All posts tagged: Stony Brook Southampton

To Teach, or Not To Teach

As I prepare to register for my last semester of classes, I’ve been thinking a great deal about my future and how it might look with an MFA on my resume. Like many of you applying now for MFA programs, the fact that the degree allows us to teach was a major draw for me versus just trying to figure out the writing thing on my own. My main priority, however, has always been learning the art of creative writing with the invaluable opportunity to do so in a community of writers. Advertisements

Haters Gonna Hate

Image: Victoria Nevland I have a lot of regrets when it comes to my MFA application process – I shot too high, didn’t save enough money, changed that one word. Another big regret is all the fucks I gave about everyone else. What bothers me now is that I’m still not done giving fucks. Post-submission, I got sucked into the vortex of MFA Draft and GradCafe. Together, they make quite the cocktail – equal parts doubt, paranoia, and panic. As people began receiving decisions from schools I was still waiting to hear back from, I heard that voice, I don’t know what you were thinking, Lauren.  I mean, did you honestly expect this to work out? And instead of flipping the bird to that voice, I surrendered to it. * I didn’t write post-submission. I was so afraid that I opted not to take any workshops my first semester. Despite the fact that I had actually been accepted to an MFA program, I couldn’t let myself get too comfortable. They were bound to recognize their mistake, and I …

Goth in the Southamptons

When describing the Stony Brook Southampton campus to friends back home, I tell them it’s more like a hippie commune than a traditional campus, with more empty buildings than occupied ones. And seemingly more deer than actual students, without the annoyance of dubstep-filled floor parties, but also without the comforting buzz of voices in the hallway. It’s the perfect place to write, isolated, surrounded by nature and very laid back. Then I went off campus for the first time. Everyone in downtown Southampton was wearing white, with pastel hoodies draped over their shoulders and cotton boating shoes on their feet, as if they had just jumped off their yacht to buy a ten-dollar coffee or some organic, artisan fudge. My boyfriend and I whispered about how out of place we were, and I was sure the townspeople knew I was one of the new, weird writing students just by looking at my eyeball-shaped purse. I was convinced that I’d feel much more at home when classes started. After all, writers are said to be a …

Thursday Lunch

Image credit: Lauren Rushing Katie and I met at the cash wrap of Barnes and Noble #2216 somewhere between fucking up and getting shit together. She had a septum ring, black box-dye on her hair, and a star tattooed on each arm. Silence filled the first two hours of our shift. In later years, she’d tell me that she thought I was a “real Asian”, and wasn’t sure if I spoke English. Following a customer tantrum, I rolled my eyes and sighed, “God I fucking hate people.” The connection was undeniable. We took drives to the Long Beach boardwalk, blasting the best of 90’s pop with the windows down. Most nights we wound up in my basement, talking over Disney movies and microwave popcorn. We shared secrets and made plans. * I can’t remember the last time I saw Katie. If I had to guess, it was probably about five or six years ago. Most of my friendships operate this way. I tell myself all sorts of things – it’s work, it’s school…we’re going in different directions. But I …

The Sh…um…Syllabus Just Got Real

I am now well into the second year of my MFA at Stony Brook University and the question that seems to be most prevalent in my mind is “Why am I doing this?” For the most part, the answer wraps back to very positive notions such as “to become a better writer,” or “to acquire the basic skills required to teach writing,” or, perhaps the most important, “to integrate into a community of writers and like-minded artists.” All of these are good answers.

Week Five: Return to Zero

Image: Aikawa Ke I wish I could tell you my feelings of insecurity and worry have gone away. That I’ve come to learn that I not only belong here, but was accepted to Stony Brook Southampton. While the notion of belonging is getting better now that I’ve made a few friends, I still have trouble accepting my acceptance. For me, being in an MFA program feels like going to the gym.  I am convinced everyone is looking at me – judging how much I lift, wondering why I don’t increase the resistance on the treadmill, snickering at my Old Navy compression pants. But no one is actually looking at me. Over the past few weeks, I’ve finally gotten into a routine. I write two hours a day, every day. Thursdays are for homework. I go grocery shopping on Saturday morning, and cook on Sundays.  Evenings are for reading. Last week, the routine went to shit. A requirement of the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton is the Intro to Graduate Writing Course. If you asked me about …

“‘Passion Without Flesh, Love Without Climax’”

Image: Reji For the last few weeks, I had not gone to sleep before 4 a.m. on most nights. A poet going to bed late is, of course, no big deal. Edna St. Vincent Millay once left a note for her housekeeper saying not to wake her because she’d been up working until 5 a.m.;  Emily Dickinson routinely wrote during her “morning hours,” which is to say at 3 in the morning. The trouble is, I’m not writing; I’m not memorizing modern Greek or Arabic conjugations (though I should be;) I’m not studying something about which I’m so passionate that time melts like the interval between kisses. No, for the last few weeks, I have been kept awake by the fact that it’s what anyone, with the briefest glance at the calendar, might call “late August.” “Early September,” even, by the time you read this . Grad school, though it was something I was looking forward to so much during the spring of last year as I was completing my Senior year at Kenyon, has …