearly 2 weeks from now.) I'm hoping Phil Deaver (mentor for this semester, and all-around lovely poet and fiction writer) will okay this one right off, it's a very polished first draft. So, I may ask to see if I can send packet 1 early and get "The Female Epic Hero: Reclamation of Helen of Troy in H. D.’s Helen in Egypt" out of my hands. Yee haw and full steam ahead.
Oh, and I also completed a full second collection - Arguments Against Sleep is done and sent off to the Cider Press Review for its first crack (and yes, I know all about the shenanegans that went on with last year's competition). A Convocation of Goddesses is rolling, but slowly at this point. But hey, Arguments was written in a grand furnace of two weeks. My muse is a sadistic and demanding bitch. I love her.