A short While (In The MFA part 1)

I’ve been away for a while again and I’ve got to say it’s weird writing when I could be watching TV. Just kidding! Maybe…

I have had the pleasure of going to a new University! I got accepted to a new school, Graduate school as I’m sure I mentioned applying in a post long, long ago. Now, I am here–have been here–for about a month, and I’ve got to tell you, the first few weeks were hell. I absolutely abhor the transportation system here in the city. I still hate it. For the first month, I had anxiety attacks while getting ready to go to classes. I commute because a writer just starting is broke and there are some things a loan just can’t give you. Especially, when it’s not large enough. HAHA!

Anyway, I’ve found some peace after going back upstate and visiting some people from my old school. (God, just saying that is depressing). I miss them all! But we have to move on sometimes. I still call/text of course. Thank you technology! I will say that while I have been here I have met some interesting people. I managed to find a “job” and I take classes only twice a week. Sweet, right? Ehh….that train main, it’s stealing my soul…I’ll live for now. The school I go to (Don’t you wish you knew!) is pretty darn cool. It’s huge and I have to walk up a hill that threatens to burn my lungs every time I come and go. At any rate, I find that things aren’t as bad as my nerves made them out to be. I found myself extremely frightened of the idea that I would be alone, in a new place with no friends. But that’s life. We gain new experiences, go new places and find new things we like, we hate and all that good stuff. I came here because I wanted a new experience. (And it was supposed to be cheaper; shhh!!!)

The MFA is exactly like my undergraduate program, only less homework, more insane teachers and frankly a lot more work. And you know what?

I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

I can’t tell anyone that MFA is not for them, or it is, or whatever. It’s your decision and that’s okay. But for me, I knew I needed it. And that degree. My goal is to be a writer, but I also want to teach writing. And the personalities of those I encounter everyday are incredible. There are so many ideas and so many voices that it’s insane. I have one class that is solely dedicated to workshops. Every week we take a manuscript (short fiction or long fiction) that adds up to a maximum of 20 pages and we critique. We discuss and we critique. We laugh and breath and bathe in critiques. I love critiques. (I’m going to probably keep using the world love, just so you know).

I know of so many writers who hate hearing criticism and I want to know…

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!??!

How can you not love a critique? I have an intimate fondness  (a.k.a. LOVE) for  critiques. I want to hear what people see in my writing. I want to know what you thought of a specific part–if it actually made sense and if you genuinely enjoyed my story. During the session, we’re not allowed to talk. And while it’s difficult because we want to defend our work or explain a part, it’s good to just put our heads down and listen. Eventually, we can see what it is that our work has conveyed–whether or not what we wanted was actually happened. You have to remember that often times what you want to convey may not be clearly seen to the reader and critiques are the step to seeing what your reader sees. I want to know what it is that you get from my work. If you as the reader see something that doesn’t add up step up and say it. I need it because if I don’t listen to my reader even a little bit, then why am I writing?

My other class is weird. The teacher is just so chill and lay-back and it’s strange because you’d never expect that from anyone, especially a professor. I think my expectations have been thrown off the roof of some really high building. I will not say that I like this class as much as my workshop class because that’s just impossible. It’s more of a discussion based course than a production of actual work, so I barely am completely there, if you know what I mean. (In case you don’t, my brain wanders…a lot). I will say this, however. The concept of the course is, itself, interesting and sometimes something does catch my attention, but I just wish it was more hands on. That’s just the kind of person I am, though. I need to do something otherwise you’ve lost me. That’s why I love (again) writing!

I think this experience has done a lot of good for me because I’ve actually written a lot more. I’ve currently written four completed stories which are in the editing process and three are in progress which I hope to have finished by this Tuesday or the next and I even started writing the first few pages of a novel idea inspired by this post. And I’m actually working on a new series of short stories based in the same world. (I was really happy with the response from my fellow writers and I hope to make this an on-going project posted here).

I feel like I’ve had a lot more inspiration being in the MFA and I think it’s important to have a place where you can sit down and work. Scratch that. It’s not inspiration because apparently that doesn’t always work here, and that’s true. I think we take from what we’ve experienced, what people have said and what we’ve taken from it and write about it in a new way. Our minds make connections that we don’t always consciously realize, and sometimes it just comes out of nowhere; but writers write. I think I’m finding that I have a lot more to say, a lot more to write about.

I hope to continue writing and eventually share many more of my stories here with you. For now, however, I’m working on a lot of projects and making new memories. I hope you can understand that. In the meantime, I will keep you as updated as possible and maybe take time to share what I’ve learned.

Hoping to write for you soon,

D.Arlene

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