Sunday, June 29, 2014

That Whole MFA Thing

Barring a clerical error or an egregious misstep on my part, whenever the university gets around to conferring degrees, I will have my MFA in Creative Writing.
I have to write about the experience because it all feels so much like a dream, and it is best to write about dreams as soon as you wake from them (lest you forget). Also, it's a writing degree, so why wouldn't I be writing? Granted, my focus was in fiction, but no one really needs to know that. That'll be our secret.

But hopefully it won't be much of a secret. One of the best things about the residencies is that they always rejuvenated my confidence. This residency was no exception, and claiming ownership of a shiny new degree certainly serves to boost my morale. In addition to the encouragement of my mentors, I always appreciated the kind words and compliments from my colleagues. Workshops were not always roses and rainbows, but I was told what I needed to be told.

As a requirement of my fifth and final residency, I had to read a sample of my thesis, and conduct a seminar based on my critical analysis essay. Despite having destroyed my voice with a deadly combination of World Cup soccer and scotch, I thought both went pretty well.

I'd like to thank my thesis advisor, Kevin Moffett, for not only being a fantastic mentor and advisor, but also for asking me to help him at his reading. He, Eli Horowitz, and Matthew Derby collaborated on a novel called The Silent History, which you should really check out. If you like me in any way, shape, or form, for real, you should check out this novel. I had to read a section written by Matthew Derby, in which I was a disgruntled mime who punched a kid in the face. If that doesn't pique your interest, fine. Whatever. The reading went very well, and you really should have been there.

All of this happened at the University of Tampa, during the June portion of the MFA in Creative Writing low residency program. If you don't know/remember what that is, I imagine you stopped reading a few paragraphs ago, but here's some help if you haven't.

Some more highlights of the past residency include me rocking a reprise of "With Arms Wide Open" by Creed during karaoke night at The Retreat, eating Eddie & Sam's pizza three nights in a row, eating more Taco Bus than I care to remember/admit, drinking all of the scotch, meeting even more new awesome writers, and watching the World Cup with everyone. Seriously, it was so awesome watching soccer with other people who not only knew what they were watching, but cared almost as much as I do.

I don't get enough of any of this.

I'd share with you what I read during my graduate reading, but I'm busy looking for someone to publish it. :P

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