Blatant Promo for Stellar MFA Program from Selfless Graduate

A Practical Education for Working Writers

Students in our MFA program understand that one of the most important skills a professional writer can have is versatility. Students choose a primary (creative) genre as well as second (professional) genre.

Here, there is no genre hierarchy or arbitrary boundary between genres. All students take workshops and courses with writers of all genres and styles, learning how different approaches and craft techniques can inform their primary and second genres. Our students are poets and grant writers; playwrights and copy editors; horror novelists and technical writers; investigative journalists and speech writers; young adult authors and PR specialists; and so much more!

Our low-residency model allows students to build a writing habit into their professional and personal lives. Through internships and teaching practicums, students apply their coursework in their field of choice. These features, in tandem with our emphasis on multiple genres, are some of the reasons why our student success rate is so high: 87% of graduates go on to publish books and/or work full-time as professional writers.

We encourage you to explore our website for more information, and feel free to contact Assistant Professor/MFA Coordinator Anthony D’Aries with any questions: dariesa@wcsu.edu

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So you want to be a writer, huh?

You first felt it when your were in grade school. You had an assignment to write a poem for Valentine’s Day, like for a greeting card. You got a little tingle down your spine because you knew you could do it. You started right away, scribbling in your notebook, those cutesy-sweet words that moony-eyed fifth-graders would love. But those words linked together, as made-for-each-other like a daisy chain, and that tingle reappeared, because you knew you’d done it so well. So well, your desk mates noticed. “I wish I could write a poem like that.”  You got that tingle again, but this time in your brain. “You could,” you said. “For a quarter.” A quarter later, you made your first sale. Four more, in fact.

You knew you couldn’t stop there. You had to write short stories. Adventure and love and mystery filled your notebook.  Soon, you got a special one you filled in the summer, more poems, more stories, and one notebook later, you started a novel (about a girl and her horse, of course). You got a library card and you read. And read and read and read. The more your read, the more you learned how the words played off of each other. They more you learned how a scene can bleed into the next, the more you built secret lives around each character. And you wrote. More and more. A diary. Essays. More poems. For the school newspaper. You graduated, and entered the real world. This time writing for a small-town newspaper, in the days when small-town newspapers existed. From there you graduated again, from college and into a “real” job. You wrote copy. Press Releases. Advertisements. More short stories, and started a novel for real this time.

It was awful. But still you wrote, finishing it.  But as awful as it was, after dozens of tries, it got you an agent.  (Who apparently didn’t believe you could do awful. Who probably believed in unicorns, too.) But the real world was more realistic. You parted, still friends.

You wrote. Another novel, and another. Three, four. More agents, more parting as friends. All those finished books, all going nowhere. But still you wrote, asking yourself why over and over. You wrote more. Wrote a thesis. Graduated again. You hear other people say they don’t know why they write. They just do. But you know why.  You found this out after years and years of practicing going nowhere. You also found out your reasons for doing it sound too hokey for words. That you write because to not write is worse.

That for some weird, bizarre, sadomasochistic reason it makes your fractured self seem whole. That it gives you a raison d’etre not only in the morning but in the middle of the night. That once in a while you write the perfect turn-of-phrase and when you do, it’s akin to an orgasm. That your moving and arranging of words around a page can sometimes move you to tears or laughter or unfiltered fits of rage. That sometimes those words shoot out of you like rivets to steel, and when they do oh my fucking Lord you need to get out of their way — because you need to get those words out before they stop like a crash into a brick wall. Because inevitably they will stop and when they do, the only thing you can do if you want to call yourself a writer is to keep your ass in that chair until your Muse and your own determination break through. Because there is no magic cure for creative constipation. There’s just you and the words and no magic formula, just a million monkeys at a million keyboards who sometimes, sooner or later, when the planets all line up and you finally get it right, and there’s the world waiting for you to step right up.

So you want to be a writer, huh? Then you can be. But only if you’re not afraid to say it out loud. Can you?

 

Nothing witty but a cute kitty

All right, I have a cold, and my head is so stuffed it’s clogged my brain. I’m living on tea and Smith Brothers Cough Drops, so expect no words of writing wisdom from me this week. So lieu of that, here’s my cat Gracie, who never met a pair of unoccupied pants she didn’t want to sublet. Did I mention she’s exceedingly cute? I believe it goes without saying. She’s my cat, after all.