On Saturday, I graduated from my MFA program in Mystic, Connecticut. We had one more day at the residency, and now, I’m settling down to eat some lunch and do some laundry at home. I want to reflect on the program in a post, but because I’m still a little fried from 10 days of workshops, seminars, heavy drinking and various other writing-related activities, a proper blog post is beyond my abilities.
Luckily, yesterday I took a seminar, given by Porochista Khakpour, on experimental writing, and now I don’t feel the need to adhere to traditional forms.
So here, in no particular order, is a list of some of of the things I’ve gained from Fairfield University’s Master of Fine Arts program on Enders Island in Mystic:
An MFA in Creative Writing, with a concentration in creative fiction
At least 100 Facebook friends
At least 10 really close friends
The pleasure of having workshops with nine other published professors, and of taking seminars from many more
The honor of drinking a lot of Crane Lake table wine with almost every professor in the program, whether I worked with them or not
The company of poets
Several short stories that I might be able to publish
Two that I did/will publish
A trio of ill-conceived poems, inspired by Crane Lake table wine, sleepless nights and the company of poets
Hundreds of bug bites
Dark circles under my eyes
A deep aversion to salads
The knowledge that my liver can still take abuse
A rudimentary understanding of LinkedIn
A first draft of a novel
The understanding that there is a big difference between the first draft of a novel and something that is good enough to show to an agent/publisher/my mother
The knowledge that I have to interview at least six drag queens in order for my novel to work
A funny-looking cap and gown and hood
Resilience during workshops
The ability to at least be quiet during workshop if I can’t be resilient
A love of strong verbs
An almost Pavlovian response to seeing bottles of Crane Lake table wine
50 other ideas for other novels that I can’t pursue until I hand this piece to an agent/publisher/my mother
Student loans that will come due any second now
A few connections
Some pointers on living my life after the MFA
A suspicion that life post-MFA will be a lot like life during the MFA, only without monthly packets and with student loans
The chance to see Wally Lamb, Sue Silverman, Mary Karr, Charles Simic, Philip Schultz and Rick Moody as they read from their work.
The haunting phrase, “Go get the eggs, you dwarf,” courtesy of Rick Moody’s reading in 2009.
An aversion to adverbs
A very, very long list of books I want to read
A long list of books that I have read
The knowledge that I may die at a very old age without having been able to read every book mentioned by every person I met at the program
The experience of being a fiction reader for Mason’s Road journal
The experience of being a T.A.
Two years of predetermined plans on New Year’s Eve
An ability to follow my bliss
Thank you, Fairfield University. This was exactly what I needed.