Hey, literary sorts who are in or around New York City, join me tonight at Stonecoast in the City, where about eight of the accomplished writers, who happen to be faculty members in the low-residency MFA program in which I am enrolled, will be reading and schmoozing -- novelists, memoirists, poets, the whole shebang.
Answer: Thick in the Thesis – in which your erstwhile third-semester MFA student must read, annotate, and think deeply about a dozen or so books and many dozen of essays; posit theories and give illuminating examples of issues of writing process and craft; and develop erudite-sounding and somewhat scholarly arguments about how and why accomplished authors made the choices they did – and then put it all together in a cohesive, well-written manuscript.
How long a manuscript you ask? Minimum 30 pages; maximum – as much as one’s faculty mentor can bear to read and respond to. I am at the 100 page mark and you can bet that not even I am interested in reading that many pages on a topic which I myself chose and actually like a lot (more about the topic in a future post. Hint: part of the title reads: “…to love honor and omit...”)
Oh yes, and in my case, I added the earnest and almost fun-sounding option of interviewing six of those authors (it WAS fun and in a future post, I’ll write more about the six generous writers of memoir and essay, including a Pulitzer prize winner, who shared their time and insights with me, and in some cases, tea and homemade cookies).
So I have been away from the blog because I went a little overboard, as is my way, on the reading and research. And the planning. And the pre-writing. And the drafting. And the revisions. And the editing. And worrying, worrying that I will never get past this project and get back to the personal essays and memoir pieces I think I am actually meant to do, and leave the critical theses to the academic folk....(Hey wait – was it not I who a few weeks ago said, to no one in particular, “When I finish my MFA I think I’ll try to find a job teaching writing?” Hmmm.)
The good news is that the deadline is closing in and once I hit the send key, I am going to have the biggest little personal desk-clearing party yet, and treat myself to a teeny little shopping spree – and this time it will not be at Barnes & Noble. I think.