The MFA year

So I’ve debated about grad school. But here’s my quandry: I’ve done everything I’ve ever really wanted to do with just my trusty bachelor’s. It’s the nature of what I’m drawn to, I think. In the world of journalism (at least, in my experience), your clips are your medals of honor. If you can write, you’re in. If you can’t write but you have a shiny degree, you’re useless. In the world of nonprofit administration, your experience is key. Nonprofit grad programs are relatively new, relatively few, and each nonprofit is so different that coursework won’t necessarily teach you how to wrangle through the internal politics and diverse personalities of a fringe theater company.

I’d want an MFA in creative writing, though. I’d want time and space and smart people around me who are all in love with the written word. Unfortunately an MFA is not eminently practical, career-wise, and it seems bizarre to sink myself into debt for something that’s not a must-have.

So I’m trying something new. I’m trying to surround myself with smart people who love writing (i.e., writing groups, Gapers Block and Second Story), and use my time and space more effectively. Like I’ve been waking up at 8:30 and working for an hour before I head to work.

I’m also trying to read more and find some heroes. I bought a book called Cult Fiction, which details some of the literary world’s underground beloved. I just read about a woman named Tove Jansson who apparently created a quirky bunch of children’s characters called The Moomins that were also saying something to adults, (a la the original text of Winnie the Pooh). I’m totally searching her books out, in part because of a character described as “the philosopher Muskrat who lies in a hammock eating ice cream and reading a book called The Uselessness of Everything.” (This evening, after a particularly stressful day, I went to Kopi for pie and ice cream, and threw my hands up at the universe.)

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