All posts tagged: why apply for an mfa

So Your BFF/Child/Spouse Is Applying for an MFA

The application process is so angsty. You assemble this huge, painstaking packet, send it out, notice all your typos…

What is a Low-Residency MFA?

Image: Siebuhr This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about since I was given the chance to contribute to this blog. Most of the narratives you hear about an MFA are narratives stemmed in full residency programs. When I was applying for schools, there were some negative comments that were spouted out about low-residencies, and I almost missed out on a great opportunity because of a culture bias I internalized. Before we begin, I want to say a couple of things. First, I am not in every low-res MFA program. I am in one. Stonecoast is my understanding of how things work. Second, I have never been in a full-res MFA program, so I cannot do a directly personal comparison of the two experiences. With that in mind, what is a low-res MFA? Residency 20 days a year. Home the other 345.  I didn’t move to another part of the country to go to my residency. I live at home in Omaha, and I commute to Maine every six months for my residency. In …

Snow and Fire

Recently I shoveled a foot of snow off my car with my cat’s litter dustpan. Well, mostly–I’m 5’3″, so when I was finished, my Kia still had a fin in the middle of its roof that I couldn’t reach. What’s funny, sort of, is that my mother had said the day before Snowmageddon hit Kentucky that I might want to pick up a snow shovel, and I said “oh, I’m sure it will melt before I need to go anywhere.” Right. So there I was 48 hours later, excavating my car with a dustpan and trying not to scratch the white car underneath the white snow. My jeans were tucked into my tennis shoes to keep the snow off my bare skin for the hours it took to get my car cleared. For that whole week, from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon, I made sure my faucets were dripping, gave Mom permission to say “I told you so,” and wrote. Though I was in serious need of human interaction by Friday, it was an invaluable week. …

Something Beautiful: Mental Health and the MFA

What do we talk about when we talk about depression and writing? It’s hard to begin, not least because the pairing of these topics can feel almost overly familiar. They’re a classic combo, really—a sort of burger and fries, peanut butter and jelly, Lennon and McCartney of the literary world. From The Bell Jar to Darkness Visible, writers writing about depression has become practically a trope. It’s archetypal: the tortured writer loopy at his desk, popping pills and chugging whiskey. But ultimately, my story isn’t about an archetype. It’s about me, and as my struggle with mental illness collides with my MFA experience, there is no well-trod trajectory for what will happen next. I’m just weeks away from starting my graduate program at Temple University, and I’m doing so while grappling with severe depressive symptoms. Think hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, excessive fatigue, and spontaneous tears. These are pieces of who I am right now, and, like it or not, they’re probably coming with me when I hit the North Philadelphia pavement next month. I’ll be teaching …

Minda Honey Introduction (University of California, Riverside ’17)

Hi. I’m Minda and I’m three months away from completely changing the direction of my life. Again. Won’t you join me? A year ago, I wasn’t doing so well. I was (and am) in a city I hated, I had just kicked my relationship with my neighbor cold turkey (Mr. Rogers could have saved me had he done just ONE episode on appropriate neighbor relations…), I had practically no friends and the end was not near. I was committed to being in this city for at least another 11 months. I felt helpless. Feelings of helplessness led to lots of lying in bed and staring at my ceiling painted in that perfectly neutral shade luxury apartments paint everything in. It meant fighting the temptation to walk down the stairs and up the block to the liquor store on the corner, but thankfully when I kicked my neighbor; I kicked many vices by association as well.