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I'm in my final semester (month!) of coursework and can't wait to start reading for comps. To me, the whole point of a Ph.D. *is* the independent reading for specific purposes.
I did two years at Warren Wilson, then two more at the University of New Orleans (where I earned my MFA). Before that, I did my B.A. in English and creative writing at Georgia State, which is where I am now.
I grade more papers than I generate new work. However, I did publish my first book (This Pagan Heaven, Pecan Grove P) this summer and am not worried about whether/how quickly I can generate new work for the dissertation. We have a heavy teaching/service load here, but not having to schedule courses on top of teaching will free up a lot more time. Knowing that I've finished an MFA thesis and a book does much to stave off writers' block.
I wouldn't call it fun just yet. The fun part starts next semester. I'm grateful for the chance to fill in some gaps in my reading and to hone my teaching practice. I do think my combination of degrees and experience (journalism) will make me a good candidate on the job market, such as it is. If I don't get a job teaching writing, I'll do what I need to do to pay the bills and keep writing.