School is not a cloister but a job with great requirements.
I’m not the only one who is taking reasonable advantage of this weird, temporary, lucky patronage system — and with all this fuss about who can and should write for free, I shouldn’t be.
“Creative writing programs can teach you how to write, but they can’t teach you what to write.
No instructor or Zellowship can transform you into a storyteller without experience strutting your ambition.” — Jon Reiner, “Live First, Write Later: The Case for Less Creative-Writing Schooling,” article about creative writing programs.
The people in my program average out around age 30, and they’ve lived, certainly — lived as people who have struggled to feed themselves, lived as parents, social workers, scientists, Marines, Enron employees, farmers, teachers and prison guards.
At 24, I am in the abstract an exact example of what Reiner is worried about.Here, briefly, is where I stand on writing programs.The ones that make you pay are dead to me and I do not understand how they continue to exist and multiply.The MFA, as a concept, is a neutral entity — it does not automatically qualify you for anything, it does not fundamentally make you better or worse at what you do.The MFA system is a collection of greenhouses, and what occurs within them is for each program and writer to decide.I avoid these people, as I do the small overlapping sector who complains about the fact that an MFA doesn’t automatically get you a respectable university position teaching the art of fiction to sophomore hockey players looking to express themselves. I like short stories quite a bit — I’m in a fucking MFA program — but the craft of creating pleasing literary nuggets is not quite on par with tax preparation or thank-you note etiquette in terms of skills that translate to real life, and the unsung entitlements of MFA graduates are uninteresting at best and criminally myopic more often.Why all these answers of technological determinism to a question that no one is asking?Maintain an overall cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and a grade of 3.25 or higher in at least two of the following courses: ENG 294WI, ENG 301WI, ENG 391WI, ENG 392WI, ENG 491WI, ENG 492WI, ENG 493.Note: Students considering an accelerated MA program should be aware that their financial aid may be affected for courses double-counting on the BA/BS and MA.” style but is certainly worth nurturing for the insane glimmers of genius and transformation that will be waiting once we put the dumb think pieces down.How about this: we let writers write however they can, let the cream rise however it will. There’s nothing more sadly revelatory of the writer’s marketplace than a piece citing the extravagance of a grad school stipend that, while more than enough to pay my bar tab, is less than double the federal poverty level.