Recently, I made the terribly poor health decision of following the postings on a Facebook group called the MFA 2013 Draft. Basically, it's a place for MFA applicants to virtually congregate and share advice and developments about the process and, unfortunately, reading the comments is sometimes like watching the scenes from a Shakespearean comedy when Shit Goes Down. There's a slight bit of miscommunication and suddenly everyone who applied to some school has a sympathetic heart attack... like me just now.
Within moments, you can watch a discussion explode into micro-analysis of what these tell-tale signs -- like an auto-reply message burped up from the submission system -- Means. Deep down, you know it's ridiculous, but when you rest your hopes on something it's hard not to divine secrets from bureaucracy.
I promised myself I wouldn't look and every day I break it. I have a problem, I know.
It is, however, interesting to see how my thought process and behavior has changed under such anxiety. For some reason I'll find myself playing video games instead of writing and think to myself, "Ah, but if I write more, maybe that will tip the Karmic scales in my favor and while I am writing some professor from X university will feel compelled to call me at that moment to inform me that I've been accepted." This seems irrationally reasonable.
But it gets worse. Now I've started to feel bad about not writing thank you notes or not starting to do my taxes and an itchy suspicion begins to take hold that my slacking off is diminishing my chances of getting into grad school. This, I believe, is why people believe in magic. I'm starting to develop the equivalent mental ticks of the baseball coach who rattles the bats to shake out a home run. People wonder why I carry a notebook around with me everywhere -- I should just start telling them I'm bewitched.