Thursday, December 5, 2013

Charles passes his MFA oral exam

Yesterday, Tom and I along with Erica were able to sit in on Charles's oral exam for his MFA (for fiction writing) at the U of U.  They asked him to read from his novel, which he did.  I was impressed with his careful imagery and character development.  He described his linguistic acrobatics. Then they asked him about the writers who influenced his writing and he said Virginia Woolf, especially The WAVES and ORLANDO, who switches bodies and sexes with ease.

I think that was when I had the out of body experience.  I floated about the room past the bookcases with their volumes of slim English Studies, plucked one out and fanned myself with it.  I have a son who loves contemporary literature and linguistics (and despises the 19th century British novel).  I have a literary son.

I believe I saw Tom floating above himself from my peripheral vision.

Then Melanie Rae Thon, Charles's advisor, asked if he would walk at commencement and Charles grimaced.

"You should," she said.

"Yes, he should," I cried out.  "He should do it for his mother, who will be dead in fifteen years.  I want to see him walk."

Then Melanie Rae Thon jumped up from her chair and embraced me.  (Could I make this up?)  She is thin as a bird.  She embraced me and agreed with me.

So maybe Charles WILL walk and wear my master's gown, which was once his grandfather, Gail Plummer's, gown.  If the universe is as kind as I think it is, Gail Plummer will be watching.


  1. Congratulations to Charles! This is fabulous in so many ways, not least of which is that you were there to begin with. Having my husband and/or parents at my thesis defense is quite possibly the only thing that could have made the experience worse for me. When I finally finished, I didn't walk. It would have required a 1200 mile journey. I should have made it. I hope Charles does.

  2. Hurray for Charles! First for mastering the Masters and second for not throwing up during it. He was probably cool as a cucumber - exams make me forget I actually know anything about the subject I'm being tested for. So double Hurray for Charles. And he should walk not just for you but for his wife and children who have supported him through this journey and for himself so that he won't ever regret not doing it.

  3. Awe! Congratulations to you and Charles. I do hope that gown gets used.

  4. Three generations of MFA. I hope Charles does wear that gown. I hope you are not dead in 15 years.