I … was shown how to reign in some of my too-wild and run-on sentences, how to control them, how to churn out 25 pages a month for 6 months and make each one count.
Program: MFA in Creative Writing, Creative Non-Fiction
Hometown: Middeltown, CT
Honors/Awards: Initial class scholarship for first year
Fairfield University, its faculty and students changed my life in loads of positive ways. The MFA program was instrumental for me because it offered structure and discipline for my writing. It wasn’t like I learned to write as soon as I crossed over onto Enders Island back in the winter of 2008; I could always do that okay. But I learned and was shown how to reign in some of my too-wild and run-on sentences, how to control them, how to churn out 25 pages a month for 6 months and make each one count. I learned to take criticism and then eventually to offer it properly. (Not one of my strong suits.) Also, and I thought Michael White was exaggerating about this, a real feeling of community developed with the other writers. Believing in their work and having them believe in mine. You feel quite a bond with all of the students.
Honing the crafts of writing & reading
Also, the program is filled with superlative faculty; each of 4 mentors that I worked with helped bring my writing to another level. Even the dreaded 3rd semester project (for me, at least it was dreaded because I’d never really worked on an academic essay, even during my undergrad years.) I learned to write in a way that was brand new. It was challenging, maddening as well, but in the end the discipline it took to write formally assisted my craft in my usual, informal prose. Also, the practice you get in doing readings in front of peers during the residencies and during the school year felt crucial. To have that support throughout your 2-year ride is a hell of a good deal. And it continues to this day – right now I have my memoir being read by a friend from school, checking out its leaks, holes, lapses, and mistakes. I doubted I could keep up with the pace of an MFA program when I began – but Michael and crew assisted me right along the way. Can’t beat the island either!
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