ROW80 Check-in: School Trumps Elvis

My head has been turned
Natasha makes for very cute eye-candy… as well as a great representation of how my focus has been caught in a different direction than what I had hoped for or intended.

It’s the official end of the first week of graduate school for me… Even though I didn’t get to log in to my class until Wednesday evening–when I discovered that was also the deadline for my first assignment. Luckily, the professor was very understanding, and that deadline got pushed until Friday, but it was definitely a moment of panic to see that I was to read three chapters of our textbook and write substantive posts about them as well as respond to my classmates… immediately.

It also meant that I spent 2-3 hours every night of the week on that one class.

I’m thankful I don’t have more than one class, otherwise I don’t know that I could have finished the work required.

My third assignment was due tonight–a research paper that required significant digging in scholarly journals. I’m glad I was able to manage that this weekend despite a recurrence of a bulging disk in my lower back. I’m once again profoundly grateful my husband is a doctor of Oriental Medicine and able to treat my symptoms so I can be at least mostly functional. It still means I feel completely wiped out and worried about the impact of that back pain on my productivity for the coming week.

The unique scheduling for this program means that while the classes are online and geared to the adult learner who is working full-time while going to school, we’re finishing two classes every semester–though that’s broken down to one class at a time in consecutive 8-week mini-semesters. So the pressure with the assignments is not going to let up.

The thing that’s freaking me out about that: I don’t know when I’ll be able to continue writing on my novel. Adding to my freak-out was the new intelligence this week that you can’t quote lyrics in a novel without securing permission to do so. I have a key scene early in Blood to Fire where a character quotes Elvis’ “Don’t be Cruel”. I’ve never been a rabid Elvis fan, but I dreamed this scene, and it so perfectly summarizes where the characters are in relation to each other and how they ought to end up that reading about the process to find and secure permission to quote (even in a very mangled Russian accent) the relevant lyrics completely deflated me. If anyone else has had experience in addressing this issue, I’d love to hear about it. I’m not sure how to resolve it at this point, though I did contact BMI about it… and got the (un)helpful response: “Unfortunately, I am unable to help you in this area of licensing.  BMI is a performing right organization, which means we license only the public performance of music. In order to reprint lyrics and/or music, you will need permission from the music publisher(s). ”

So. More research.


My goal for next week will be adding another 1,000 words to Blood to Fire, because while I didn’t meet my 500-word goal this week, I did work on the manuscript (even added a few hundred words!), and I expect next weekend to be more productive without the draining impact of new information and a new injury. We’ll see. I’m counting on the ROW80 community to keep me honest, here.


Please find more Row80 participants HERE.

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One thought on “ROW80 Check-in: School Trumps Elvis

  1. Wow, sounds like you’re in up to your ears :(. I know how you feel, although it sounds like you have a hell of a lot more assignments than me! I have a 2,000 word due on Friday. Frantically reading lol. Good luck!

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