After 1,876 cups of coffee, 422 bowls of Squadron Leader tobacco, 2 blood–shot eyes, and 18 months of staring at a computer screen, I have officially earned a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing (Nonfiction). Many of you long–time followers of SmoothingIt.com may recall that I took a blogging hiatus to complete my studies, but I have finally clicked the last “submit” button, written my last peer–review, walked across the ceremonial stage in Manchester, New Hampshire, to receive my diploma from Southern New Hampshire University, and am now a blogger again – just with more student debt.
Over the past eighteen months, I’ve studied countless authors, specializing in T.S. Eliot, Jack London, George Washington Sears, Edward Abbey, and Joseph Conrad. Throughout my last three terms, I analyzed Henry David Thoreau’s writings, learning more about his life, his philosophies, and his writing techniques than the casual reader would ever consider worthwhile (and perhaps a bit insane). As a devout Thoreau disciple long before beginning my graduate studies, I enjoyed learning so much about the man who represents the pinnacle of American Nature Writing.
While completing this degree, I also had the opportunity to study the craft of writing. Although I completed several writing fundamentals courses which covered various aspects of fiction, I specialized in creative nonfiction. During this specialization, I completed a variety of personal essays ranging in topics from baseball to VA healthcare, but my biggest project centered on nature writing. My creative nonfiction thesis project was a collection of nature essays and memoirs ranging in topics from canoeing to homesteading. The underlying theme of the project was how man struggles with the desire to live life outdoors while still trying to maintain relationships and manage social responsibilities. Additionally, these essays detail the shift from rural to urban life and how that shift has affected our existence.
So, now I’m back to blogging. I enjoy it. I like having the interaction with like–minded writers and outdoors enthusiasts. Blogging provides me with a sense of community that a writer rarely gets to enjoy. SmoothingIt.com is an adventure for me. It doesn’t necessarily represent every aspect of my life, but it does provide an enjoyable platform to write and learn.
In addition to blogging, I continue to write essays for literary publication. Meanwhile, I have multiple writing projects that I am debating. I’ve considered revising the book meant to accompany SmoothingIt. I’ve brainstormed a long list of essays and book–length fiction projects. I’ve considered a “for profit” blog with my wife. And I’m actively revising my thesis for possible publication.
As of now, I can’t speculate on the future of SmoothingIt. I have at least twenty more posts waiting to be written with new adventures happening every week. Although I do plan to keep the focus on woodcraft and camping, I also intend to step outside of the genre more often than before as a way for me to grow as a writer.
To those of you followers from days–gone–by as well as new followers, I appreciate your continued interest in my writing and outdoor endeavors. I look forward to your thoughts and comments in the future. I hope you enjoy SmoothingIt.com.