Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Things you are learning in your MFA program.
1. There is not nearly as much time to write as you had hoped to have.
2. You do not want to become an English professor, steady an income as it may be.
3. When you are in a group of MFA students (males and females) and also a few non-MFA strangers, and the strangers ask, “So what’s Big-Shot-Writer like? Does he really hit on students?” Before you can answer for yourself, the boys will inevitably jump in and say, “He DID, but now he’s married to a hot blonde 32-year-old.” They add, “Have you SEEN his wife?” Then they guffaw and chortle.
4. It eats at you a little each time, because it’s as if your own classmates are saying: Female students, you can’t trust a word he says about your work.
6. Another way to look at it is, "The girls are lucky. At least Big-Shot-Writer pays attention to them because of their tits."
5. Yet another way to look at it is, “Aren’t we lucky we’re dudes, because at least we can take it seriously if Big-Shot-Writer tells us we’re fucking geniuses."
7. Big-Shot-Writer never says this, but in CASE he says it, you will all know what he means according to your sex (either: good job, or, nice ass, as if you can't have a nice ass AND write well).
7. When the boys announce Big-Shot-Writer’s marital/hit-on-students status, they first sound mildly critical, disappointed. But only mildly and only at first.
8. The thing is, all the boys want to become just like him asap: National Book Award recipient, then Pulitzer finalist – 60-something and married to a hot young blonde.
9. MFA students shun blogs. They do it quietly, like they are librarians chastising noisy teenagers sitting around a study table.
10. This does not surprise you one tiny bit, as you shunned blogs before you ever wrote your own, or read any, for that matter.
11. If anyone keeps a blog, it’s like some dark and dirty secret.
12. Any asshole can write a blog. It takes a real writer to write literature.
13. Students who shun blogs loudest probably have about twenty different blogs bookmarked on their computers, and at one time, they tested out their own live journal or type pad account.
14. The thing is, you don’t really give a damn if people think less of you for keeping a public blog. Sometimes it is an excellent, non-literary, venting device.
15. You don't trust writers who are cat people, and you don't trust writers who don't drink booze (unless they're recovering). Usually, these people are one and the same.
16. You still want only to be a writer, by profession not hobby. One who earns a living.