All posts tagged: University of California Riverside

Lauren Mauldin Introduction (University of California Riverside)

I never considered myself to be a pool person. Something about stretching spandex over my fat rolls, and slathering my pale, Scandinavian skin in sunscreen to avoid inevitable sun shock never exactly screamed ‘relaxation’ to me. But now I spend my afternoons bobbing through aqua water, surrounded by palm trees. On my lounge chair by the edge of the pool, the pages of a memoir warm in the sun. I float, a little aimless and untethered, waiting for classes to start. I’m still surprised that I moved to Southern California. I never thought I’d have the chance to get an MFA either. It was a dream that began ten years ago, when I was an undergraduate at North Carolina State University. MFA students at NCSU taught my intro creative writing classes, and helped shape my initial journey as a writer. I idolized them, and I wanted to be part of that elite club of people that choose to put words in the forefront of their lives. When the time came for me to decide what …

1 Year Down, 1 To Go!

My first year as an MFA graduate student wrapped up the first week of June and I’ve spent the last 3 weeks or so traveling (Portland for the first time! Little sister’s last-minute wedding! Escape-the-Heat trips to LA!). Now that I’m back home with no other plans this summer, I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the writing I need to do, the fact that it’s time for my memoir to take on the shape of a book, and the constant voice in the back of my head that asks nonstop “Who even cares?” I’m fortunate that my first year as an MFA has given me some tools and insights into my writing and a social circle of writer friends to bounce ideas off. I’m also pleased to announce that I will be leading a Memoir Workshop in Riverside, CA in July/August (the fiction workshop will be led by Tatyana, another writer in my cohort). If you’re interested or know anyone in the area who might be, you can find more info here.

MFA, What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Last month I enrolled in a literary review course led by Tom Lutz, EIC of the Los Angeles Review of Books. I had never written a literary review, but enrolled in the class because I felt it was a valuable skill to have as a writer. As it turns out, I enjoyed writing reviews. At first I struggled, because my voice tends to have a pop culture slant and I thought I needed to elevate it to write reviews. This created an essay that wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be. A few revisions later, I had a cohesive essay fit for publication on Issa Rae’s new memoir. The next essay I wrote was a multi-book essay and the writing was even stronger. In class one day, my prof had an ARC for Ruby By Cynthia Bond, an Oprah Book Club 2.0 pick. The book was on my to-read and I asked my prof if I could have it. When he said yes I quickly stashed the book in my bag. My classmates teased me a little …

MFA Challenges

Whew. Y’all I have survived the first two quarters of my MFA Years. I have to make it through Spring quarter and then from mid-June to October I am on one hella long summer break before I begin my second (and likely, final) year. So, what keeps me up at night? ***WARNING: WHINING AHEAD***: Being on a budget: I had a big girl job and walked away from a comfortable living to pursue my MFA. It breaks my heart every time I have to check the price tag on something before I throw it in my grocery cart. We aren’t talking about designer jeans people, we’re talking about “Do I buy chicken this week or wait and hope there’s a mega sale on thighs next week?” The first 6 months being on a tight budget was cute. I felt a sense of satisfaction each time I came in under budget. But now, I want nothing more than to sidle up to the bar of my favorite restaurant order an appetizer, an entree, an dessert and …

Somebody Handed Me a Microphone…

Image: Photo Cindy A call went out via email for UC Riverside’s first MFA reading in partnership with the Calstate San Bernardino MFA program and a local bookstore. I didn’t not heed the call, because I’ve got fairly raspy voice (ongoing issues with a strained vocal cord) and was concerned no one would be able to understand what I was saying should I get nervous and my throat tense up. Then another email went out to a few more of us, they were still looking for readers and would really like someone to represent nonfiction, so I volunteered. I had never participated in a reading before. I immediately started panicking about what I would read, convinced nothing was good enough. And things got real when the flyer for the event went out: I finally decided I would read an excerpt from the first chapter of my memoir. I had just begun my first draft of this chapter the week before, so it was really rough. I reached out to a couple of friends in my cohort, …

Fall Course Schedules

Ever wonder what a typical MFA student’s semester looks like? We hope the variety of answers below will give you some idea of the classes we’ve taken this fall, and how our time is divided between teaching/working and being a student. Fiction J.R. Dawson University of Southern Maine – Stonecoast Mine works a tad different because I’m at a low-res. This semester, I’m working on a steampunk YA novel with David Anthony Durham. I have a reading list and 25 pages due every month. Sarah Abbott University of Kentucky Tuesdays 2:00-3:15 pm Intro to Imaginative Writing (TA grading assignment) 5:00-7:30 pm Workshop Thursdays 2:00-3:15 pm Intro to Imaginative Writing (TA grading assignment) 3:30-4:45 pm Modern Irish Poetry Jennifer Obi Northern Arizona University Mondays 3:00-5:30 pm Fiction Writing Workshop 7:00-9:30 pm Graduate Literary Studies Thursdays 12:45-3:15 pm Workshop in Creative Nonfiction Poetry Caitlin Neely University of Virginia Mondays 2:00-4:30 pm Poetry workshop Tuesdays 1:00-3:15 pm The Poetics of Ecstasy Gillian Douple Columbia College Chicago Mondays Work in the Writing Center Tuesdays Work in the Writing Center …

A Series of Questions

Is it the end of November already? Without seasons to guide you, it’s ridiculously easy to lose track of time in Southern California. While Whittier lives in a Winter Wonderland, I’m left wondering, “What winter?” On Thanksgiving it was 90 degrees. I wrote with my window open. Everyday I say I’m going to retire my flip-flops for the season and everyday I’m greeted with warm weather and another excuse not to. Is unemployed guilt a thing? Even though I’m sticking to my budget closely and should be fine financially, I sometimes get the urge to get a part-time job, because I feel guilty that I’m not earning an income. I feel guilty that I’m not juggling multiple things and that my only focus is school and writing. I usually silence the voice by reminding myself that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and that there will be plenty of time to spread myself thin next year when I’m TAing. Really, getting a job would just be a way to find an excuse to …