To the poor bastard reading all of these application letters:
I have a great time writing creative non-fiction, and I really enjoy fiction and flash fiction, but the thought of writing a personal statement flips the switch on my tracks: Next station - liquor cabinet. I've written quite a few in my time. Williamstown Theatre festival; success. Julliard; fail. Stetson Law; fail. JET Program to teach English in Japan; success. (University's Name); time will tell. But, it's time for me to pull the panties out of my butt, put down the buttery nipple, and quit whining about how I can't demonstrate all that I am in 2-pages; Because, of course, that's not actually what anyone is asking me to do.
I'm being asked to demonstrate my critical thinking abilities. Well... oh, boy: I'm about to give up a well-paid job in an exotic first world country so I can be closer to my mommy and try my hand at another art (I've been in a couple of movies and worked as a professional tap dancer) that will possibly cost me more than I will ever make. Possibly. Or maybe I'll JK Rowling this piece and meet the queen. Either way, the fantastic experience of living and teaching in Japan keeps me from my country and many of my loved ones. I want to be where I was born, in the south east, and I want to focus on writing, which I have an aptitude for. I am constantly questioning myself and the world, and trying to improve based upon my observations - I think that's what life is about: Observing, experiencing, reflecting, and growing. Writing gives me a constructive way to do that.
I'm being asked to delineate my reasons for choosing this college: Part of the reason I want to look at you through the bottom of my glass is because of this request. So many people, including me, are choosing Universities based on location. I'm applying to your school because it's close to the beach. I feel silly stating that formally. I also appreciate that this program operates in non-traditional ways. It seems like there's a good chance that this school won't take advantage of me with a cash register, but I've got my back-up school pepper spray in my purse just in case I get suspicious. What else... you mentioned my desired specialty on your website, you've got awarded writers on the staff, and the people in your promotional pictures look attractive and happy. My son Knox also plays a part; I had him 2 years ago when I was 29, and he is teaching me more about being a human being than anything or anyone that came before. He's beautiful, and as much as I love Japan, my family deserves to love and experience him, too.
What are my writing goals for the future? Well, jeez, what are everyone's goals? To do something they like and get rich; am I right? It's true, I have some deeper goals than that: I want to be honest in my writing, and continue to overcome my insecurities about how people will react to what they read from me. I want to learn about myself and share myself. I want to further my edu-ma-cation and I want to be able to craft exactly the prose that will evoke what I desire from the reader. I want to be able to tell a story well. I've never been able to do that in speech, but I can "on paper" and I want to grow in my skill and confidence in that realm. I have things to say, and I want to learn how to say them well. I also hope that someday I will create something timeless; maybe a Tom Robbins/Jane Austen-inspired hybrid thing; I've always had ambitious and lofty goals. Besides that, I prefer to act as my own authority and I'm an idealist. I think it best that I work on my own and save social interaction for coffee shops and parties. If I worked in an office, I would want to pull a Milton and set the building on fire.
What will I contribute to the program? Well, I will show up for class with my work done. I'll teach undergrads with patience and ingenuity. Do you, reader, teach one of my forth coming workshops? Wanna go to the beach together? I'm pretty intuitive and insightful, and as I go through my classes I'm confident that I will have strong, constructive feedback for my peers. I have a fairly unique ability to convey difficult truths with humor and prudence: If somebody's work sucks, I can tell them in a way that will uplift them and help them thrive. If my work sucks, I'll take it like a man and think hard to improve. I promise if I blow up like Jay Z I'll contribute a boat load of money to the program. I'm changed by my travels around Asia and by my residence in Japan. My experiences will weave through the works I hope to complete while in study, including a children's fantasy novel. I also hope to find a medium for my plethora of personal reflective works.
So, let me in, please, because America is struggling and I don't want to have to choose between staying in Japan and going on welfare so I can take my toddler to his check-ups. I'll buy you an ice cream sundae with cherries AND sprinkles. Admit me now so we don't have to go through this again next year. I will never let you rest. I know where you sleep (no I don't).
From Japan, your eager and humble applicant,
PS: I am not an alcoholic. Seriously.