Tag Archives: graduate school

On reading…well

I’ve started reading grad stories/submissions for the Writers Conference and praise be ta Jesus, I found two really good, inspiring  short stories in the batch. I’d rather not post names, lest I offend anyone, but i will say that both submissions had a very strong voice, I was able to visualize their characters and the story lines were both simple and direct. There are probably only three, maybe four students whose work inspires me. I find that number shockingly low for a grad program. But then again, that is based on personal taste. I’m sure there are other writers in the program whose work is admired by a group of their peers.

At any rate, I’m relatively pleased with my submission (Fertility) although my biggest fear is that the main character “Elaine” is not clear enough and the story line is not smooth enough. Is there enough build up from the point she becomes annoyed with this woman and her bag to the point where she plans to attack her? Is it believable? Is her personality consistent? Do I ramble too much?

What I really liked about these pieces I read last night was their consistency and creative twist- where their story lines went. I often feel my topics are not creative enough, my vocabulary or the way I put words together is not strong enough, and that I lose my way in a piece. It’s very hard for me to maintain the same voice throughout a piece, especially when i go back and edit and interject new stuff.

But Lauren Grodstein said something very important last semester: If you’re not writing well, you’re not reading the right stuff. And it’s so true. I feel as though I have not found anyone since Annie Dillard that inspires my own voice. The trouble is making time. My list of responsibilities is long: take care of kids, earn my paycheck, manage household, train for triathlon, read grad submissions, write my own stuff, revise, plan trip to Spain, spend time with D, time with family, friends, and so on. Corners have to be cut. For now, it’s reading good stuff- if and when I find it. Until then, I will continue shuffling through graduate work in hopes of finding a gem.

Slush

One of the projects that came out of my first year of grad school was participating in the design of the MFA’s print anthology, “Slush,” for which I designed the cover.  I wanted to share the cover artwork with you and give credit to a great artist who donated his work for free. I meant to blog about him back in April, but…

Anyway, Michael Tino is an artist and designer out of San Fransisco and Las Vegas. And below is the artwork he so graciously donated. I strongly suggest googling him or visiting his website.

"settle"

The magazine itself has work by Leslie Rapperlie, Malik Abdul-Jabbaar, Barry Graham of Dogzplot, Alexis Apfelbaum, Jonathan Deane, Matthew Charles, Daniel Wallace and more.

Just nod your head for “yes!”

But then when he had got settled at the hotel, and they had started their little pattern of cafe life at the Eckmühl-Noiseux, there had been nothing to write about- he could not establish a connection in his mind between the absurd trivialities which filled the day and the serious business of putting words to paper. – The Sheltering Sky

I am at a point of stunted growth, or shall I say, blankness. I have no mind right now for words and meanings and conceptual thinking. And it will take grad school to bring it all back to me. I was talking to A last night, who I’ve known since PBQ, circa 2002. She’s just finishing up the MA program, while I am heading into the MFA. She was telling me, “your soul will just explode with creativity and energy for life once you begin your classes.” I am so hoping this is true. Lately, to which I’m sure this blog attests, I have been uninspired. The only thing on my mind is love and making love and sex and D and keeping my kids busy and happy and grateful this summer. And though all that is GREAT, I really can’t wait to begin caring for my mental state. I can only handle “suburban housewife” trance for a few years at a time before going nuts.