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    Graduation day

    After two years of diligent work, I completed my Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Pacific University on Saturday, June 28. Graduation day in Forest Grove dawned with fine drizzle, but over the space of the day the weather cleared. By late afternoon, we were graced with sunbeams lancing through the disappearing cloud cover. Perfect for the kids to race around on the grass while the black-robed, hooded, weird-hatted adults wandered around hugging each other and taking oodles of pictures. 

    The MFA was a long journey, but after my marriage and the birth of my kids, it was also one of the most life-altering experiences I've ever had. I'm so grateful to my mentors, faculty, friends, and family for all that I've learned, all the support I've gotten, and all they've helped me accomplish. I come out of the program with Part One of my novel highly polished and going strong. I'm well positioned to complete Parts Two and Three, on which I've already written several hundred manuscript pages. The editing job ahead is vast and daunting, but doable. 

    In August, I'll be spending three weeks in Turkey, researching the territory about which I've been writing for the past several years. There's information that can only be gathered with eyes and nose, feet and ears. I can only hope that corner of the world doesn't disintegrate between now and then. I doubt it will, but for a historian and writer whose period of expertise has become the early Islamic Caliphate, the news that a new Caliphate is arising (however pale a shadow of the original it might be) does grab the attention. 

    In the meantime, I'm enjoying family time back home. Back to the research, the writing, and moving ahead. MFA in hand.

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