About a week ago, my good Twitter friend Jessie Carty posted a link to her post “Taking Your MFA Questions” on her blog. She generously shares her experience and insight on MFA programs along with a link to the article “Six More Myths about the Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts” and other useful links. I discussed with her my desire to work on my MFA and my disappointment in finding out that I missed the deadline for applying for the program offered at the local university. I will have to wait another year. BUT I should have taken this endeavor more seriously. Even if I thought I had a month to prepare the application, I should have given this application a lot more weight. Lesson learned. I’m going to start working on it NOW. A favorite quote of mine is “A year from now you will wish you had started today,” by Karen Lamb. This is going to be my motto for 2011. No more procrastinating. I’m running down this dream.
This all leads me to this: In this discussion on Jessie’s blog, one of her blog follower’s commented on a book she had that acted as a portable MFA of sorts. I have this very book! It has been sitting in my pile of books to read. Just sitting. No more. So today, I opened up The Portable MFA in Creative Writing by The New York Writers Workshop and read the eye-opening and motivating introduction by Tim Tomlinson. An except I would like to share:
“The book proceeds from the premise that there is a craft in writing and that, like the craft in any art, can be taught. As is also the case in any art, after the craft is taught the artist is on his or her own. Talent, determination, endurance, and luck are outside the purview of this book, although many of the exercises are designed to cultivate talent, encourage determination, and train for endurance. As for luck, we offer the insight of golf champion Arnold Palmer, who said: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.””
My Grandpa’s favorite saying is very similar to the one above: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” I’ve never written any fiction (nothing at least worth remembering) or a memoir, or a play, but the way I see it, I have a lot more to gain than I have to lose. And for those of you who know my passion for poetry, you also know I am going to have the most difficult time not turning to the section on poetry and just starting there, but I am going to make myself proud and be steadfast in my new endeavor. At the end of this journey, I will have my unofficial MFA in Creative Writing and will be better prepared for beginning my official one. 🙂 I will detail my progress here on my blog along with the occasional frustrations and pep-talks and hope you will follow along.
P.S. There is also a Kindle version of this book available at Amazon.com. 😉 Give it to yourself or gift it to a friend.