So this week’s news is…I was accepted into the University of British Columbia’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing optional-residency program (a mouthful, I know). Yay me!—and thanks to everyone who helped me get in. Learn more about the program in this interesting article.
Only about 25 per cent of applicants get accepted, so I do feel being chosen is a success in itself. As an acquaintance put it: “The competition is super stiff so you must have killed it with your application and writing sample. Good for you.” And it’s one fewer thing I’m still waiting (im)patiently for!
So what will I get out of an MFA? Personally, I want to 1) improve my writing and 2) be qualified to teach.
But there’s more than that. Author Miranda Hill, a graduate of the program, sums up her experiences and my hopes beautifully:
Deadlines: Prior to the program, her creative writing commitment got “lost at the bottom of the pile of more insistent demands.” With the program, “my creative pieces would have to be completed, submitted and reworked to a schedule! And they were.”
Peers: “What I wanted were peers. People wrestling through the very things I was, but in their own work. And I didn’t know people like that…. There was also positive pressure from others’ successes. Over and over again, I got a sense of the talents of my classmates and thought, ‘s/he can do that? I better up my game.’”
Phenomenal teaching: Miranda says it was as if one of her teachers “reached inside the pumpkin of your possibility and scooped out all that junk, separating it and showing you what could be made into an excellent pie. It was frustrating and challenging and it showed an incredible respect for what you might be able to accomplish—maybe, just maybe—if you tried hard enough.”
Motivation: “Or should I call it fear? When I applied for the program, it was because I believed it was my last chance to become the kind of writer, and person, that I wanted to be. When I dug deep enough, and worked hard enough, goddamn if there wasn’t something there!”
So happy holidays to me. Now all I need to complete the season is my second wish-list present: a publisher.