Tuesday, January 15, 2008
the fine art of writing
I honestly can't believe that a year has passed since I left my job as a high-falutin' (ha!) editor and decided to concentrate full time on my writing. As I've mentioned before on this blog, once I had made the choice to leave my day job, the timing seemed perfect to finally pursue a longtime personal goal of mine--and I applied to the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in writing for Children and Young Adults.
What a difference twelve months makes. I can recall in cringe-worthy detail how overwhelmed I was to arrive on campus and instantly be enveloped by this hugely passionate, widely-versed, and insatiably curious group.
I worried about so many things: had it been too long since I'd been in an academic environment, would my time as an editor prove to have hardened me to the workshop process, would my propensity toward writing more light-hearted, commercial fair like 30 GUYS alienate me from my more serious, "lit'rery" colleagues?
As it turned out, I needn't have worried. The faculty of this school: Kathi Appelt, Sharon Darrow, David Gifaldi, Julie Larios, Margaret Bechard, Martine Leavitt, Uma Krishnaswami, Tim Wynne-Jones, Leda Schubert, Rita Williams Garcia, and etc., etc., etc., are warm and giving and totally disarming. The caliber of the student body is beyond impressive, and you should by all means keep an eye out for: Carrie Jones, Varian Johnson, Stephanie Greene, Shawn Stout, Kate Angelella, and Gwenda Bond, for a start 'cause they are butt-kicking writerly types. And as for alumni, um: Lauren Myracle? MT Anderson? An Na? Um, WOW!
I'm the first person to admit that one doesn't "need" a degree in order to have a career as a writer. But to be in a position to take two years to concentrate on my craft is a luxury that I'll never take for granted. If writing classes are something that interest you, I absolutely endorse it (in fact, take my Media Bistro class, or come see me at Miami Dade College this spring, if you're curious!).
Oh--but if you're coming to VCFA, bring an extra sweater!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get my beauty rest. My next lecture starts at 8am tomorrow.