All posts tagged: non fiction

MFA Mailbox

Image: Wayne Stadler Today contributors Ignacio Peña, Lauren Sharkey and Cady Vishniac are answering two questions from a potential MFA applicant. If you have questions about the application process or the MFA/MA in general, send them to themfayears@gmail.com. We’d love to answer them! Let us know if you’d like your question(s) published on the blog. First, thanks so much for putting this site together! I love the different perspectives each blogger has on their MFA program and their writing life. I’m considering applying for an MFA in a year or two, and this blog has been so informative. I have a couple question for the bloggers: Many MFA applicants cite “time to write” as one of the main reasons they want to get an MFA. I can definitely relate to that; it’s HARD to be creative while working 60 hrs a week! But after reading the posts here about teaching and working on literary magazines, I’m thinking, “Where’s the writing time?” How much time do MFA students actually get to write? I would love to see a …

Goodbye to the MFA Program, Not to Writing

Image: Kevin O’Mara   I am graduating in less than a month from my MFA program. I am awestruck that the two years are over. I’ve met so many lively characters and have been mentored in my writing. All I can say now is I will take what I need and leave the rest.  What does that even mean? It means I integrated into my mental scripts some extra things: doubt about whether what I’m writing is realistic or will be well received. Things like that I will leave behind. Learning that my stories are worth telling, that I will take with me. I have to say I am leaving my MFA program with a heavy suitcase full of positive life-affirming skills. I learned skills that go beyond writing; I learned skills that make me a better listener and a better person. I was hospitalized twice during my MFA years. I learned through those experiences I was determined to finish. I also learned I was a harder worker than I gave myself credit for. I showed up …

Leaving the Smears

Image: Workshop Window by Graeme Tozer At my program here in Mizzou, we have two large offices where we all have been assigned desks and nice chairs on wheels. We have card-swipe access to the building after hours and we have large keys for these offices downstairs. The place is normally a montage of clipped fingernails around travel coffee mugs, blazers thrown off and flats slipped on between classes, conferences with students, the occasional collapse of a stack of books and trip over a power cord. In the break room you will always find someone in front of the fridge, vying for space for another $8 Wal-mart zippered lunchbag among the wall of $8 Wal-mart zippered lunchbags. But on the weekends, the offices are empty, quiet, still. Somehow, I lucked into having a desk in front of a window that looks out behind the university’s flagship building and the flowers that spill over large ceramic urns. It is from here that I wrote this post. I’m not sure where I’m headed and perhaps that is …

Mr. Right

You’ve been putting off writing this post. Admit it. You were hoping, by now, to have some idea of where you’d be going (or not) in the fall. But no such luck. You are still sitting here, waiting, with four could-be offers, four red-hot MAYBE’s, blinking on repeat in your brain. All this waiting has been good for reflection, though. You’ve come to terms with certain things—about your application, your sample…and also, with the schools you chose to apply to in the first place. You realize that the MFA application process is, in many ways, like dating. Each prospective school a crush you’re hoping will want to date you back. You know that this metaphor is, on the one hand, cheesy as hell. But it has also been incredibly helpful in deciphering WHAT it was about these schools that had you so smitten back in October…and what it is about them now, in March, that makes you mourn the loss of some, squirm at the advances of others, and imagine a choice few as possible …