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Open Access Publications from the University of California

It Went Down. We Tried Everything.

  • Author(s): Price, David
  • Advisor(s): Robichaux, Richard
  • et al.

In two hundred and fifty words, I won't say much of any consequence. It's too many words to be specific and too few to be comprehensive. With six words, Will Eno captures the simplicity of disaster; the specificity in how something can go so quickly awry in spite of so much effort. "It went down. We tried everything." I'm not Will Eno, and it’s not my intention to characterize this experience as a disaster. The quote, to me, illustrates the idea of humanity trying to wrestle with an unstoppable force. The perception of this quote is initially negative, however, my experience of an MFA program has validated a universal truth: it's the attempt, the wrestling, and the grappling that actually affords us our humanity. It's my observation that grad school starts as a narcissistic endeavor. What skills can I gain? What connections can I make? How can this give me a leg up on everyone else? When those interests are threatened, people naturally revolt. This leads to a culture of bitterness and disinterest. "It went down.” After the inevitable disappointment has fully gestated, a person is left with two choices: abandon the endeavor entirely, or confront it. I chose to confront it. Some of my classmates chose to confront it. Many of my peers have chosen to confront it. "We tried everything." Much of what we tried was futile, much more was fruitful. I can't think of a better microcosm of life. It went down, we tried everything.

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