Friday, January 29, 2010

Mailbag, Friday January 29, 2010

Time for a new mailbag!

1,004 comments:

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Corey Haydu said...

@Emily Congratulations!!! I applied there too, so of course now I feel the pressure... Any other details you can give me?? I don't even know what to ask-- I'm just freaking out now that someone's heard from a school on my list....

its a great program, i hope you're celebrating!!

Jennifer said...

@Emily -- congrats!

@Rahkan--I walked into my first MFA class and the teacher asked me about my blog and our MFA Chronicles blog. So yep, people from the programs sure do find them.

kaybay said...

@Jennifer

What did they ask? That's so weird to me. That's kind of like a stranger walking up to you and saying something like "that dress you wore last night was beautiful" or something. Ok, maybe not to that extent. But still a little strange :)

kaybay said...

Oh, and I forgot to say congrats to Emily!

Farrah said...

@ Anna, Sam, Rahkan, Frankish, and Cratty--I'd like to get in on the swap, too. Looking forward to it. I'll email.

@ Emily!!!! Congrats!!!!

Jennifer said...

Kaybay--I walked into my class and the teacher said "It's the famous Jennifer." I had no idea what he was talking about. Then he said "You are all over the web." And then he told me he'd seen the MFA Chronicles blog and from what he said I'd gather he clicked over to my personal blog from the MFA Chronicles. It caught me off guard, that is for sure! I was too shy to ask how he knew about the blog. Be careful what you put out there!

kaybay said...

That is funny. I don't have a facebook/myspace page or my own blog, mostly because I'm too scatterbrained to keep up with such things, but I obviously comment here a lot.

Now I have think I'm going to be rejected everywhere with the following letters:

"Dear applicant,

we really enjoyed your sample and would have otherwise accepted you, but you did call that guy a dick and a little man on the MFA blog, so we have no choice but to reject your sorry ass. In the future, keep your damned mouth shut!"

Or something to that effect...

Kati-Jane said...

On the whatsyurundergrad thread... I majored in Scenic Design for Theatre and minored in Creative Writing... then I picked up some Lit classes in my hometown. I have to agree with the comment that lit classes seem to help my writing more than workshops, but that may have been because writing workshops at CofC seemed to be considered like a fun elective to take... so while there were a few of us that had been writing for a while, there were also a lot of people who just wrote fairly embarassing stories about getting crunk at parties, or elves, or elves getting crunk at parties (actually, I wish on the latter, it might have actually been interesting). Probably the most useful class, for me, was playwriting... I found, as a fiction writer, that trying to just tell the story with dialogue and stage directions helped me get leaner.

BTW... Congrats, Emily!

Danielle Wheeler said...

As a poet, I am really enjoying all of your fiction abstracts. Makes me want to go home and read some short stories, stat. So, I will attempt to summarize my poetry sample, because I am at work (on a Saturday!) and obnoxiously bored. My portfolio is titled "Men of Northern Constellations" and it contains a lot of chants, astronomy, axes, forests, captains, soldiers, water, and Jeff Goldblum. Ok, there is only one poem about Jeff Goldblum.
Reading that, my sample sounds ridic.

Any other poets give their sample a title?

Also: Congrats, Emily! Yay Canada.

Lauren said...

@stranger,

the lit crit book I got at Half Price Books is "Texts and Contexts" by Steven Lynn: http://www.amazon.com/Texts-Contexts-Writing-Literature-Critical/dp/0321019792/ref=tmm_pap_title_3

There is a newer edition that is super expensive. Maybe a library would have it? I like it a lot -- it's really accessible.

Unknown said...

Congrats Emily! Can't wait for the rest of the fiction notifications to come in.

No really... I can't wait anymore. I really need to find something (aside from reading) to occupy my attention for the next month... Blehhh

Stranger said...

Thanks Lauren, and everyone else! I've written the titles of these books down, and will get them soon. Thanks again!

koru said...

@Emily, congratulations!

@Danielle ... I have no idea how to summarise my poetry portfolio. But wanna swap samples?

Danielle Wheeler said...

@Koru- I'd love to! I'm at work today, so it might be awhile before I send mine back, but my email is dani.c.wheeler (at) gmail!

Rosanna said...

Morgan:
I applied to UC San Diego, but didn't even get the email about the Feb notifications. Hmm. I bet it'll be pretty soon, though. I mean, the application deadlines were like Dec 1. Yikes, I'm nervous.

SFSU heads-up:
Got an email from them today about filling out FAFSA.

Ok, so I'm interested in fiction sample swapping. I think. I'll probably email mine to those of you who put the emails in this mailbag, if that's ok, and here is mine if anyone wants to email me:

rosannalx (at) aol.com

Farrah said...

I am seriously enjoying this sample swap.

frankish said...

It's interesting. When we talk about which programs we've applied to, the discussion tends to center around funding, faculty and location (among other things). One thing we haven't discussed much is the differing curricula.

When I was researching the various MFA programs, it struck me that some seemed very academic (for lack of a better word...more accurate, maybe, would be literature-focuses), with fairly rigid literature requirements, comps, and sometimes even foreign language requirements. Other programs appear quite studio-focused, built almost entirely around workshop and craft seminars with few fixed literature requirements. And, of course, there are programs everywhere in between.

Did you guys spend a lot of time thinking/worrying about this? Are there certain programs you think are particularly strong based on their curricula?

I've been thinking about this a lot and continuing to research it, even though my apps are all in. Guess I'm just a masochist. :D

Cheers!

Morgan said...

Danielle and koru,

can I get in on this sample swap? Danielle, I'm interested in your Jeff Goldblum poem. Personally, I have two about Kate Hudson...

email me: morganapple0@gmail

Corey Haydu said...

@frankish

I gave a lot of thought to the curriculum at different schools but my main interest was programs that left some room for work in different genres. I didn't limit myself to those schools, but I definitely put them on the list if they seemed to have opportunities to work in childrens/ya lit or playwriting, both of which i have interest in. Because of that New School, Brown and UCB jumped to the top of my list, and Arizona and Oregon moved onto it as well (I am from the east coast and before hadn't really considered moving out west).

It was interesting getting to know programs in locations I otherwise wouldn't have thought to look into. =) we'll see what happens.

Danielle Wheeler said...

@ Morgan: Definitely! I'm at work, so it will be a few hours till I can send one back, but if you want to send one to me--dani.c.wheeler (at) gmail. I can tell you that Koru's is very good, and totally a different style than mine. This is fun!

laura said...

@Emily Congratulations!

Morgan said...

Rosanna,

here's an excerpt from the email: "We will begin notifying applicants in February. All applicants will be notified of their status (admitted, waitlisted, or denied) by the end of March. Admitted applicants will have until April 15 to accept our offer."

I'm getting nervous, too! Since the deadline was so early, I think we might hear from them pretty soon, but it's driving me crazy that I don't know when!! Wishing you luck!

Emily X.R. Pan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Patrick Cooper said...

Regarding curriculum, I was certainly curious to check out what courses were available and required, but I didn't take off or add any programs based upon what I found. I liked that I had a wide variety of curriculum (what's the plural there?) on my list. If I tried to find schools that all had the same sort of curriculum, either very academic/lit leaning or mostly craft/workshops, I don't think I could have fleshed out a list of 12 (based upon my requirement for full-funding). Also, it's hard to gauge exactly what each course would be like and what it would do for me as a writer. My main motivation in going for an MFA is to be in a place w/ other writers while I develop my craft and get closer to living in a manner that's conducive to producing really good art. In a way, the courses almost don't matter (for me at least); it's more important to just be there, in the classrooms, in the workshops, putting the time in to get closer to my goal(s). Of course, I think others might have a more rigid set of expectations, so checking out what's on a program's menu might mean a lot more to someone else. If I'm at this game again next year though, I'm still going to be looking at funding first and maybe curriculum fifth or sixth.

Jake Maxwell said...

I've seen a lot of people list the programs they've applied to, but I'm more curious about where you all want to go most. What is everyone's top three?

Nick McRae said...

@ GotBisco

The plural is curricula. Just chiming in because I'm a language nerd and I like foreign grammars!

All best,

NM

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

Nick, I knew the answer would come quick on this blog--thanks.

@Jake: my top three are Wisconsin-Madison, Syracuse, and Wyoming.

MissKitch123 said...

I think I'm going to say Wisconsin-Madison, Syracuse, and NC-Wilmington. I also applied to U of Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, U of Michigan, and Idaho. But I don't think I can choose a favorite. They all seemed so wonderful.

On exchanging writing samples - I applied in fiction. Anyone interested?

Hannah said...

Top three: Texas, Michigan, and Syracuse.

Mostly Swell said...

@Emily
Congrats!!!

Laura said...

Top three (poetry):

Emerson
UMass Boston
UMass Amherst

...Living in Massachusetts would be really great for me right now.

kaybay said...

Hmmm, probably Notre Dame, Florida, or Alabama. Those are the three I am most excited about/feel I have at least a smidgens of a chance to get into...

Cornell and Iowa sound cool too, but they never felt right from the get-go, like I was wasting my time and money filling out the applications because I just stood no chance at getting in. Anybody else feel that about some of your programs, like why bother?

Reminds me of that Dumb and Dumber quote:

Lloyd: what are the chances of a guy like you and girl like me getting together.
Mary: Not good
Lloyd: Not good like one in a thousand?
Mary: I'd say more like one in a million.
Lloyd: so you're telling me there's a chance!

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

whoops--I should add, I applied for fiction. I wish we could get cool markers next to our name signifying our genre. I'll take the Top Hat or, if I have to, the Race Car.

Corey Haydu said...

I'm trying to wait and see what happen... I feel like I'll have a clearer idea of what to do when I actually know where I'm in. But a big part of me wants to stay in NYC (been here 9 years-- and feel like both my personal and professional life are doing well here) That said I thinking my top three (today) are New School, UCB and Sarah Lawrence.

Full disclosure: just in typing this out I changed my mind three times. so.... take it with a grain of salt.

Eli said...

Thanks all for your intriguing answers about undergrad creative writing courses! Honestly, I would have loved to have done that, though I would have only produced mountains of elves/crunk rubbish. WanderingTree, I also like the sound of your anthro/visual arts double major. Sounds up my street too - and I agree that extensive interdisciplinary work can inform writing perhaps more than toiling predominantly in the field itself. Your answers made me a tad nervous as I really do feel like the MFA blog's resident wild card - not a US citizen, no background in creative writing - but I'm also cultivating quite a Zen approach. What will be will be, and writing goes on regardless. On that note, Sam, your post to Lauren was superb. I dug your sentiments.

Jake, I don't have a top three. Glib as this may sound, I'd be truly delighted to be offered a spot at any of my six schools. They're all incredible programs and I'd love to go to any of them.

Farrah said...

Wisconsin and Iowa, tied for first (and only), out of geographic necessity combined with the fact that either program would be worth turning my life upside down for. Pardon the dangling preposition.

Eli said...

ps. Congratulations, Emily! Three years in the gorgeous heaven that is Vancouver - sweet!

Kati-Jane said...

@Eli:
BTW, the elves/crunk comment of mine wasn't meant to denigrate either party narratives or fantasy, if they're done well. I noticed earlier on this blog that there are a lot of fellow fans of Neil Gaiman, for example... it was just that a lot of the students in my undergrad creative writing classes who were not very good writers, and really weren't trying to become good writers, seemed to naturally gravitate towards those types of stories.

Again, I applied one place. So I have a top one. Fingers crossed that Barry Hannah and crew like my sample, as that's what I understand it's all about. :)

Unknown said...

Since there seems to be more applications this year, when do you guys expect we'll hear from most of the schools?

Do you think we'll hear from the schools at the same time as last year? A week later than last year? More than that? I guess I've been thinking about this because Indiana notified on this day last year -- the last Sat of January. And yet I would be surprised if they started notifying this early. I'm thinking maybe a week or two from now.

Just from looking at Seth's blog and the archives at the speakeasy, it looks like most schools notified in Feb last year. If I had to guess, I'd say that the main part of the acceptance season won't begin until March this year rather than Feb.

Any other guesses out there?

Pet & Gone said...

Still up for fiction sample swap. Email me at brandiwells at gmail dot come

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

I'm going to make a guess and say that this year, because of the increased # of applicants, most of the Top 50 notifications will come at least 1-2 weeks when compared to previous years.

Sequoia N said...

Ugh - top three. I love things about all of them.

If I had to choose right now, I'd have to say:

1) Iowa or Texas-Austin
2) Wisconsin- Madison
3) Brown

sh said...

I've been avoiding swapping fiction samples because I'm afraid of reading lots of stuff that's better than mine, ha! But I guess I'll give it a shot. Curiosity!

You can find me at:

ssholley (at) siu (dot) edu

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

at least 1-2 weeks later than*

time for that afternoon coffee...

and like someone mentioned above, even though I listed my top 3, I'd be more than happy to take any offer a program gave to me.

RugbyToy said...

Just out of curiosity, did we ever establish why rejection letters often seem to be sent out later than acceptance/wait list letters?

That response timeline of Seth's (while absolutely appreciated) is such a torture device when you consider "rolling" notification and whatnot.

It's as though participating in these blogs--it's all the control we now have in this process. We're like sharks that can't stop swimming; if we keep clacking away, we'll have some hold on the process, we'll be actively participating within it, we'll feel less helpless.

I beg for the rejection letters sometimes more than I do acceptance. Because then I can move on. Closure. I know it's been said before, but it IS like a break up. "Oh, good--I can stop stalking you now, fantasizing about our inevitable reunion. Because now I see you've married someone else. Or have been killed in a boating accident."

To re-cap: Does anyone know why rejection notifications often come out later than acceptances?

Jake Maxwell said...

That's rather apt. Getting rejected from a school probably does feel like your dreams were killed in a boating accident. But at least we'll always have the memories...

sh said...

@RugbyToy

I imagine schools probably hold back on rejections so they can still dig into their applicant pool if their first (and second, and third) choices turn them down. You wouldn't want to say no to everybody just to find you still have to fill three spots!

re: top three

I applied to 10 programs, and I would of course love to go to any of them, but I definitely have favorites: Wisconsin-Madison (which I see is on a whole lot of people's lists--oh no!) and Brown and NYU (with good funding!)

Unknown said...

WT, you cheated and listed four schools.

Laura said...

Like some others have mentioned, a lot of people in my undergrad creative writing courses just took them because they thought it would be fun or an easy elective... then they were all surprised by how intensely the professors ran the courses, and how slacking off wasn't tolerated. Then they would complain about the professors being too tough. It really annoyed me, how creative writing was perceived as something easy and that anyone would be given an A as long as they "expressed themselves." I know not everyone taking an undergrad CW course wants to devote their lives to writing, but I wished they would at least take the subject more seriously. It's so frustrating how the apathetic students (sadly sometimes in the majority) drag down the class for the few who are actually serious. *sigh* This is also something I'm wondering about how to deal with if I end up teaching.

Eli said...

Kati-Jane - I get ya. I just love the combination of elves & crunk. It makes me want to mash them into one hideously catchy word and go touting it about on urbandictionary.com until it enters the popular lexicon and, eventually, inevitably, Neil Gaiman writes an elves/crunk themed novel. Which would spawn another generation of not-so-great imitators...arrgggh! and so the elves/crunk cycle begins! Good luck with Mississippi - that program looks wonderful.

Sam, agreed. My mostly uninformed guess (the informed bit = looking at old Speakeasy notifications and previous stuff on here), is that you're probably right about March being the month when things really get underway this year.

Unknown said...

@RugbyToy

I agree with Sh. I think they do that to leave their options open. Plus, there's an administrative reason as well: stuffing all those envelopes takes time.

Sequoia N said...

re: misconceptions about majors and courses

I took a course called Image and Identity in Comic Art in the last semester of my senior year. I already had more than enough credits to graduate with honors, and I sort of wanted to coast and take fun classes. Needless to say, the course kicked my ass. I'm sure many creative writing undergrad programs are quite rigorous.

Unknown said...

@Laura Re: CW as easy

I completely agree with your sentiments about how CW is unfairly viewed as easy. However, I do think that the class should probably be an easy A as long as the students put forth the effort to succeed. Meaning, the students need to participate in class, turn in their assignments on time, offer notes, show up, etc.

The reason I think the class should be easy is because CW is so hard. Writing a GOOD short story is probably the hardest thing an undergrad will attempt in school. Therefore, the expectations should be low. Otherwise, everyone would fail the course.

Lauren said...

My top 3:

Florida
Ohio State
Florida State

But I am sure I'll be happy in any of the programs to which I applied :)

laura said...

Maybe this will start a new thread.

Q: What are your ideal moving plans for after you get accepted to the school of your dreams?

I'm wondering how many people are considering an early move, a long drive across the country, or a plane ride the day before class? Obviously this all depends on where we are accepted, but it is fun to dream!

The only advantage of wasting my undergraduate degree on my lousy retail job: I can transfer! I'm hoping to move around mid-Juneish (my best friend is having a baby in May, so I want to be around for that), and I'll ideally support myself by working retail. That way I'll be settled by the time MFA madness starts.

I love the idea of driving across the country, mostly because I haven't seen most of the stuff in-between the coastlines. Although, depending on which school I go to, it may a longer or shorter trip. A drive from CA to Fairfax, VA will obviously be much more of a commitment than a drive to Arizona. We'll see!

Trilbe said...

@kaybay - I know what you mean about feeling like you've wasted your money in applying to some of the high-odds schools -- it feels, to me, sort of like buying a lottery ticket. Do you really buy a lottery ticket and walk away waiting to win? Or do you walk away expecting to throw it in the trash a day later when, oh well, you weren't the one-in-two-million who won the jackpot? Who, no matter how talented you are, can look at yourself in the mirror and say that you know that you are one of the four people that Cornell is going to choose? Who can, honestly, do that?

BUT this game really isn't like the lottery. It's about the right school connecting with the right sample. Sadly, there's no way to predict who the sample is going to click with. But, happily, there is no way to predict who the sample is going to click with. If you were interested in Iowa or Cornell and you didn't apply, you would have been screwing yourself out of a major opportunity. Because, no matter what the odds are, every year people who don't expect to be chosen by these programs are chosen. Every year, you read the posts of people whose spirits are down because they've just been rejected by a school that they thought they had a lock on and then, a week later, this same person is posting over the moon because the school they never thought would take their work seriously has just admitted them.

You just don't have access to enough variables to be able to look at your work and say who is going to accept you and who is going to reject you. It wrecks the nerves, but that's just the way this system is.

laura said...

Oh jeez. My comment has so many typos. Sorry! Whoever said it is right: typos are more embarrassing here than on the rest of the internet.

Also, I realize my comment is a little misleading. I don't plan on supporting myself with my lousy retail job all the way through the MFA. I am only hoping it will get me through the summer before my funding package kicks in. :-P Who knows, though, I may need to consider keeping it. So much fun to dream, though!

Danielle Wheeler said...

That is a really good question, Laura.

I'm young and career-less, so, in some ways, picking up and moving across the country should be easy for me. I don't have a super job to leave behind, or a ton of belongings to pack (though, I have way too many dresses/books.) But I'm also married and broke, which complicates things. Ideally, we would get there in July, which would give my husband some time to job hunt (he is an artist and currently works for a museum, so...slim pickins.) But moving is so expensive, so who knows? We may be living out of our car, or camping, until my glorious stipend comes. God, I hope not.

I'm really interested in hearing everyone else's answers. This whole affording-to-move thing has kept me up at night.

Sequoia N said...

Laura,

re: moving plans

I'd like to move out by May/Early June so I can get my bearings (do some traveling/maybe some touristy crap/check out the local cemeteries etc.), get my apartment (or room if I'm with housemates) set up, and possibly secure a summer job (that would ideally extend into the year part-time - that's asking a lot in this economy). As far as getting out to the actual destination, it really depends. I'll probably city hop and crash at the houses of friends across the country. I hear there are chips and pancakes and the like shaped like Elvis in the midwest . . . sounds promising.

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

I didn't want to start looking yet at C-list apartments because then the fantasy would be so well built that it would crumble with that much more force if I didn't get in anywhere. However, I will say that regardless of where I got in, I'd like to work like mad in May, June, and July at my current job--maybe do some tennis lessons on the side to make extra $--and get to a spot by the first week of August. I'd like to acclimate myself with where I'd be living and be into a nice groove--or as close as one can be w/out starting the program--before classes began.

kaybay said...

Good post, Trilbe, that actually made me feel better :)

Jake Maxwell said...

Re: Living plans

I'm hoping to travel around India and SE Asia from June-August with some money I got from writing a play. When I get back, I'll probably drive to wherever I get in if it's west of, say, Michigan, otherwise I'll just fly there and hope for the best.

Deeedeee said...

Ahhh!!! 250 responses later... To whomever replied back regarding Marquette, thank you. Any and all information is greatly appreciated. I'll take "cute" anyday.

Moving expenses: Is the general consensus that grad school housing is cheaper than finding an apartment off campus, or is it vice versa? or just dependent on the area? Does anyone still reside in dorms?

Sequoia N said...

Deedeee,

I think it depends on the school/city. I glanced at the housing options on and off campus for a few of the programs (Yeah, I'm already living the dream). Some schools have pretty reasonable rates for grad apartments/houses/dorms but others are a serious rip-off. Also, you'd have to deal with the fact that a lot of grad housing options look like prisons. Personally, I'd rather live off-campus. I don't want to deal with an unnecessary b.s. that comes with campus/campus-owned housing living. I've been out of school for quite some time, and I'd like to separate my home life from my school life at least a little bit. I'm tired of housemates and all the potential drama that comes with living with people but at the same time when you move to a new city, having housemates is a good way to get to know your surroundings, other people etc. (And in some of the program cities, roommates/housemates may be a necessity if you want to live off your stipend).

Deeedeee said...

Also, pets and pianos. Nevermind fretting over acceptance rates... I'm most worried about potentially getting these from point A to B. It must be liberating to move across country with nothing but a backpack. That's nothing I'd know about as I have to take my upright 700+ lb. Wurlitzer with me.

frankish said...

Heh. Fortunately, I plan to sell all of my furniture before I leave and start over...and I don't own a piano. But I do worry about how I'm going to get my geriatric dog (not to mention books and junk) across the country (depending where I end up).

Oh, well, I'll worry about that if I actually get in somewhere. :D

laura said...

Deeedeee: Yes, I also have a giant dog. He takes up all the space in my little civic! I think I'll probably make the drive with him, and then I'll ship most of my stuff.

Deeedeee said...

Wandering,

I know exactly what you mean... wanting to avoid the campus atmosphere. But I think I might avoid housemates even more so? I was mainly wondering about grad school housing in NY as a means of potentially cutting cost. Or, if I get an acceptance call from Amy Hempel, I'll just ask to room with her.

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

I didn't even think of all the books. Oh man, the books. I've picked up so many in the last few years, moving them is going to be quite a task.

Unknown said...

Re: moving

Ideally, I would want to make the drive. My cat is used to traveling long distances - when I moved to Houston from Chapel Hill (NC) she went the whole 18 hours w/out using her litter box (which was admittedly a little worrying) - but anyways, she seemed fine. There is SO much of the U.S. I haven't seen yet! I wish I could just take a road trip regardless of whether or not I get in anywhere.

Deeedeee said...

Ha! So glad I'm not the only one thinking more about dogs than my writing sample? Driving seems most ideal. Embarassingly enough, I never knew pets could fly cargo. Regardless, mines a bit too neurotic to be placed in those conditions.

Unknown said...

re: moving

No matter where I go, I'll be driving my car and hiring movers for the rest of my stuff. I've lived monastically for many years now, so it's not terribly expensive to hire movers because I don't accumulate a lot of stuff. And I don't want to drive a Uhaul and pull my car across country.

Cratty said...

Ah moving . . . I've beena hermit ever since I left college and came back to my little cave across the Atlantic. Moving won't be a problem for me in the traditional sense - I have a handful of books, some shirts, neat little slacks and my Wii. If I'm accepted anywhere, my main problem, since I live abroad, is figuring out where a taxi will take me once my plane lands. Are there any other Internationals out there . . . have you thought about this?

Unknown said...

Re: moving...

I hear you with the books. My own mini-library fills my ickle car, so I'm going to have to ship some. My pack & send literally has "book boxes", however, which are not so terribly expensive, and can be any weight.

More intriguing is going to be the cat... I was thinking of room/housemates as a way of cutting costs regardless of where I go, before I adopted/was stuck with el gato. Now I'm worried all CWers are dog people! XD.

Cratty said...

Oh, and big ups to Emily for the UBC notification. Oh how I long to get plastered upon hearing I'm accepted somewhere . . . ah well, nothing wrong with hope.

rahkan said...

Yeah, I am mildly worried about my own cat. She;'s lived in my parents' full-sized house for twelve years. But now they've moved to India, and I'm the one taking care of her here. I kind of wonder how she'll adapt to apartment living (and maybe even with new, strange people) at her advanced age. But I guess it's something she'll have to try out, because the only other option is moving to India, which I'm pretty sure she'd like less.

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

A note to MFA program acceptance committee LURKERS,

See my name? I'm Ryan #76 on this blog. I'm a lurker too. Those other Ryans, their comments are not mine.

One other thing: pick me. I will totally ROCK YOUR WORLD!

Peace,
Ryan (#76)

Kati-Jane said...

Re: Moving

Yeah, on the astronomically impossible chance that I get into the one place I applied... I would definitely be hoping to do a month long trip from SC to MS, just to visit places I've wanted to check out for a long time, but couldn't get around to because of work. Also, on-campus housing is probably out for me because I'll have my fiance with me... and, I don't know if I'm the only one contemplating this... but is anyone else thinking about buying? I mean, I look at the rent for a 2-bed 2-bath in Oxford, then I look at what the monthly mortgage payment would be if I put 20% down... it's no contest. If I was funded, $500 a month vs. $250 has significant ramifications on my quality of life.

BTW, on the earlier thoughts about small-mindedness in small towns, I just wanted to add that it is certainly something I think about, even though the limit of my alternative lifestyle is the fact that I'm living with my fiance before we're married. But, I find myself wondering, since I am looking at Mississippi... do I need to start rocking a ring? Just to add weight to the whole "engaged" thing? Too much time to worry about these things, since I can't do anything else with the application. :)

Deeedeee said...

haha!

Jessie said...

My top three: Iowa, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Iowa because it is Iowa, and also because my girlfriend and I can get married there (sort of a sentimental reason, but there you go); Massachusetts because it is awesome and a three-year program and we can get married there; and Michigan because I already live in Ann Arbor, so it would be much easier to find housing and a job for my girlfriend. My reasons are really prosaic, now that I look at them. I guess I'm just practical at heart. I guess picking a "top three" out of the ten amazing programs I applied to is sort of like saying "would you rather diamonds fell out of the sky, or rubies?"

Sequoia N said...

Man, I'm jealous of all you people with pets. I used to have a cat in Japan and before that I had a papillon (in dog heaven now). I don't have any creature at the moment, but I would love to get a Corgi. I'm a huge fan of little dogs with big ears. I'd like to name my next dog Mortimer. How's that for a macho dog name?

Re: shipping/transporting books

If I fly out, I'm going load up all my suitcases and carry-ons with books and just ship everything else. If I drive, I'll try to recruit someone to caravan with me, so I can transport everything without having to ship.

RugbyToy said...

I got four--count 'em--four large dogs. They're all rescues, and all so sweet. I picked each of them up (and others) with the intention of finding them homes. Some found homes; some didn't. Now I have My Little Pack.

Still, that's 335 pounds of animal to move wherever it is I move to upon acceptance/rejection. (I am bustin' out of this popsicle stand no matter what.) I own a little sedan. We usually haul them around in my boyfriend's truck, but it's just a little thing and not fit for moving cross-country or even cross-county.

I don't know what to do. I imagine I should continue on with my original plan and put at least two or three of them on Petfinder. But I'd be so picky as to where they should go, if we ever got a nibble. And, besides, they're my family.

But moving is just one issue. What about finding a rental that'll take multiple dogs? Or a rental with the yard space? (My current house, which is such a blessing, has a huge fenced-in yard. I'd live in a one-room shack if it meant giving my dogs their space. And I'd pretty much have to--even with sweet funding, I don't know if I can afford to rent a semi-rural or suburban property in these cities.)

I'm so scared that I've saddled myself with a family I can't realistically have.

laura said...

RugbyToy: Did you apply to many rural schools? Msybe you'll get lucky.

Unknown said...

WT,

I used to want a Corgi just so I could name him Ein...

Corey Haydu said...

Ha, I'm worried about my dog too. I have a puppy in the city and he'll freak out when he learns about the world outside nyc... especially if its somewhere like iowa or arizona. he literally will not understand wtf is going on. =)

I feel like the number of writers with dogs is more than normal people with dogs... is this in my head?

Amy said...

It's a difficult one for me, thinking about moving and such. I mean, I do it, but I can't bring myself to type out a plan. because this application process is so tenuous.

In fact, instead of thinking of moving I focus more on Plan B, Plan C, etc et. I'm not pessimistic per se. Just real talk.

sh said...

I'm going to drive it, hopefully early in the summer so I have time to get settled and figure the place out. Then again, I guess that would make meeting people difficult. I'm undecided then, I suppose. But I AM driving, almost certainly, no matter where I get in. Unless it's NYU, in which case I don't plan on bringing a car so I'll fly. As for pets, I have a cat who might be going to live with my roommate after this semester instead of me, depending on where each of us ends up going.

Cratty said...

So many people with dogs. Why did I have the impression that writers were cat people. Maybe I'm just projecting cuz I love cats.

RugbyToy said...

I love cats, too. I think if we think of writers as solitary, cigarette smoking introverts writing away in some dimly lit, oak-paneled study then, yes, cats seem more appropriate to the atmosphere.

But if you see a writer as someone who shouts and screams and 'wrassles and picks fight with bouncers and breaks into cupcake factories at night ... then a dog, rascally as dogs can be, seems more appropriate.

I guess it's two kinds of neurotic: shut-up, closed-off recluse ... or manic, aggressive tumbler.

laura said...

Cratty: I fostered cats for years, but my sister took them when she bought a house. I inherited my dog from my parents.

I feel I'm too young and my life is too unpredictable to ever adopt an animal "on purpose." I love both dogs and cats. My parents just got tired of having three dogs that my sister and I conned them into adopting when we were younger. So, they gave me the largest and most lazy dog they had. :-P

I am grateful and I love him. I just worry about him moving so often.

Stranger said...

I dreamt I got into Iowa and was asked to teach three classes. Interested in the details, anyone? Because it included being notified on someone's roof, by a strange lady. lol I'm losing my sanity!

Eli said...

Pencore, agreed. And I hope you used the words 'real talk' like R.Kelly uses them. Real Talk!

Cratty, as much as I'm with Pencore on this one, I'm thinking, (though I'm wary of tempting fate), that I'd find & book temporary student accommodation in advance (for the most part, not too difficult to find in late summer) and stay there initially. I did this when I moved to another country fairly recently and it worked fine until I found somewhere permanent. Also, most schools are likely to have structures in place to help bewildered souls crashing in from abroad - International Student Offices etc. And they all have Housing Offices too, or something similar.

But if you spend your first few days sleeping in ditches, hitchhiking in completely the wrong direction, and stumbling around unfamiliar towns, c'mon now! There be some good writing material.

Eli said...

Go on, Stranger. Maybe you're some kind of oracle. Roof notifications might be a surprising new trend this year.

Cratty said...

Bless ya Laura. And you too Rugby - 4 dogs! Good heavens, dogs are much too dependent for my liking. Every time I go over to a dog-owning friends house, the little horses leap on me, uninvited. And every time I tell them, no, please go away, they insist! They insist on forcing their faces in the nook of my arm; leaping onto my lap . . . mercy, such unveiled requisition for approval . . . no no no, doesn't suit my temperament. Now cats. What could anyone have against a cat. So purrty. I like the idea of dogs though. And I like looking at them from afar.

Amy said...

We're all writers, conduits of truth and life, right?

So yeah, real talk all day long!

(Confession: all this talk of moving and stuff got me onto the Iowa City CL, and I had to force myself to close the browser window after a few minutes.
Confession #2: I already researched it, there is no Trader Joe's in Iowa City.
Confession #3: I wonder if there are (multiple) good pho restaurants in Iowa City.)

Stranger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cratty said...

Eli,
Walking the back roads of strange old towns with only a backpack? I've been there. I loved it, but that was a past life. I learned a lot, made money in ways a young man of 22 really oughtn't. But now I'm older, all of 24. I'm ready for the simple life.

Stranger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danielle Wheeler said...

@ pencore: I don't know about pho, but IC has some truly awesome Indian food, as well as some other good eats. I have only been there a few times, but I had the most amazing, fancy baked mac'n'cheese of my life there once (don't doubt!)((I wish I could remember the name of the place)) and I have also heard there is a Whole Foods-ish type grocery store somewhere. I really liked it; typical college town vibe, but nice campus connected to a cute little downtown area.

Amy said...

Oh! Another plus for Iowa City is that they might have some awesome thrift stores there! There was discussion of the rust belt earlier and I just remember thinking, "Think of all the awesome vintage clothes that everyone else is overlooking in favor of Old Navy!"

There's another plus.

But I'm not thinking about moving or anything.

Unknown said...

I had a dog. It died.

Had a fish. It died.

Had a fat cat. Ate himself to death.

Got another dog. Ran over by a car. Two separate times. It died in a wheelchair. Not enough exercise they said.

Had a pony. Got hooked on speedballs. Last I heard it was living out of its car.

If anyone wants me to take care of their pet while you move, just let me know! I love animals!

Sequoia N said...

Pencore,

I know Iowa City pretty well. There's the Pioneer Co-op (like a Whole Foods or a Trader Joes) - two of them actually. The co-op makes INCREDIBLE sandwiches (i.e my favorite is the pesto tofu with mango chutney- sounds weird but it is delicious). Kitty corner from the downtown co-op is a great place to get beer (make your own indie micro-brew six-pack)

Re: Indian food: Iowa City and Iowa in general actually has some great places for Indian and Thai. My favorite is Masalas located in the IC Pied Mall.

Courtney said...

My moving concerns: two cats, two sugar gliders and a ferret. And a husband. And about three bands worth of music gear, including a full PA. Hundreds of pounds of books. Jeez. Its going to take a fleet of vans and a lot of sedatives.

Eli said...

Stranger, it's very, very sad and you got into Iowa? That ain't too tragic. But the strange lady in a suit has a slight Cylon quality to her (sorry, Battlestar Galactica reference. It means she's a disturbing creature who is trying to f*ck with your head and wouldn't pass the Turing Test). Still, never mind her. You got in. In your dream. Hurrah for dreams!

Cratty, man, you OLD! A walking stick, a rocking chair and a place at the Michener Retirement Centre for Elderly Writers are coming your way.

Amy said...

WT,

Oh, but do those co-ops have Trader Joe prices? That's the amazing thing about TJ is that they offer good, organic fare for reasonable prices! (Oh, the grad student budget!)

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

Stranger, don't feel bad, that sounded like how a dream would be on a roof getting an acceptance envelope from a representative from Iowa. I think the question of the hour should be how does a young man of 22 make money the wrong way? Cratty, the world wants to know... :)

And I told myself that I'd get a dog if I got into a program. I haven't had one since pre-teen years and have wanted one for a while. MFA time seems like as good as any.

kaybay said...

What, pray tell, is a sugar glider?? Sounds interesting...

Kerry Headley said...

I've spent more time on the interactive Trader Joe's map than I want to admit. And, yeah, most health food stores are crazy expensive compared to TJ's. But if I got into Iowa I would find a way to deal.

Sequoia N said...

Sugar Gliders seem like such awesome animals. My only worry is that they aren't legal in every state. Courtney, how much noise do they make? Do you carry them in pouches?

(Kaybay, refer to this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4dFzDZBrGs - sort of like flying squirrels)

Brandy Colbert said...

congratulations, emily!

Sequoia N said...

Pencore,

The prices aren't as low as TJ's but they aren't prohibitively expensive. Students do shop there. I used to get my staples at the regular Hy-vee/Fareway grocery store and then get the "extras" at the co-op to add a little pizzazz and hippie goodness to my meals.

Cratty said...

GotBisco,
Before I divulge any information, I'd need to know what's everyone tolerance level on here...I mean - is this a PG-13 kinda audience?

Eli, did you do your undergrad in the UK or the States?

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

From what I can tell, I'd say we're operating on a Cinemax/Show Time sort of Soft-R rating/level.

Rosanna said...

Morgan:

When did you get that email?

Yeah, sounds like it could be soon. Scary.

Good luck to you too!

Cratty said...

Fine. But I'm ever so shy these days. I can definitely say, though, I learned how to turn squeals into songs under the moonlight.

Eli said...

Cratty, gosh. (Re. squeals).

Undergrad in the UK. I'm British-born and British-educated, innit. Did you do undergrad here?

Jamie said...

@kati-jane

I mostly regret that my midafternoon dumbassery yesterday may have come across as a monolithically negative view of the south, when that's not the case (I'm from there).

To atone, I'm offering whatever rent vs. buy wisdom I have:

I've heard that you should be prepared to own what you buy for at least five years. Assuming you qualify for the first-time buyers' credit, that you can get a decent rate on the mortgage, and that you'll have the reliable income to pay the note (and some savings in the event of a layoff, etc.), then as a monthly cost it might make a lot of sense to own. Putting 20% down might get you a better price too - nothing negotiates like cash in hand. You've just got to model it out.

You do have some risks. The biggest are that you buy and won't be able to sell when you want, say when your MFA is done, or that you'll need to sell and will have to take a hit. So good to consider timing in ownership - think about that five years. Big risk number two is major expenses for the house. If the boiler or roof goes, it's on you, not the landlord. Sure a good appraisal can spot some stuff up front, but houses just have a way of sucking up money, being fine one day and requiring tens of thousands in maintenance the next. Either of those two risks could wipe out whatever monthly savings you'd accrue from paying the cheaper mortgage, as well as whatever equity you built up during the MFA period.

I rent, not own, but have been debating the rent/own question for several years now w my wife.

Courtney said...

Oh man, my sugar gliders. Some people(erroneously)call them flying squirrels, Kaybay. They are nocturnal marsupials from Australia. They make a few types of noise, WT--one sound when they are bothered that sounds exactly like an electric pencil sharpener; and one when they are trying to talk to other clusters of gliders in the middle of the night that sounds like a chihuahua yap, but over and over until you walk over to them and shush them because there ARE NO clusters of gliders nearby and they are getting pathetic just calling out to no one at 4am. Also, they have the most complicated diet ever: fresh fruits and veggies everyday plus the sap of an Acacia Gum tree mixed with yogurt, Kern's nectar and pedialyte. Plus meal worms. And sugar glider chow which smells like fruity pebbles.

Also, they bite till they taste blood.

But don't let that sway you. You do carry them around in a pouch and they cuddle and snuggle into your pocket. Unless, like I said, they are in the mood to bite until they taste blood.

They're awesome but you have to dedicate a lot of time to them. Or like, all of your time. They have to be able to fly around sometimes. They can glide up to 250 feet if they can get enough height!

Cratty said...

Ha Ha, "innit" - I love it. No, never been to the Isles, which is weird, cuz I have so many friends and family there (being subjects of the Commonwealth and all).
I did undergrad in the States, in Ithaca, NY. Then hauled ass back to the Caribbean.
I'm curious. What're the MFA programmes like in the UK? Are they plentiful . . . is there any that stand out? My searches for Int'l programmes didn't go past Canada. But you'd think the land that's the progenitor of the English language would've been a good place to start . . . innit.

kaybay said...

Whoa, those (sugar gliders) are pretty cool, it's like owning a zoo animal! I don't know if I have enough patience for that. I have two dogs right now and sometimes they drive me insane. My bulldog *has* to have dinner at 8:00 on the dot, and he is relentless with the barking and whining! And he (as well as other bullies) are renowned for their smelliness. The farting and the burping... it's overwhelming at times... I wonder who owns who quite often :)

Amy said...

WT: good to know about the co-op. I dunno why I need to know the nitty-gritty of the cost of living in Iowa City.
But I need to stop thinking about that town!

re: distractions
I may be alone here in that I looooveee watching battle raps on youtube, like the Grind Time stuff. It's just a bunch of guys, some with really tight word play, talking shit on each other. I'm so deeply entrenched in the "league" that I find myself getting the majority of the inside jokes/references to past battles/etc. There's an amazing narrative woven within this underground, urban rap battle movement.
Art!

kaybay said...

Courtney - I couldn't find WT's suggested youtube video, but I just watched one on the "drawbacks of sugar glider ownership." You must have the patience of a saint, is all I can think. They urinate on your arm when you hold them??? (!)

Unknown said...

I watched the vid of the sugar gliders. I don't like their paws. They're too human like. It freaks me out.

Cate said...

I have a question –

(I’m looking for recommendations.)

What Lit. Mags do you regularly read? Favorites? Why?

Cate said...

Also what Lit. Mag. (if any) do you submit your work to?

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

@ Cate RE: lit journals.

I've been subscribing to Tin House for a while b/c every issue has at least one solid interview with a writer and at least one story I really like. They have decent non-fiction too. I'd say they're the best journal issue-to-issue in the US.

Granta is okay too but I find myself becoming more bored w/ each issue.

One Story sends me one story every three weeks and they are usually top notch too. They come in this brightly colored bendable card stock covers and are pick-up and read in one sitting kinds of things.

McSweeny's is hit or miss, I think, and I usually just buy back issues if enough writers I like are in one.

Paris Review still has great interviews, some longer pieces,and reviews. I just got a gift subscription to the New Yorker and while the fiction is rarely good--the long form journalism and profiles pieces are some of my favorites being written these days.

N+1 is twice a year and no fiction but good solid essays as well.

I'll pick up on occasion Ploughshares if it looks good. That's about it for regulars. I do find each year that I come across one new journal that becomes part of the rotation. One Story was last years addition--not sure what it will be this year.

When I was in my early twenties, I fired off one story to a whole mess of journals. I haven't sent anything in again yet--I'm waiting to have some more polished stuff first.

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

I should correct that: N+1 does do some fiction (translated pieces seems to be their gig these days) but I rarely think of them as a Fiction Publishing Journal. I think they do it more to say they have fiction between their covers then to expose new writers to a wider audience.

Eli said...

urinating sugar gliders, battle raps - bloody hell! I'd definitely watch a battle rap, if you have any links to a really good one, Pencore. They can have pretty stunning wordplay (and I've not seen nearly enough).

Cratty, I could write an essay on this. As it stands, very briefly, 99%, no, wait, 100% of creative writing graduate degrees in the UK offer no funding. There are a few exceptions, but you really have to seek them out. There are a few things kicking about like the Fulbright (for international students), but then again, that's the only one I can think of for incoming international students off the top of my head, and it's extremely competitive. Though Nick McRae is a Fulbright scholar (I think - though I don't understand the Slovenia aspect of it) so maybe he can add something there. There's also the Arts & Humanities Research Council which doles out decent grad awards/stipends UK-wide but I outlined that in detail in a previous post to someone here so can't quite be arsed again...the bottom line is it's practically impossible to get one for creative writing. They are, sadly, way too sniffy about it.

Also, we mostly have MA's here - the transition to MFA's is painfully slow; undergraduate courses in Creative Writing have only started popping up in the past few years (I graduated quite a while ago, so missed out). We do have some great grad programs - UEA, Warwick, Bath Spa, Glasgow, Manchester, Birkbeck, Goldsmiths - and also a lot of CW PhD programs now (link to Seth's excellent list - scroll down for UK programs):
http://sethabramson.blogspot.com/2009/06/tse-list-of-all-domestic-and.html

As an institution, though, it's in its infancy. If you have the money or can find some elusive funding, come here, have a great time, get your MA (I honestly don't think any grad CW program in the UK is an MFA yet), enjoy our tea, chips, comedy and all the other quirks of our grey little island. Like the fact that Europe is on our doorstep, which I've been taking advantage of for years. I have a hundred reasons for wanting to move to the US to do mine, but they're personal, and i can't diss the universities that offer CW MA's here.

I don't want to bore you senseless so I won't bang on anymore, but let me know if you want more info and I'll email you or something. Just two other points though - although MA's in Creative Writing really are the exception rather than the norm right now in the UK, given that you have to pay for them, they're a decent income stream for cash-strapped universities and in the next 5-10 years I'm confident that they will spawn relentlessly, quality be damned. Right now, they just haven't found their feet, except for UEA and possibly a handful of others.

Holy crap, that was long!

Jennifer said...

Re: Reading lit mags... I second what GotBisco says and I add the relatively new Electric Literature.

Sequoia N said...

I'm a huge fan of Willow Springs, Ninth Letter, Conjunctions and Third Coast. I both read and send out to those journals (among many others). Actually, I just opened a rejection (another personal one at least) from Conjunctions. I'm making it my personal battle to place a story there in the near future. After that? I'm going downtown with Jackie Brown. Who is Jackie Brown you say? Who isn't she!

I agree about N+1 not really being a literary journal. Is it just me or does this journal seem annoying to you? You know what I'm talking about.

I'm thinking about subscribing to Noon. The journal publishes (for the most part) the same group of kick-ass writers (folks like Gary Lutz and Deb Olin Unferth). I've started to read Diane Williams which is also a factor in this decision.

I used to subscribe to the Missouri Review but I'm moving further away from that kind of writing. I'll probably replace it with a journal like The Fairy Tale Review.

Eli said...

Whoops. Point 2 was that the UK has been sniffy in general about studying creative writing in an academic/institutional setting forever. The existence of UEA, the best-known school, was completely anomalous for decades. The tide is changing, quite rapidly now (especially in the past 5 years), but for some entrenched, puzzling and possibly cultural reason British academia doesn't take creative writing degrees as seriously as you guys do. But even Oxford has one now - so shit's definitely changing.

Cratty said...

Thanks, Eli. I was just a tad curious. I've wanted to sally over to the Kingdom for ever so long now. It wasn't until the my MFA app process was over that I thought, "hmm, why didn't I give old England a look?" Maybe I have some powerful intuitive powers that haven't been fully awakened.
Curious, though. You Brits have so many hang ups . . . or can be quite sniffy as you say. I wonder why that is.
And, I fibbed a bit earlier. I'm 25, not 24. I'm just not used to saying 25 yet.

Amy said...

The thing with me and rap battles is that I love the west coast stuff because it isn't just about how big their guns are or how they're gonna rip their shit apart. A lot of is punchlines and jokes, and you can tell at the end of the battle, that there is mutual respect between the MCs. I got sucked into it because I really liked this Korean-American MC, dumbfoundead. He did a battle with a Chinese-American kid, Tantrum, and their video has the most views within the league (so many ridiculous Asian jokes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdTVJh-tYOE

Alright, my other battle rap recs:

A recent upload (like a couple days ago):
Between Cadallac Ron and Absyrd. I'm not familiar with either MC, but some of the stuff that Ron gets out is insane, especially the multis (where the rhymes are within the line, as well as at the end of each line.) Ron also does a flip after each round, which is not totally common because all of the battle raps are pre-written. (A flip is when you take a line from what your opponent just said, and then twist it around and use it against them.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6_fdHdUCCM


Also, Eli, there's a league in the UK called Don't Flop. They're not as big as Grind Time, but some of their MCs came to Cali and worked it. Here is my favorite battle, with this Brit kid Cruger, who totally killed! (The Brits are really good at flips.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAKvJtw5RfE


This is just the tip of the ice berg. There's soooo much more! I'll give more recs if you're into it.

Amy said...

Oh! Get this, one of the Canadian MCs is a Creative Writing student, Kid Twist. Eff yeah!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJXPWr6hY4s

Kati-Jane said...

@Jamie:

No problem, I just get tired of the stereotyping of the South... and as we all know it is difficult to read tone on a blog. I was actually thinking about buying a condo / apartment... some of the overhead would be building-wide, and it would be easy to rent out if you had to move... Dunno. Again, this is based on a presumption that I get in. Although I wonder... is anyone else so in love with a program / city / town that they've considered just moving there, even if they don't get in?

Amy said...

I should also mention that the battle rap stuff is probably not very appealing to my very PC-friends because there's a plethora of racist, homophobic stuff.

Farrah said...

@ Eli--Just out of curiousity, where did you go to university? I did a year of undergrad--foreign exchange from UW-Madison--and my MA at Warwick.

Cheers.

Eli said...

Pencore, I've only watched the first one but it was excellent! I'm stuck at my mum's house looking after our dying cat this weekend (talking of pets...long story) and that shit just flew right off the screen. Got to admit, I was howling with laughter at the audience going: 'Wooooo' at the end of every line. And yep, there's some real skill going on there. The third verse (do you have verses in battles? God knows) of the lad on the left, with the complicated name, was fantastic. I'll be watching the rest. It's basically in yer face slam poetry, but, like, effin' street.

Cratty, you should sally on over to our Isles! Despite our many hang-ups, Americans find Brits charming (apparently). Also, when I said 'there are exceptions', above, just to clarify if one of you out there is suddenly dreaming of a creative writing degree at Oxford or whatnot, sorry, there are no exceptions - nothing's funded here. What i meant was you can seek out external awards, and they're not impossible to get, just competitive. Finally, to give a vague approximation of figures (if anyone cares...though we're not exactly planning alternative futures right now, but hey), I'd say that an international student doing a UK MA in creative writing pays a third of the cost of a Columbia MFA, fees-wise.

back to the rap!

Eli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli said...

Farrah - Oxford. A while ago. I've now completely outed myself to any MFA committee lurkers. They now know I'll come to their program armed with a wrong-ass fetish for rap battles and crunked-up elves.

My brother went to Warwick so I know it a little. The MA in CW there is the only one in the UK I'd consider (once again, for entirely subjective reasons) - they have China Mieville on faculty, who I admire a lot. Did you study in the English department there? It's got a great reputation and, if I'm not mistaken, good old Germaine Greer. 'Fraid I'm no fan of Leamington Spa or Coventy though! And my bro hated the place and ended up escaping to UC Santa Cruz...

frankish said...

Poor Absyrd....

Amy said...

Hahahaha, I love it that I'm getting ya'll into this! It's crazy addictive.

There are lots of inside-jokes and references to other MCs and former battles. If you watch enough of these, and then you go back and watch battles that you've seen before (it's like reading a good story again), you'll find yourself understanding more and more of the references.

@ Frankish. Yep, as they say in their colloquial speech: Absyrd got murked.

Farrah said...

@ Eli--I did my MA in English. They didn't have a CW MA when I was there--it was quite a few years back, though I wasn't really writing yet. Great school, wonderful department . . . unfortunately my advisor went in to rehab (and never returned) during the summer I wrote my dissertation. (Talk about creative writing!) Other than that, it was a good experience. Coventry was a toilet, but I enjoyed Leamington Spa well enough.

Sorry to out you.

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

@Wandering Tree

I'll second your mention of Conjunctions; I always forget about them and am pleansantly surprised when I pick it up, finding it great as per usual. I think I'm going to sub.

And I know exactly what you mean about N+1. I find there smugness unnatractive and have to fight through it. For better or worse though, they do print insightful articles in each issue. It would do them well to tone down thier ivy chest thumping a bit.

Mostly Swell said...

wow! so many posts, lins of conversation...

cats and dogs - Not so fast Gena. I love cats. But, I am feeling in good company with my dogs and the rest of the blogging fellow dog owners. Mine is the sweetest Yello Lab, "Potter" - 11 in April - and ripping my heart out with a terrible degenerative disease. ugh

I git him a kitten last fall, but the dude terrorized him (yes, 90 lb sweet yellow lab terrorized by a kitten who was just so completely fascinated by a constantly wagging tail. It was really cute - but, dude had to move, cause, well, The Potz gets his way at this late stage in his game. )-: sorry for the bummer.

Dogs are way dependent - cats can tolerate the grad school schedule, whereas dogs, not so easily. Fortunately, I can write at home.

on buying versus renting: I plan to get the lay of the land. Especially in this real estate market, even though one can get a good deal, neighborhoods are changing quickly - hence home values are fluctuating. If it's a town I want to stay in after the program, meaning they have a thriving writing community that I feel a part of, the I may buy eventually. But I don't know if I'll seek some university job afterward or eegads, even a PhD??? So, I plan to start off renting. This issue seems like something to bring up with the students I connect with from the program.

Also, I'm thinkin' I'm relocating whether I get accepted or rejected. Location, if it's a rejection, will be where there is top-notch writing courses and a writing community. So, likely, one of the towns where I've applied - Ann Arbor, Minneapolis, or Madison. But I guess I'll have the option to return to the drawing board and investigate other locales. I'll take your suggestions AFTER the rejction (that is not going to come, because I think I can, I think I can. YES WE CAN!) oh please. lol

I do online stuff through UCLA, but I really prefer face-to-face workshopping. Although, a mixture works well, too. Where I live now, all we have is a comunitycommunity college - a fine one, but I will have exhausted their offerings when I complete my certificate this semester - currently doing Portfolio one-on-one with my advisor. Fist meeting was Thursday, so we'll see. I was all nervous and she was reassuring me that this will be fun. So, it will be.

anything else? oh, undergrad background - way out there - non-trad all the way - science science science - hardly any liberal arts - but I've hopefully made up for that with post graduate undergraduate coursework. I'm still a little paranoid about saying more, but I don't know why, because I've never been weird or rude or anything that a program would frown on. so???

oh yeah, moving stuff. has anyone gotten quotes on shipping books versus hiring movers? I think it would be based on poundage, from what I recall from way too many years ago, that I obviously don't recall. ??
lol I've heard flying with pets in cargo is absolutely awful for the pet. Don't do it. Yeah, most of my furniture is staying here - garage sale and what's left goes to the thrift store. Dishes and stuff too. Not sure yet about a couple of pricy applainces. Don't know if I'll ever know anyone who'll see that I need such things as a Kitchenade - and that ain't something I'd fork out the dough fore. But with Craig's List everywhere, I think I can replace most things for what it would cost me to pay someone to move. I'm not up for driving a UHaul. Been there, done that.

Mostly Swell said...

maybe I'll sit on the doorstep of a program 'til they take me in.

Lucas said...

Wanted to chime in on a few things

re: dogs

Think twice about that decision (for the person who said they are considering adopting a dog). My dad is a vet, and I love dogs, and I finally broke down a few months ago and adopted a dog. They take SO MUCH time. They get into trouble when left alone, and leaving them in a crate for a long time will make you feel bad. They are, however, awesome companions. I would advise adopting a close-to-full grown dog. Dogs grow slightly less dependant (and better behaved) the older they get. Sure, puppies are adorable...but...damn, they are a pain the ass.

Re: synopsis

I'll play along with the synopsis thing.

My first piece is an excerpt from a novella ("Open Season"). A small town sheriff accidentally kills a small town preacher (from a neighboring town) in a hunting accident. The preacher's youngest son and the sheriff have an altercation at the burial. The preacher's sons gather and plot an ill-advised and ill-fated retaliation against the sheriff.

The second piece is a short short about a dude going to visit his poetry professor. On the way, he gets a few ideas for poems. He shares these with his professor, who isn't even slightly impressed.

For a couple of schools that allowed mixed genre samples, I also included an essay about my apartment burning down (which you could check out at slowtrains.com, if you were so inclined).

Have a good weekend, y'all.

Emily S. said...

@ Mostly Swell--That is 100% my plan!

RE cats v. dogs--> Dogs all the way. And this conversation is surreal.

RE Lit Mags... I subscribe to MO Review and Ploughshares. I stalk shorts by MFA grads and students :)

RE My samples... a story about a violence erupting in a classroom (loosely based on my own experience!)... another story about a woman in Congo trying to get a severely injured child to the hospital in the midst of all the violence... and another story about a girl listening to the owls in her suburban neighborhood and acknowledging for the first time how much she actually wants.

And congrats (belatedly!) to the acceptances thus far! We are all insanely jealous of you!

Good luck to all!

DougO said...

To Iowa I submitted 3 pieces. The first is about a senile lady who ends up in someone else's apartment; the second is a work-in-progress novel about a father who has a child born paralyzed and doesn't want her; the third is a story about two kids standing on a shed who watch and jerk off to each others parents having sex.

Laura said...

I feel so late on this, but congratulations to Emily and everyone else I missed in between!! I can't keep up with this blog!

Pet & Gone said...

re: wandering tree
I like those journals. Other ones I enjoy a lot are caketrain, sleepingfish, hobart, post road, barrel house, and monkey bicycle

Cratty said...

Wow. I've been reading samples. Wow. Alas, details later. It's so late, it's ever so late, and I must be up at 3 a.m. for the Australian Open final (I must watch tennis or my lungs will collapse). Goodnight all - so long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye. *flitters off up the stairs, brandy in hand*

Sequoia N said...

Ah, another journal I forgot to mention: Open City

It's also a small press. I'm reading Farewell Navigator by Leni Zumas now (put out by Open City). It's amazing.

Pet & Gone said...

New York Tyrant

Rachel Hurn said...

Let me just say that each time I receive a small letter in the mail from one of my schools, I feel like I've just swallowed my tongue.
The first time happened when Sarah Lawrence's Nonfiction Program mailed me a packet about Financial Aid (before I have gotten in that is!!), and the second time was a small note stuffed in my mailbox to let me know that they've "received my application." Now I ask, was that really necessary? Oi, my blood pressure...

Rachel Hurn said...

Oh and, although I haven't been much in the conversations lately, I really enjoy reading--especially to see what people's stories are about. How cool.

I applied for nonfiction, and my main essay was about a party where I met my mother's ex-boyfriend. He is basically the reason she waited so long to get married and have children (me) at 40.

Congrats to those accepted, and how about those nonfiction writers? Any notifications out there??

Dying to hear,
Rachel

Ashley Brooke said...

Oh gosh, I step way for one day and... so much to catch up on!

I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but TSE has been updated with new Wyoming numbers... looks like they got 185 applications this year and will be taking 10.

PS. Add me to team Dog.

Lucas said...

So, yeah...meant to say it before but slowtrains is a cool online journal and they were super nice to me when I submitted that essay. I'd recommend sending them stuff (they publish all genres, so far as I know). Very nice people. Anyone else submit stuff? I haven't submitted much.

Pet & Gone said...

I submit a hell of a lot more than I'm accepted.

Mostly Swell said...

@Emily (not Walker)
which one of my posts is your plan? The mega short story version or the sit on their doorstep 'til they let you in? (or both lol)
(Emily Walker, you can answer too, but I'm guessin' you'll at least have a roof and a desk up there in Vancouver.)

Nick McRae said...

Print journals I highly admire: Southern Review, Ninth Letter, The Journal, Epoch, Phoebe, Passages North, Gulf Coast, Green Mountains Review, Copper Nickel, Missouri Review, Poet Lore, Crab Orchard Review. And many others.

I'm also a big fan of online journals: Linebreak, DIAGRAM, Typo, Blackbird, diode, Brevity,Octopus, Anti-. And others.

The more the merrier.

NM

Unknown said...

Has The Southern Review not been mentioned yet for lit journals? I think it's the only one I usually rush to when new issue time rolls around. It's also one of the reasons I'm praying (and preying) on LSU.

Unknown said...

lol, dang it Nick. But I agree with most your list, so I can't be mad. :).

Mickey Kenny said...

pencore,

GrindTime is one of my favorite past times. Illmaculate is amazing! I love listening to their word play, truly addicting.

Mickey Kenny said...

Ashley,

Maybe this is a brain lapse, but what is TSE? And Wyoming only got 185 applications? Even though that's still intimidating, it's a lot better of odds than I was expecting

Sequoia N said...

TSE = The Suburban Ecstasies

http://sethabramson.blogspot.com (Refer to right hand bar for various MFA stats)

Alana Saltz said...

On the topic of pets:

I've been having serious pet withdrawal since my childhood dog passed away last year. I almost adopted a cat until I found out that I'm probably somewhat allergic to them and the manager of our house is very much. I've (rather irrationally) been considering adopting a dog, but have decided to wait and see what's happening with grad school. If I don't go next year (which is likely as I really only have one school I want to go to), I may not be able to stop myself, despite knowing I might go in a year. I'd certainly get an older, calm dog. No puppies for me. They're adorable, but way too much work.

Alana Saltz said...

@Rachel:

Fellow nonfictioner here, and no word as of yet. I don't expect anything until at least mid-February.

Emily Walker said...

Wow, missed a lot of conversation today. I have a friend in town so I've been entertaining (doing touristy things) all day. Thanks to everyone for the congrats. Very sweet.

@Mostly Swell- I'll probably have a roof and a desk and that's about it. To save space the desk will double as a bed. Vancouver's real estate market is insane. I'll be living in a closet most likely.

Andrea said...

Just to throw my (admittedly drunken) hat in the ring, I'm a cat person. I've got two kitties and a boyfriend to move if I get accepted. Stressful! And yes, I am the reclusive type of Writer. Also, as far as moving goes:

Two years ago, I moved from Tucson up to Washington state. I used a moving company, and while it was incredibly convenient, I just wanted to warn everyone about the cost involved. I figured it would be fairly cheap, because I didn't have much stuff (I lived in a 500 sq ft apt). Those companies, however, have a minimum weight requirement, so I ended up having to pay the same amount as someone who was moving about 1000 pounds' worth of stuff more than I was. Just something to consider when we're all fantasizing about how we'll move across the country when we get into the programs of our dreams.

Amy said...

mickey!

Another GT fan! Awesome! Dude, what're your thoughts about the Illmaculate/The Saurus battle? I think Illmac just had too much riding on it and got personalllleeeeeee. It was brutal!

None of my friends are into battle rap stuff and I have NO ONE to talk about this stuff with. I can't believe I found other fans on an MFA blog, of all places.

PS Just got back from a showing of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Woah. The writing was sharp and Liz Taylor was amazing.

Jamie said...

@ Kati - Besides politics and history, I think the south might catch more hell from people because it's more revealing of itself than other regions in America. It's even more revealing of its considerable states of denial. So it's an easier target for this.

@ the literary publication discussion: Where's the love for A Public Space? And for online, how about Drunken Boat?

I definitely have a love/hate relationship w Granta and The Paris Review. On the one hand, they print such incredible work. But then sometimes I get tired of such "good" writing. Too much of it, and I really need some downtime with something more scrappy.

Finally, Electric Literature has an interesting thing going. They pay $1000 per story, publish five per issue. They go out on all platforms - they're not a print with an online version, they're simultaneously available via readers, iphone app, ebook, etc. For their print they do print on demand, which means they don't blow their money doing a wasted print run. I think their model or something like it is the Way Forward, as far as literary publishing goes.

kaybay said...

Someone mentioned earlier that Wyoming had updated figures on TSE. I looked up the schools I was applying to, to see if there was a change, but I was a little confused as to whether all schools had updated numbers up, or if only some did. The last time I viewed that site, it would say "last year" or something like that next to it, meaning that the numbers were not updated, but rather reflective of last year's applications. If there is no "low" next to it, is it safe to say the current app numbers on that site are for this year? For example, does Alabama have 225 applications over 3 genres *this year*?

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

@Jamie: that's interesting that you find the Granta/PR too good at times. Do you mean that they print material too similar of voice?

Ashley Brooke said...

mickey,
Last year Wyoming had 89. This yeah they have 185. So no, this is not good news. Oh well. Nothing we can do about it!

Mostly Swell said...

RE: South vs North. Let's not forget that the prejudice goes both ways. I've lived in both regions as a child and as an adult. In the South, I was a "Yankee" and in the North, I didn't have an equivalent label, but was perhaps thought of as a "country bumpkin" - slow paced, easy going, and perhaps verbose (still am) and therefore ignorant. I believe writer's are more tolerant of differences than the general population, but that Mason-Dixon Line is very real.

kaybay said...

Regardless though, I think it's extremely valuable (especially for writers) to travel outside of their comfort zone. I think a Northerner would benefit from living in the South and vice versa. Same goes for city-goers and country-dwellers, and any other kind of difference. I mean, the South is unique, but it's not Mars :)

Mostly Swell said...

@kaybay
I agree, wholeheartedly. I was reflecting on my N/S experiences after posting my last comment. I realized that I was wrong about believing that I missed out on summer camp as a kid; my brothers and I were "shipped off" from a northern suburb to relatives in the south, where I picked and stomped cotton, bottle fed a calf, slept out on a "hog shed" (that was really for cattle) with 10 other cousins and counted shooting stars, fished, chased a greasy pig in rodeos, or a calf with a prized ribbon on his tail, etc etc etc. Now that's summer camp. (-;

Mostly Swell said...

Oh yeah, I meant to comment on leaving one's comfort zone, or residing in locales outside of one's comfort zone. YES. I'm looking forward to freezing my knuckles off while coaxing a fish out of a tiny whole in the ice up in the great lakes region. (-;

kaybay said...

Me too!! I've never lived where it snows. It did sleet in Florida here a couple of weeks ago, which wasn't as fun as I thought it would be. Sleet isn't pretty...

There's just so much to experience in America, which is amazingly awesome. I want to eat seafood in a New England coastal town, freeze in the Midwest, see the mountains in Montana and Utah and Colorado... it sounds like fun. And as many differences as there are, there are a lot of similarities. Hell, some of my dad's best friends in California are the biggest drunken hunter/fisher types I've met, and they would fit right in in the South. When I visited my brother, who lives in Lansing, MI, I was surprised to see that it looks exactly like the South (Lansing looks exactly like Montgomery, AL), and the people really aren't that different. The biggest similarity being an obsession with hunting (kind of interesting seeing my first deer head sticking out of a truck in Michigan). So, I guess it shows that while regional differences exist, they're not all that scary, and just as many similarities are there too.

That's not directed at you or anything, just sort of my thoughts in general... if writers acknowledge/recognize one thing, it's that people everywhere are interesting and worth meeting, even if they scare the hell out of you ;)

kaybay said...
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kaybay said...
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Mostly Swell said...

OKRA: fried or stewed?
I'll devour either with gusto, but I think my favorite actually is when it's in a gumbo. (-:

and figs? fresh, and the rest of the year, preserved for Sunday morning toast.

kaybay said...

Fried! Yuuuuummy...

Mostly Swell said...

and didja ever see deer so big as they are up north? lol

Later. I gotta go walk "The Potz". It was fun chatting.

kaybay said...

It was pretty big, but kind of scary looking... lol

Mickey Kenny said...

Ashley,

you're completely right. I guess since Wyoming is so high on my list I figured everyone would apply to it, or at least 300-500. But I had no idea their number was so small last year! (I know it's terrible when I get excited for a 5% chance)...this whole process is so slanted.

Pencore,

I agree with you on Illmaculate, he definitely took it to a more serious level in the battle. I do think he won, but I also think he was trying a lot harder than Thesaurus was expecting. Have you seen Illmaculate vs. Conceited? Pretty much the first battle I've seen that isn't obviously Illmaculate's win, much closer than vs. Dizaster in my opinion.

I'm a huge addict and recommend it to all interested in word/poetry improv.
-check out Illmaculate/Thesaurus vs. Homm/Piff James (youtube) for anyone interested in what we're talking about.

Ashley Brooke said...

mickey,
Wyoming is pretty high on my list too. I think that maybe people are scared by the location or by the fact that it's a newish program. I think it's going to keep going up, though.

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

So much for Wyoming being my sleeper secret program. I think they are well on their way to big app #'s for years to come.

frankish said...

Ugh. I'm really not looking forward to seeing the application numbers for most of these schools. Hopefully, Wyoming doubling its applicant pool from last year isn't representative. :-0

That said, I'm dying to see them. I guess I like torturing myself, which makes sense considering I applied for MFA programs.... :D

Cheers!

mj said...

Just a heads-up for anyone who is anticipating a cross-country move: Amtrak SHIPS, and for cheap. They'll only do boxes of stuff, no furniture, no appliances, but I bet that like me, most of you have way too many books. Amtrak will ship 500 lbs at a time (that's like 20-25 book boxes), for like 125 bucks plus 50 cents a pound. The only thing is that you have to have someone at the receiving end to pick it up, and they won't hold it for more than 3 days. But if you can swing it, I highly recommend it.

Jamie said...

@ GotBisco - Such a hard deal to describe my relationship to Granta and PR. I love them (the collected writers published within), but then hate them (or maybe hate on them?). Sometimes I feel much of their stuff is too tasteful. Tastefully distanced. Tastefully clinical. Tastefully dispassionate. Tastefully unsentimental. Tastefully appalled leavened with humor/humanity (if writing about the developing world or their miserable f'ed up families). Of course, all stuff I'm trying to do myself. It's a real love/hate thing.

Sean Patrick Cooper said...

@Jamie. I think I know what you mean; I get the "tastefully clinical" vibe at times as well. I see it a lot in the New Yorker profiles too, particularly the ones written by the younger staff members. I experience a low level frustration when I read those b/c I too want to emulate much of their process but at the same time wish they would just break character for a moment, slip out of their comfort zone and reveal themselves to be fallible and human. In my non-fiction, that's one thing I think marks my work as distinctly different from the stuff I see in PR/Granta. That is, I'm at all times and maybe too conscious of the distance being tastefully clinical can create and wish at nearly all times to exist with my reader, not far away somewhere, writing from an elevated cocoon. Still, it's usually a treat to see how so many of the writers in those journals pull off what they do; almost everyone of them is a master of his or her craft.

Laura said...

re: moving

Trying not to panic too much about all the difficulties of moving... The only way it will be easy is if I get into Emerson or UMass Boston (please!), then I can move into the apartment just outside Boston that my boyfriend and some friends are living in now.

I'm not worried too much about actually moving my stuff (don't really have a lot -- most of my possessions consist of clothes and books, and I'll probably leave a lot of the books at my parents' house for a little while). More worried about finding a place to live if I need to, and roommates. And paying for a place to live because most of the schools I applied to are in pretty expensive cities...

Amy said...

Anyone else looking forward to Monday to see if more notifications roll out?!

Ai yo!

kaybay said...

ME!!!

Unknown said...

@ pencore

::raiseshand:: Meee!

kaybay said...

I just want some fiction people to be notified (no offense poetry folks, I know the majority of you are waiting just as much as us fiction people). I just want to know that something is actually happening in those department meetings. Even though the rational side of me knows there is something, it doesn't feel like it :)

C'mon Ohio State, Alabama, UNC Greensboro, and Indiana!!

Ashley Brooke said...

I'm trying not to count on any notifications going out until at least the second week of February. This week is limbo - maybe the north carolinas and Indiana will peep?

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