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bigcities


Mar 26, 2006, 4:54 PM

Post #51 of 74 (2703 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

We'll agree to disagree. I have no problem with twenty-somethings getting their MFAs, but I think that rejecting experience as an important factor in writing (which, for me, tends to parallel with "life") seems strange. That's all I was trying to say.


(This post was edited by bigcities on Mar 26, 2006, 4:56 PM)


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 26, 2006, 5:04 PM

Post #52 of 74 (2690 views)
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Re: [bigcities] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't reject experience as an important factor. It is important.

However, I don't think it equates with age necessarily. Again, I know 20 somethings who have had more go on in their lives than 40 somethings.

And more to the point, I think there are more important factors than something nebulous like "experience." I think we can both agree most people can't write, no matter how experienced. So i'm more concerned with teh quality of work and the quality of mind than how many states someone's visited.


Aubrie


Mar 26, 2006, 5:25 PM

Post #53 of 74 (2680 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it's fair to say that this will always differ on a case-by-case basis.
I know some people twice my age who will be the first to tell you I've "lived" more than they. I would also say that there are plenty of people who've seen more in their lifetime than I'll ever know. A generalization will never work in this circumstance, especially with writers, as we're all driven by something that makes us feel that we have stories to tell.
One would like to imagine that an MFA worth their weight would be able to weed out those who still need some time to "live" (be it if they just got their BA, OR they've been in the same job for 18 years) and know who's ready to get to work. It's a romantic notion, yes, but I think you all should remember that upon entering your given programs before pre-determining who can write based on age.
And I completely agree that once you are ready, get in there and learn as much as you can so you can "peak," in your thirties, forties, fifties, etc.


maanprophet


Mar 26, 2006, 8:55 PM

Post #54 of 74 (2637 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

Greetings All:

I thought I'd add some thoughts from my experience: I graduated from UT-Austin last May and am planning on applying to MFAs next year. Taking years off has helped my writing tremendously, and here's a few reasons why:

1. Reading: In the month and a half I was unemployed, I read ten novels/books. I finally got to check out Zadie Smith and Murakami and George Plimpton and all these stories and worlds that hadn't been offerred in any classes I took. Reading for classes and being taught by professors is definitely helpful, but being free to guide youself is another. Which leads me to item two...

2. The Ability to Write: This might sound funny, but writing for yourself versus writing for workshops/classes/journals is a world of difference. Free of guidelines and restrictions, I set off to write a novel, got 100 pages in and realized it was a mess. I started another one that's going great though slowly. I wrote many personal essays.
I think this is a tremendously important point because--at least from my own experience--wanting to be this thing called writer and actually doing it, actually writing, or two very different animals. I know I will write the rest of my life regardless of publication or MFA acceptance or anything else. But it certainly has helped...

3. The Quality of Writing: My thesis advisor is on the board of the Michener Center, and there was a marked difference in the way he treated me after seeing my latest work--he talked to me as a writer as opposed to a student who wanted to be a writer. There's nothing like a few hundred more pages under your belt to improve your prose.

4. Perspective: My last semester in college was kind of a downer, and the first time I really wanted to be out of the academic world. Time away has helped me realize what I love and hate about campus life.

There's more than one way to get at the collective dream of being a writer, you know? We're all coming in at from different angles. In the end I'm really glad I haven't rushed into an MFA program when I and my writing weren't ready for it.


riot grrrl


Mar 26, 2006, 9:41 PM

Post #55 of 74 (2620 views)
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To wait or not to wait: [In reply to] Can't Post

It's kind of a moot point anyway. Schools decide whether you're ready or not ready, not you.


RedFaerieGirl21


Mar 26, 2006, 11:32 PM

Post #56 of 74 (2581 views)
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Re: [maanprophet] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post



Quote
Reading: In the month and a half I was unemployed, I read ten novels/books. I finally got to check out Zadie Smith and Murakami and George Plimpton and all these stories and worlds that hadn't been offerred in any classes I took. Reading for classes and being taught by professors is definitely helpful, but being free to guide youself is another.



I agree with what you mean concerning being free to guide yourself outside of class, and I hope this doesn't seem offensively critical or anything, but I have always managed to read personal novels throughout my entire undergrad in addition to the books I read for classes (I bought several novels every month or two). I also designed Independent Studies when I had a significant amount of books or an idea I wanted to explore that was not offered in a course. So while I agree that with every year a person will become better read, I do not see how this really correlates to taking time off. If you want to read something, you will make time to read it in school or out.


Quote
This might sound funny, but writing for yourself versus writing for workshops/classes/journals is a world of difference. Free of guidelines and restrictions, I set off to write a novel, got 100 pages in and realized it was a mess. I started another one that's going great though slowly. I wrote many personal essays.
I think this is a tremendously important point because--at least from my own experience--wanting to be this thing called writer and actually doing it, actually writing, or two very different animals. I know I will write the rest of my life regardless of publication or MFA acceptance or anything else. But it certainly has helped...



Again, no offense meant. I only took one creative writing course in undergrad (fiction and it was the second semester of my third year), and two required freshmen writing seminars (one was personal essay/response, the other critical writing). All the other writing in all my classes, has been academic. So most of my creative work has been free of restrictions and dependent on my own will to write. I planned, outlined, written and revised on my own hundreds of pages of a novel I'm still working on. I wrote, threw away, revised and kept, stories, essays, ideas, and other stuff that may or may not ever be anything I use again. So again, while I see your point about writing outside of undergrad workshops etc., I don't think this necessarily means taking time off. I would hope one is always writing for oneself.


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My last semester in college was kind of a downer, and the first time I really wanted to be out of the academic world. Time away has helped me realize what I love and hate about campus life.


Ok, this I'm sort of in agreement. I graduated this January, and so I've had the spring out of school. While it won't be a year or years before I return to graduate school, being out has been an interesting experience (good and bad). My last semester I was happy, but mostly because I knew I had done it and was out. I had studied and worked hard to get the best grades, pushed myself and graduated early, and I was tired of where I was. However, it wasn't that I wanted to be out of the academic world so much as I wanted to be out my current undergraduate academic world. Three and a half years was enough, I wanted a change. I'm excited about finally being in an academic environment where I get to focus on writing. The break has been nice in a way, but even if I was in school this spring, I would have had the summer, and going to graduate school in the fall I think I would have basically the same attitude.


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There's more than one way to get at the collective dream of being a writer, you know? We're all coming in at from different angles.


True. We're all different, and different is good. I just don't think twenty something writers, and especially writers twenty-one/two coming straight out of grad should be automatically considered not mature enough, not appreciative enough, not as able to produce and contribute because we lack depth, etc., because we haven't experienced time away (this last part isn't directed at you maanprophet, but in general). A workshop with a majority of twenty somethings can be as interesting as a workshop with a majority thirty, forty, or fifty somethings. It troubles me that people seem to think only one or two youngsters should be 'allowed,' otherwise shallowness or whatever limitedness shall occur.



bigcities


Mar 26, 2006, 11:54 PM

Post #57 of 74 (2570 views)
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Re: [RedFaerieGirl21] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm actually in the same boat as you, RedFaerie, but I still completely agree with MaanProphet. I read plenty of stuff on my own as an undergrad (occasionally at the expense of my coursework), but I've read completely different - and far more varied - stuff in the year I haven't been in school. Not all of us were in programs that encouraged independent study or any real pursuit of recreational reading, though I got plenty done. And, honestly, if you think that reading books in school and reading books outside of a school-informed mentality are the same thing, you should probably experience the latter before defending the former.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm offended on MaanProphet's behalf. Of course, if you have to preface something with "I hope you don't take offense," there's usually a good chance you're about to say something offensive... a nice rule of thumb, for future reference.


rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

Mar 27, 2006, 12:45 AM

Post #58 of 74 (2558 views)
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Re: [bigcities] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

Even if you don't peak in your MFA or go when you're too young, you can always do another MFA degree or another MA or get another fellowship or grant or some kind of lectureship position--you can just bounce around eternally while you try to publish. Looks like that's what Jhumpa Lahiri did.


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 27, 2006, 1:27 AM

Post #59 of 74 (2544 views)
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Re: [bigcities] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

Aren't the last three posts all from people who have been out of college for a mere year?

While going to grad school a year after undergrad might be technically taking some time off, it is a pretty trivial amount of time, especially compared to what the "grey beards" are advocating. Similarly, I'm a bit confused as to why maan is lauding the benefits of "years" off when he hasn't even had a full year off himself?


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And, honestly, if you think that reading books in school and reading books outside of a school-informed mentality are the same thing, you should probably experience the latter before defending the former.


(Am I the only one who feels like that sentence is missing a "No offense, but" disclaimer? ;) )
But bigcities, didn't both you and red say you have each been out of a school for (almost) a year. What is this assumption that Red hasn't read books outside of school? (And what do you mean there anyway? I haven't noticed any difference in how I read non-assigned books being out of school)

Maan's post is fine as a description of his experience and needs, but I would hope it isn't very universal. Especially the part about not "writing for yourself" in workshops and having tons of restrictions. I always wrote for myself and I hope I was not alone in having workshops with very limited restrictions (mostly just page counts).


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Mar 27, 2006, 1:38 AM)


rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

Mar 27, 2006, 1:46 AM

Post #60 of 74 (2539 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the post: "it's a moot point anyway" was a good point. Yup, it's the schools which decide. The agents which decide. The publishing houses which decide.

I went into the MFA process thinking, "It's not really my choice."

I just think about writing as a lifelong process of trying and trying and trying, and whenever it works out, it works out. You may or may not be ready. When is anything in life ever perfectly set-up anyway?

Even if you DO think you're too young but you're curious about MFAs, you should apply to a few schools and see how it turns out. If you get rejected, think about it as a trial run. If you get accepted, go visit and see if it excites you. If you want to go there, if you're excited about it and feel like you belong, then go!!, even if you're 21, even if you have nothing to write about. you'll figure it out.


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 27, 2006, 1:51 AM

Post #61 of 74 (2537 views)
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Re: [rapunzel1983] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I agree. The MFA application process is a weeding out process and (hopefully at least) only the ready are taken.


RedFaerieGirl21


Mar 27, 2006, 4:30 AM

Post #62 of 74 (2527 views)
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Re: [bigcities] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

   

Quote

And, honestly, if you think that reading books in school and reading books outside of a school-informed mentality are the same thing, you should probably experience the latter before defending the former.



I have been out of school for 3 months, now perhaps this isn't enough "outside of a school informed mentality," as it is essentially equivalent to a summer break, but I have been reading all this time and I haven't noticed a difference. I'm not sure what you really mean by that comment.


Quote
Of course, if you have to preface something with "I hope you don't take offense," there's usually a good chance you're about to say something offensive... a nice rule of thumb, for future reference.



No, actually the expression does not necessarily mean you are about to say something offensive. It can mean that because this is an online post, where the reader cannot see the expression of my face, the sound of my voice, or might misunderstand the intent of where I am coming from, what I am saying may seem rude to the reader when it is not. I merely wrote "I hope you don't take offense," because I wanted maanprohet to see that I respect everything he (I think maan is a he, if I'm wrong I apologize) had to write, though I disagreed, and was not trying to be dismissive of his opinion in my disagreement.


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I guess what I'm saying is that I'm offended on MaanProphet's behalf.



Well, I hope maanprophet will not be offended on his own behalf. I used his quotes merely to show another perspective.


Quote

I read plenty of stuff on my own as an undergrad (occasionally at the expense of my coursework), but I've read completely different - and far more varied - stuff in the year I haven't been in school


I'm not sure why your reading became more varied just from leaving undergrad, unless it was because you had more time and/or more money from working to buy more books. Yes, interests change and expand with each year, but interests can change and expand each year even if you are in school. My reading is far more varied from when I was a freshmen, because I was eighteen and now I'm twenty-one, and it changed every year I was in school. I expect the same will happen next year while I'm in grad school. Whatever interests me, interests me, in shcool or out, and I don't see what "a school informed mentality" (and could you clarify your precise interpretation of this phrase) has to do with it. Yes, there have been books that a class lead me to seek out, or that a prof suggested, but my education has never dictated the variety of my reading. I have always browsed through the bookstore and Amazon, purchasing a book not of my usual habit, that no one I know, friends, profs, anyone, has read, just because I thought I might like it. In fact, I sometimes miss the reading of books from school because my classes would force me to read something I would normally never read. One's variety in reading is entirely one's own choice.





sibyline


Mar 27, 2006, 6:39 AM

Post #63 of 74 (2525 views)
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Re: [RedFaerieGirl21] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

i'm going to try to inject my granny 30 y.o. perspective on what seems to have become a conversation among people in their early 20's.

first of all, i feel like it's dangerous to think it's up to agents / programs to decide if you're ready or not. we're the ones who are choosing when to apply and it's also ultimately our decision when to publish. i don't think it's healthy to leave it up to other people to decide when we're ready. lots of mediocre first novels end up being published this way.

as for taking time off, i can only offer my own story. i did a super-academic english degree at harvard for undergrad, and put myself in a position to get an english ph d. i decided to take a year off and started writing fiction. i think i was technically capable at 21 of writing what i'm writing now, but i ended up feeling like i needed more perspective, and also that i wanted to explore my other interests, mainly visual art but also science.

so now i'm 30 and starting my fiction mfa, having done a stint at a cognitive science lab and a first mfa in visual art. the thing about being early 20-something is that people in their 20's don't know what it's like to be older, so they resent the advice of older people. at the same time, the older people get frustrated because they feel like the folks in their 20's aren't really listening. so these kinds of conversations pop up.

my take is that one has to be really disciplined at 21 to get the most out of their MFA. i think there are people who have that discipline, but not very many. i know this having observed people who are younger than me, and also myself as i've gotten older.

the funny thing was that i thought i had that discipline at 21, but now that i'm 30, i find myself capable of being both focused and relaxed in a way that i never was when i was younger. i think it's just because my life is a lot more settled so i'm not nearly as distracted. i've done all the clubbing and partying and adventuring i need to do. i now know that i'm going to be a writer for the rest of my life, having done everything else i wanted before coming to my computer and typing. and no augustmaria, i'm not saying that a person can't be in this position at 21. :) i'm just speaking for myself.


sarandipidy


Mar 27, 2006, 7:29 AM

Post #64 of 74 (2519 views)
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Re: [sibyline] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think this post is accurate. It is difficult for the two groups in this conversation to get into the others' heads. I think a problem is that sometimes those 'older' voices can seem like broken records (as in, they persist in many situations outside of this MFA conversation).

It's like that stupid quote, which I don't agree with but it relates: "If you are not a liberal at 20, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at 40, you have no brain." If a person feels ready for the MFA in her early 20s, really instinctually feels ready to bring her work to that next level, why not take the risk?

Regarding your last paragraph, I think I'm sort of weird in that I've been done with clubbing and partying--with that kind of 'young' life--since 19 or so. I remember how being at college was strange for me because everyone was doing their "experimenting" with drinking & drugs. I had already done it in high school, and pretty much left it there. That's not to say that I don't go out to bars or live life, I just don't live that hedonistic life.

I don't think I've done enough traveling, but I don't think I'll ever feel that I've done enough. I've already gone across the country two summers and will do it again on my way to Oregon, and that still doesn't seem like enough. If I took time off there would be no way for me to leave by myself. I'd probably have to do it alone, which sounds romantic but in reality I could very well die. :) I guess I could just leave with the SO the next year, since he needs to finish his undergrad here, but I think we'll have lots of our own adventures in the Pac NW, and we'll be making at least SOME money to support it.

I'm just saying that it's not like I haven't thought it through numerous times. At some point I actually thought I was going to take a year or two off, but then I imagined myself in both situations, and I thought about my writing, and I decided on the MFA. This may seem like a risky or impulsive decision, but I've considered all the possibilities and my *heart's* in it.


augustmaria


Mar 27, 2006, 8:25 AM

Post #65 of 74 (2510 views)
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Re: [sibyline] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

Why do you need to be done with your adventures and partying before you get your MFA?

"Oh, I'm old...I've lived my life...I've seen everything there is to see. Time for the MFA!"

I don't get that. I don't get this whole discussion. Not all twentysomethings resent the advice of someone older; I've been in relationships with men fifteen-plus years older than me since I was fourteen years old--believe me, I value the advice of those who are older (that's mean to conjure up a laugh, here). I hate blanket statements because there's always going to be an exception and it causes debates that don't go anywhere, like this one, because there's always the "well, that's just my opinion" disclaimer.

The reason why I spoke up was because this side of the issue (the young side) hadn't been represented in the thread. I stated that I agree that most students right out of undergrad aren't ready for an MFA, but there are ones who are, so the all-encompassing statements of "take time off, it's how I did it, so it's the best way" are just incorrect.

Obviously I understand "where you guys are coming from"--hell, the average age of an MFA student is something like 28, isn't it? But I'm ready now, there are others who are ready at my age, and I understand that others weren't, but that really has nothing to do with me.

Besides, isn't hindsight 20/20? What if the true "right time" for you to get your MFA is at forty? Fifty? Seventy-five? Maybe we're all making mistakes.


bighark


Mar 27, 2006, 9:21 AM

Post #66 of 74 (2493 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

Not everyone is ready for graduate school at 22 years of age.

If you are ready for graduate school at 22, then the only thing waiting a few extra years will do is help you avoid patronizing comments from older people who think that 22 is too young for graduate school.

It takes more brains, talent, and creativity to write something universal when you're young than it does to write the same product when you're older. This is because it's really freaking hard to write something universal.

Now, if you excuse me, I've exhausted my ability to comment seeing as how I'm not going to grad school next year.

Best wishes


(This post was edited by bighark on Mar 27, 2006, 9:26 AM)


sibyline


Mar 27, 2006, 10:31 AM

Post #67 of 74 (2466 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Why do you need to be done with your adventures and partying before you get your MFA?


Please note that I said I've done all the adventuring I *need* to do, not all the adventuring I *want* to do. :) When I sat in front of my computer screen at 21, I felt like this: "God. I'm so young. I can be doing this when I'm 30. I'm gonna go out and have fun." Now, writing is pretty much all I wanna do. Granted, I think I'm more social and flighty than a lot of writers, so I'm sure there are people out there who don't have the same need to settle down before embarking on the writing path.

The productivity of any dialogue relies at least in part on being able to listen to another person's perspective without necessarily interpreting it as an affront on one's own. Everyone is welcome to do as they please and ignore other people's advice. I was just offering my own perspective and trajectory.


sarandipidy


Mar 27, 2006, 10:35 AM

Post #68 of 74 (2461 views)
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Re: [bighark] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, and best wishes to you, bighark. I hope everything works out eventually...don't lose faith in it.


viviandarkbloom


Mar 27, 2006, 11:53 AM

Post #69 of 74 (2435 views)
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Re: [sarandipidy] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

It sounds like many people here want to be professors, and that's great, but most professors are students who never wanted to leave school. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But that's not me. People are going to do what they want, and no one can make anyone want to take time off. Those who are perfectly happy in school are probably going to stay there. Those who want to try other things are probably going to do just that. Personally, I don't want to be an academic. But I also don't want to join the Peace Corp just because it offers experience.

The idea of an aspiring writer going out into the world JUST to have something to write about seems a little backwards. That's not a writer, that's an anthropologist: an academic tourist.

Personally, I do think time away from school is important, but I can only speak for myself.


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 27, 2006, 1:01 PM

Post #70 of 74 (2422 views)
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Re: [sibyline] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

sib: I think that's a pretty good post (although it makes me feel like an oldie, as I'd have been 23 getting an MFA right out of college. Who graduates at 20?) but I do disagree with this:


Quote

first of all, i feel like it's dangerous to think it's up to agents / programs to decide if you're ready or not. we're the ones who are choosing when to apply and it's also ultimately our decision when to publish.


agents and programs don't decide when you're mentally ready for an MFA program, as they can't really know that, but they decide when your WORK is ready, which is most measurable.

The problem with this conversation is that people have no way to compare. You might be glad to get an MFA (or your second one) at 30 and it might be the perfect time. But, hey, maybe if you'd gotten one at 23 you would have published a half dozen pulitzer prize winning books. Maybe doing the program then would have changed things around in a good way for you. And maybe not. No one can really say.

I'm also not really sure how much it is up to us when to publish. It is up to us when to allow OTHERS to decide if you work is ready, but the final decision is still with them.


bullscheidt


Mar 27, 2006, 2:08 PM

Post #71 of 74 (2391 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

This thread, and the thread about MFA rankings, frustrates me. I'm 36 and I know there are many paths to becoming a writer -- some involve years and some don't. Some involve prestigious universities and some don't. I hope that I can follow mine without begrudging anyone else their own.

I wish I was as pithy as sansoleil...


(This post was edited by bullscheidt on Mar 27, 2006, 2:14 PM)


sibyline


Mar 27, 2006, 2:37 PM

Post #72 of 74 (2371 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

yeah, i skipped a grade (ah those years of precociousness). i stand by my claim, especially at our stage in the game, that it's the writer's final decision and not the editor's whether or not to publish. this is probably a product of my idealistic perfectionist tendencies, but i think it's more important that a writer is comfortable about what s/he is publishing than the fact that s/he is being published in the first place. i've seen a number of people rush, or feel uncomfortable with how their book was marketed, or felt like they weren't comfortable with their editorial process. just because someone wants to publish your work doesn't mean that you lose control. i think it's important to be patient in waiting for the right time and opportunity.


bigcities


Mar 27, 2006, 4:55 PM

Post #73 of 74 (2337 views)
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Re: [RedFaerieGirl21] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, looking back on the whole of this thread, I'm completely baffled as to why we're discussing this. People who think they're ready will probably apply and those who think they're not will probably wait. Plenty of fifty-year-olds and twenty-year-olds are writing bad poetry and plenty of the same are writing wonderful poetry. In the end, everyone's writing will speak for itself. However, that's not necessarily going to happen... after all, Adam Haslett had to apply to programs for five consecutive years before landing at Iowa. As far as aging gracefully/having experience goes, hopefully most of us will still be able to pull a Breakfast of Champions or Galapagos out of our heads after the years of Cat's Cradle, Mother Night, and Player Piano have come and gone. But, ultimately, the nitty-gritty of the whole "experience vs. jumping in" argument seems to grow more abstract and, well, inarguable with every passing post, making this forum seem like an excuse for people to make judgment calls based almost entirely on their own experiences. *shrug*

I'm not criticizing anyone, I'm just throwing in my lot with whoever declared the subject "moot."


rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

Mar 30, 2006, 4:03 AM

Post #74 of 74 (2289 views)
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Re: [bigcities] On Pongo's Advice: Straight to grad school or take some time off? [In reply to] Can't Post

To give my two cents on publishing and being ready: I personally think it is best to write without thinking too much about selling your work. And in the back of your mind think: "All good work will be bought by someone eventually." I think that's what John Gardner said. I think he had a bunch of unpublished novels sitting around--which he sold one by one, at least according to On Becoming a Novelist.

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