Books Magazine

MFA Programs: The Eternal (God Help Us) Debate

By Gabrielscala

MFA Programs: The Eternal (God Help Us) Debate

So, I’m reading Mark McGurl‘s piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books, “The MFA Octopus: Four Questions About Creative Writing,” and I’m thinking: aren’t we done with this yet? I mean, haven’t we all heard the many arguments both for and against the MFA program? And what is all this debate and discussion getting us anyway?

I took two years out of “real life” and did an MFA. Does that make me an elitist? A cookie-cutter writer? A self-absorbed navel gazer? I suspect that if I were, in fact, any of those things (and I’m not saying I’m not), the MFA program had little, if anything, to do with it. In all likelihood, I was those things to begin with. I can’t speak for all MFA graduates out there, but what the experience gave to me was time. Time to write. Time to focus on my writing. Time to spend with more experienced writers. Time to read and discuss and consider. Because, and here I feel pretty confident I can speak for all MFA graduates out there, in the “real” world, time is in short supply. And there are a whole host of other elitist, self-absorbed, navel-gazing activities out there to occupy what little time there is. Like learning to make the perfect martini and house hunting.

The answer to this debate is quite simple. If you don’t believe in MFA programs, don’t enroll in one. Work your job behind the register of an independent bookstore, stay up late reading Tolstoy and write your 18th century-esque novel about cobblers and chimney sweeps. I don’t care. But don’t kid yourself into thinking that just because you’re too “good” or “original” be hobbled by an MFA program that you’re not an elitist, self-absorbed navel gazer. Because you are.

****


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Beheading the “Snake God” at Rhino Cave

    Beheading “Snake God” Rhino Cave

    Indiana Jones would have loved it: 65,000 years ago, stone age hunters in Africa gathered at night in a hidden cave to worship the giant rock snake that seemed... Read more

    By  Cris
    BIOLOGY, CULTURE, HISTORY, RELIGION
  • Help Identify Ms. Nameless Artist

    Help Identify Nameless Artist

    Emily Moazami, one of American Art's photograph archivists, needs your help identifying an artist. Help us identify this artist. This photograph of a woman... Read more

    By  Americanart
    ART & DESIGN, CULTURE
  • Young Artist Programs - A Guide for Future Divas

    Young Artist Programs Guide Future Divas

    It's my 100th post and it's performance week at Sugar Creek! - Check back every day this week - I'll be posting on two new blog series: "A Guide for Future... Read more

    By  Pinkall
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • Shuttle Tiles for Teachers + Space Food for Schools: Nasa Historic Artifacts |...

    Shuttle Tiles Teachers Space Food Schools: Nasa Historic Artifacts GSAXcess® Home NASA Programs

    Space Shuttle Tiles for TeachersProgram OverviewNASA "Space Food For Schools: A limited number of packaged meals (~350) astronauts eat in space are currently... Read more

    By  Dotpattern
    CULTURE
  • Opera Review: God Save the Queen

    Opera Review: Save Queen

    Anna Netrebko's Anna Bolena at the Met. Royal rivals: Anna Bolena (Anna Netrebko, left) and Giovanna Seymour (Ekatrina Gubenova) square off inthe Met's new... Read more

    By  Superconductor
    CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
  • “God” Debate Straitjacketed by Myopia

    “God” Debate Straitjacketed Myopia

    Over at Salon the MIT physicist and novelist Alan Lightman recently asked whether God exists, a question he poses in the service of reconciling science with... Read more

    By  Cris
    BIOLOGY, CULTURE, DEBATE, HISTORY, RELIGION
  • FIRE V/s GOD

    FIRE

    "You are nothing compared to the fire 'in' me" FOOT NOTE : I am incredibly lucky to have gotten this picture just as I wanted. The fire stopped being pumped... Read more

    By  Akilavenkat
    CULTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY

Magazines