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BLUECHEESE


Mar 19, 2008, 7:28 PM

Post #301 of 793 (6282 views)
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Re: [jayg] Am I going crazy? Are you going with me? [In reply to] Can't Post

I mean, I'd just say, if you are so worried about it work through some form texts before you get out there. There are a lot of good ones out there for poetry, and I'm sure they are out there for fiction, too. University of Chicago's series of books on publishing are a probably a good place to start. John Hopkins makes some great books to this end, too, I think (I'm only familiar with a couple of poetry-related books they put out, though). I've been doing this for a while now, and I still find it refereshing for my writing to read a poetry form book now and again--and it helps one keep up, and refine, one's sense of approaching poetry. I often find, or incorporate, new modes of reading and writing if the book is, at all, worth its salt. In fact, reading, I think, is the much harder task. To do it well, from the perspetive of the writer, that is. But, most people are going to be around the same level when entering a program, some maybe a little bit ahead, but they may be passed up. Who knows? You seem to be serious. Work at it. People work at getting better their whole lives. So, I wouldn't worry about it. Just take it serious. (My words and my balls is all I have)

But, really, if you got in, you shouldn't worry about it. They think your writing is good enough to attend, so it probably isn't half bad--rather, it is good, on some points, for sure (very few, if any, people are already writing on the level of literary stars when they go into these programs... I'm talking like one or two people, maybe.) Be happy, hey, these programs liked your work and they want to work with you. Now, that is surely something to be happy about! And, sometimes, they are looking for people they can teach a bit--who really need to be out there soaking up new stuff. Who, they think will develop and blossom through being in their program.

So, I'd say, maybe grasp hold of your fear a bit and make it productive, but don't stress out about going into an MFA program. Rather, just take yourself serious all the way up until you get there. Read all the work by all the faculty at the schools you are considering, and the like. Expand your horizons, starting now. That is what we should all be doing. It is, I think, rather sad that one goes to the academy to learn how to write. As though it were an imperative to be in the academy to learn. You have the right idea. The MFA, for all of us, should just be a means to an end--experience teaching, working on journals, study work we want to study, and time to just plain write. But it is, of the utmost imperative, that we strive, I think, to write to the aesthetic that is of artistic imperative to us. So, go and find your imperative. Live it, and, don't worry so much about your compatability to the MFA. If the MFA is going to teach you, it should teach you, and not control your aesthetic. That, at least, is what I think. Also, these place, aside from the Iowas and the like (maybe iowa in perticular) aren't that harsh of environments. Some are, and if you do well in that fine, but I think, for the most part these are fine arts degrees. So, it isn't like you are competeing with the prerson right in front of you--you are just trying to better yourself in a group of people with the same goals/interests.


jayg


Mar 19, 2008, 7:38 PM

Post #302 of 793 (6269 views)
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Re: [BLUECHEESE] Am I going crazy? Are you going with me? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's totally helpful, and you're right, time to keep everything in perspective. I'm unbelievably excited for this opportunity, just a little freaked out by it all.

And I think it has a lot to do with this story I'm working on now that has all these ridiculous problems and wondering if I will never be able to beat it. And then worrying I won't finish this thesis.

I'm so glad I found this forum, it's great to be able to talk to people going through this process.


annie0


Mar 19, 2008, 7:50 PM

Post #303 of 793 (6246 views)
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Re: [jayg] Am I going crazy? Are you going with me? [In reply to] Can't Post

I really feel you, jayg! I put all my energy for the past 8 months into this crazy, draining process, promising myself that the validation I would get if I made it into just one school would provide the motivation I needed to make a life out of this.

But I was so nervous, I genuinely expected the worst. In fact I was scrambling to get a back-up plan together just days after sending in my last application.

When all of a sudden I began receiving acceptances I was completely elated, (and I am still, and I feel incredibly lucky) but now in a lot of ways I'm more terrified than ever.

It's like you say, I feel like I've tricked these people into thinking I'm a good writer, and now I actually have to live up to that for the next three years.

It's hard to shake the feeling that everyone else in my program will be so much more prepared and professional and well, published than me, so I'm trying to spend the next 5 months getting my portfolio flushed out so that I will actually have something worthy to bring to the table in the fall.

At the moment I am considering enrolling in an online writing workshop. The program at UCLA extension is supposed to be good, and I'm interested to check out the one at Stanford as well. They are expensive though, and I'm not sure about the effectiveness of the online format...

I've also applied for a scholarship at the Tin House summer workshop, and if I get that I will head out to Portland for a week to help me get some more work together, and hopefully some useful feedback before I start my scary MFA program.

Anyone else feeling this way? Anyone thinking of attending a workshop (online or otherwise) before school starts?


jayg


Mar 19, 2008, 8:07 PM

Post #304 of 793 (6208 views)
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Re: [annie0] Am I going crazy? Are you going with me? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank god I'm not alone! Online wkshps sound like a good plan. I have missed being in workshop since I've been doing the thesis. I'm always inspired when I'm reading and thinking about other people's work.


Zash
Zachary Ash

Mar 19, 2008, 8:10 PM

Post #305 of 793 (6198 views)
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Re: [annie0] Am I going crazy? Are you going with me? [In reply to] Can't Post

AnnieO, I've attended two weekend workshops through UCLA Extension and found them both to be helpful, fun and rewarding. The teachers are excellent. Terrific student writers there too. I haven't tried an online course, though. I live in So Cal. I'll probably enroll in one more before I head east this fall.


fiorava
Valerie Fioravanti

e-mail user

Mar 19, 2008, 9:18 PM

Post #306 of 793 (6111 views)
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Re: [annie0] Am I going crazy? Are you going with me? [In reply to] Can't Post

I teach CW workshops online (for UCLA Extension and National U). I think the format, in some ways, is superior to the "traditional" workshop. Students have the time to prepare their remarks and really think about the reading and manuscripts before "speaking," and the thoughtfulness of some students influences others. I think the "discussions" in my online classrooms present at a higher level than my on-campus workshops. There's also less drifting into minutiae in the online class--the mob spending 40 unproductive minutes debating tiny issues and ignoring larger ones that makes the writer want to run screaming from workshops forever. The structure of the online workshop avoids that sort of open rambling on topic that can be hard to rein in in person.


blarring


Mar 19, 2008, 9:19 PM

Post #307 of 793 (6108 views)
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Re: [jayg] Am I going crazy? Are you going with me? [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, jayg, I think you're reading my mind and that's freaking me out a little. I was also accepted to three schools last week after I had already pretty much moved on to a plan B. I went into this whole mess not really expecting to get in anywhere. Now, after dreaming of getting into an MFA, it's a reality, and I have to wake up and face it.
First off, I have to make a decision about where I'm going (never expected to be in this predicament) and nobody is going to hold my hand and lead me to the "right" answer. My future is in my hands, and I'm terrified. I almost want someone to tell me what to do.
I'm not really worried about my writing, which is odd. I've been working on my book that I want to concentrate on in the MFA program, but there's always the chance the faculty will think it's crap.
Money is suddenly an issue. All I wanted to do was get into a program; funding was a secondary issue. But now I'm about to go seriously in debt with student loans and I have to deal with that.
Don't ever think you're alone in this process, jayg. I think there are a lot of us riding the crazy train with you.

In Reply To
I'm wondering if anyone is having a similar experience as me:

When I was accepted to three schools last week it was amazing and wonderful and I couldn't believe it. I was prepared to be rejected from every school I applied to, and then I wasn't. I was validated! I was a good writer!




B. Lynn Arrington
"A Southerner talks music." --Mark Twain



(This post was edited by blarring on Mar 19, 2008, 9:24 PM)


taggie7


Mar 19, 2008, 9:44 PM

Post #308 of 793 (6079 views)
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Re: [blarring] Am I going crazy? Are you going with me? [In reply to] Can't Post

  Yeah, you're definitely not alone, Jayg. In response to Blarring's comments (which you ripped out of my brain, just so you know), I'm definitely feeling the same way. I want to someone to tell me what to do, but it's all in my hands now. It a weird and scary feeling, but I know it will all work out--once I make my decision. I'm going to take the advice of the others and start reading and writing. I don't know that I'll sign up for workshop classes though. I think we'll all be fine... :) Tanya


In Reply To
First off, I have to make a decision about where I'm going (never expected to be in this predicament) and nobody is going to hold my hand and lead me to the "right" answer. My future is in my hands, and I'm terrified. I almost want someone to tell me what to do.
Money is suddenly an issue. All I wanted to do was get into a program; funding was a secondary issue. But now I'm about to go seriously in debt with student loans and I have to deal with that.
Don't ever think you're alone in this process, jayg. I think there are a lot of us riding the crazy train with you.


LauraJean1


Mar 19, 2008, 11:30 PM

Post #309 of 793 (5761 views)
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Choose? [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay. I'm in for fiction at Sarah Lawrence and Columbia.

What are some pluses and minuses here? Programs, location, anything?


pensive
Adam
e-mail user

Mar 20, 2008, 12:46 AM

Post #310 of 793 (5728 views)
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Re: [LauraJean1] Choose? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sarah Lawrence is less money per year, and they accept fewer students. They are all about individualized attention. I don't know about Columbia.


MissEsquire



Mar 20, 2008, 8:32 AM

Post #311 of 793 (5655 views)
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Re: [LauraJean1] Choose? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, LauraJean; those are good options. SLC is cheaper, but Columbia has an amazing reputation and faculty. Guess it really depends on how much debt you're willing to shoulder...


ksy79


Mar 20, 2008, 9:48 AM

Post #312 of 793 (5621 views)
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Re: [LauraJean1] Choose? [In reply to] Can't Post

LauraJean, I'm trying to decide between SLC and Columbia for fiction, too. That's weird. Which one are you leaning toward? I change my mind every hour. Right now I'm on Columbia.


(This post was edited by ksy79 on Mar 20, 2008, 9:50 AM)


danielaolsz


Mar 20, 2008, 10:05 AM

Post #313 of 793 (5605 views)
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Alabama vs. Notre Dame [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm trying to decide between Alabama and Notre Dame. Any thoughts?

(I'm a poet, btw)


bighark


Mar 20, 2008, 11:00 AM

Post #314 of 793 (5554 views)
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Re: [danielaolsz] Alabama vs. Notre Dame [In reply to] Can't Post

Fiction or Poetry?


danielaolsz


Mar 20, 2008, 11:04 AM

Post #315 of 793 (5547 views)
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Re: [bighark] Alabama vs. Notre Dame [In reply to] Can't Post

Poetry.


ejdifili
Emily

Mar 20, 2008, 11:09 AM

Post #316 of 793 (5535 views)
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Re: [danielaolsz] Alabama vs. Notre Dame [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm on the wait list at ND for fiction, so it's ok with me if you go there for poetry :)


bighark


Mar 20, 2008, 11:18 AM

Post #317 of 793 (5519 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] Alabama vs. Notre Dame [In reply to] Can't Post

I went to Notre Dame for my undergrad. It's a special place.


ejdifili
Emily

Mar 20, 2008, 11:31 AM

Post #318 of 793 (5490 views)
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Re: [bighark] Alabama vs. Notre Dame [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I went to Notre Dame for my undergrad. It's a special place.


Do you mean "special" in a positive or negative sense? Can you elaborate?

Everyone says the campus is beautiful, but I've heard South Bend isn't that awesome.

I've also heard that Notre Dame is pretty conservative, although I don't know if that applies to the writing department as well. And, of course, some people like conservative.


Glyph


Mar 20, 2008, 11:39 AM

Post #319 of 793 (5471 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] Alabama vs. Notre Dame [In reply to] Can't Post

ejdifili:

I've been told by Notre Dame that I'm in the folder marked "Limbo." Do you know if that's the same as being on the waitlist? I've emailed them and asked for clarification, but I thought I'd ask you, since you said you're on the waitlist...


blarring


Mar 20, 2008, 12:19 PM

Post #320 of 793 (5413 views)
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Help! Pick one! [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, here are three mfa fiction programs in no specific order. Pick one and tell me why you would choose that one. Come on, it will give you good karma;)

George Mason (three year program, no funding)
Emerson (no funding)
New School (small scholarship/9,000 for two years)

Thanks!



B. Lynn Arrington
"A Southerner talks music." --Mark Twain



kate88


Mar 20, 2008, 12:28 PM

Post #321 of 793 (5396 views)
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Re: [blarring] Help! Pick one! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd say New School - at least there's some funding there, but I don't recall your living/financial situation (and I'm not as familiar w/George Mason faculty), so that's just my gut reaction.


danielaolsz


Mar 20, 2008, 12:46 PM

Post #322 of 793 (5368 views)
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Re:Alabama vs. Notre Dame [In reply to] Can't Post

Meh. I guess I'll just flip a coin.


lostinthought


Mar 20, 2008, 12:57 PM

Post #323 of 793 (5353 views)
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Re: [blarring] Help! Pick one! [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with "kate"... New School! At least they offered you something, that shows more caring than the other schools, and it's a good program, AND you get the benefits of the vibrant NYC literary community!


Raignn



Mar 20, 2008, 1:50 PM

Post #324 of 793 (5299 views)
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Re: [danielaolsz] Re:Alabama vs. Notre Dame [In reply to] Can't Post

HAHA. If I knew anything about Alabama or ND I'd certainly provide the information, but unfortunately I don't :(

Good luck making your decision!


mchard


Mar 20, 2008, 2:12 PM

Post #325 of 793 (5269 views)
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Purdue [In reply to] Can't Post

Certainly one of the toughest choices I've ever had to make:

(For those interested:)

I have (tentatively) accepted Purdue's offer in poetry. I'll (most likely) be opening funded slots at Arkansas, Idaho and Eastern Washington University, in addition to a top waitlist spot at Oregon.

Best of luck to all of you. It's been a extraordinary four months.

Thanks,

M.

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