Month: November 2016

Writing as Healing

When I applied to nearly a dozen fully funded or mostly funded MFA programs last winter and spring, the only expectation I had was that something unexpected would happen. I tried to not fantasize about New England winters, California freeways or whatever the hell it is people do in Virginia college towns. I hoped one of those scenarios would be my life, but I didn’t want to lock myself into needing an MFA from one particular program or one particular place. I knew my odds, but more than anything it felt like the right time to chase this MFA dream. Wherever I ended up, I would get that chance. As it turned out, something unexpected did happen. I received an acceptance from Rutgers-Camden, one of the two programs I applied to in my home state of New Jersey. So I traded my fantasies for familiarity. It wasn’t exactly the school in my backyard: Camden is just outside Philadelphia, a part of New Jersey that is new to me. The Rutgers-Camden MFA program offered so many elements that excite me: the …

Eye of the Storm

Image: Colin Well, hello, everyone! I do apologize for the delay in my posts; the start of my MFA career has unfortunately coincided with the worst month or two of my life. So that’s been good. I’ll try to keep this part to a minimum (though as seriously I work on manuscripts for the first time in 4 years, I’ve been reminded of just how wordy a writer I am). Just as my boyfriend and I got our things unpacked in our new place in Orlando, a repair guy from our leasing company managed to burst a bathroom pipe and flooded half the house. When it was clear that the leasing company had no intention of fixing the damage, we had to make plans to move over the course of October. October is, of course, mid-term season and the small business I work for happens to do costume rentals so it happened to be a busy season there, too. So needless to say I’ve been exhausted! On top of all that, my 20-year-old cat passed …

What The Kudzu Taught Me About Gratitude

Image: Janet Moore-Coll Outside the window of my apartment what should be Fall still wreaks of Summer, in the moment I am sure that there is a magic here in Mississippi by which nothing that should be dead is. This is of course, deeply untrue, but gratitude has a way of magnifying a moment until only the gratitude is true regardless of context. Anyway both me and everything outside my window are alive and I’m grateful for that as the wind stirs a tree covered in Kudzu until even the tree drowning seems like something holy. Funnily, it is less the cotton that shocks me about my recently transplanted life here in the South than it is the Kudzu, “the vine strangling the South”, this benevolence that grew thousands of wanting teeth. I mean to say that Kudzu, like me is also an migrant to this place that is not perhaps our place. Unlike me, the Kudzu does not care, the broad green leaves are everywhere taking up all the sun, making everything look alive. …

MFA: What Should I Be Doing?

Image: Kevin West So you got into a MFA program? The stress of assembling your list of schools, perfecting your writing portfolio, and making sure all of your letter of recommendations have been sent are left behind. Your hopes and dreams have come true. Now that you have accepted the one school that suits your needs your first thought is that you have nothing else to worry about. This thought will last you approximately 1.28 seconds. The moment after I told Virginia Tech that I was attending in the Fall, there was a rush of panic that went through me. Do I have enough substantial work? Will my cohort and I get along? Should I have applied again next year? Will I be living under a rock come August? Should I be working or writing in the summer? When I reflected on my summer experience and the beginning of the first year of my MFA I kept asking myself, what should I be doing right now? This post is geared towards those of you who …