There is something that can be said about having a dream torn apart by broken romance. That ‘something’… is not good, happy, rewarding, really. But it does make life easier: because when you expect a lot from someone you’re crazy about, life is harder than if you abandon expectations completely and assume from that broken romance onward, nobody will do anything or exceed what you think of them. Once that happens, you’re done with romance, and you can live your life, more bitter sure, but wiser, too wise to believe all of that fairy tale bullshit about “romance”.
I was having a conversation yesterday about how despite I certainly don’t believe that there are outworldly forces in the universe dictating what is meant to be and what’s not, some things simply do feel as though they were ‘meant to be’; they seem brought on by a gruelling or random and unusual set of circumstances that once completed, bring something or someone into your universe that both feels, and seems oddly calculated. For example, my meeting my two best friends (and the rest of my favourite-ever circle of friends as well) in my undergraduate stream of my creative writing class.
I had only learned of creative writing as a formal discipline about mid-way through my first year of university, when I was 18 and naive and innocent and overweight and didn’t know anything about the world and I lived in residence which is an essential bubble and I was part-time job and drama and romance-free (I loved those days). Anyways, in March before I registered for my classes I was scrolling through course listings prior to registration and I came across a ‘WRITE’ code. I looked up these courses on the English department website and found that indeed, there were creative writing courses at the U of A. You could be accepted by submitting a portfolio to the department.
So I wrote, for the first time in about a year. I spent the last couple of months of my semester in my free time, drafting stories that I could submit for hopeful acceptance into the intro fiction class, anticipating that I would inevitably be rejected because I had never had readers, and I had never looked at writing as something you could pursue outside of just a hobby.
Anyways, I wrote two stories but still didn’t have enough pages to make an entire portfolio, but I was majorly blocked and unsure as to how I would meet the deadline. I thought to myself, “I won’t get in anyways”, and put the two finished stories aside. Before I knew it, it was April, my exams were over, and it was time to pack up and move out.
Moving out was a day that stands out in my mind as perhaps one of the most unhappy days in my undergraduate career; I was leaving my best friends for the first time, for a whole summer, some of which I wasn’t sure I’d see again. My friends and I made a considerable effort to stay up all night to maximize our final hours as floormates, and then we went to this place that ceases to exist now called Keegan’s for breakfast. To our dismay, when we looked out the window in the morning, the city was blanketed with unseasonable slushy snow, and it was freezing out. I’d already sent all my winter clothes home, so I had to don a thin sweater and capris, and a rain coat and flip flops, and head over to Keegan’s, about a 20 minute walk. I’d spent my LAST dollars on that breakfast. After it, I was completely 100% broke. And after tears and moving (moving is the worst, and usually accompanied by tears anyways) we all went home to our lonely small town lives for the summer. Summer was kind of miserable in itself too, but that’s another story.
The deadline for the writing portfolio was I believe, mid-May. I explained to my mom that I was certain I would miss the deadline, and I didn’t think I’d get in anyways, so I’d just forget about it. My mom insisted that I choke out just one more story, and then I could just send it off express post, and it would likely get there in time. I said I would try, with no real intention to actually try. I just waited and waited and waited. And suddenly, two days before the deadline, I had a small stroke of inspiration and wrote a story. That afternoon, we called the English office and they said if the portfolio application was postmarked on the deadline day, they would still accept it. So I sent it off, postmarked on the day of the deadline. And I got accepted into the class.
What that class has brought me, what it continues to bring me every day, is more than I could have ever imagined it would, my friends being the most important. If I hadn’t had that inspiration, if I hadn’t just decided to suck it up and apply, if they hadn’t let me postmark that envelope, I wouldn’t have made it. And my whole life now would be different, probably quite empty, in fact. Because at this point in my life, I don’t know what I would have done if I was never in creative writing. It actually scares me to think about how unrealized and different my life would have been. It’s as though everything else I did or engaged in in my life has led up to being in that class in my undergrad.
It is for that reason that I do indeed believe in fate in at least some capacity.