Back in January 2010, my life as a writer took a step in a much more serious direction when I started my first day of graduate school. I had applied and been accepted into the Master of Arts in English program at Mount Mary University (known as Mount Mary College then) and was ready to get my then-current WIP into better shape. By the end of that first semester, I had grown by leaps and bounds and I knew I was where I needed to be. Beyond that semester, I only continued to grow as a writer and as a person. In December 2011, I graduated with one completed novel manuscript and half of a second, multiple short stories, and had been persuaded to apply to one of the top low-residency MFA programs in the country for creative writing (to which I would later be accepted).
I could write volumes about how this specific program changed my life as a writer, how it influenced my writing, and how it helped me develop into the writer I am. My professors, advisors, and peers at MMU have meant so much to me in the years since I left the program and I’m so thankful for the time I spent with all of them. I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without their friendship and guidance.
Continue readingOn Losing a Piece of My Writing Self
Friedrich Nietzsche once said that “without music, life would be a mistake.” I believe there’s a lot of truth in that. Music has done its part in getting me through plenty in life so far. But as important as music may be to my life, it’s just as important to my writing. Every character I’ve …
Continue reading “On Writing, Music & Character Playlists”
In a world increasing overtaken by technology, you may be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t listen to podcasts these days. I like to describe podcasts as talk radio, but in an episodic format. Topics vary, of course, and if you’ve avoided podcasts by using the excuse that there’s nothing that’ll interest you, you’re likely wrong.
Continue readingOn Writing Podcasts & What I’m Listening To
I’m definitely not one of those lucky folks who gets to take vacations. I mean the long vacations to some beautiful place where work can be left behind and relaxation is the only thing on the to-do list. Every once in a while (read: maybe once a year), I go to Chicago. That’s the extent of my vacations, mostly because I don’t have the funds to go anywhere further away. To compensate, I take mental vacations. They’re usually pretty short, but the idea of it is that I can go wherever I want to, even if it’s only for an hour (or sometimes less).
I’ve been taking these little “vacations” quite often lately. I always go to Boston, but lately, I’ve been visiting Cambridge. It’s been six months since I’ve graduated from the MFA program at Lesley University, and I don’t know that I’ve missed anything more than I miss that program.
Continue readingOn Mental Vacations & Writing Feels
We’ve all run into times when we’re just not willing to let something go. I had my experience with this recently during residency at Lesley University. This is the place where I’m always pushed out of my comfort zone. Always. It happened at the first two residencies, and I should’ve known it would happen at the third.
Because I’m a writer and I love what I do, it’s always been especially hard for me to stop working on something, to set it aside and start something new. Especially something as large as a novel. It’s a big investment, and as many people know, I’ve been working on a specific one for quite a while now. It was dismantled over the spring semester, but I was ready to get back into it–to bring it back to life and push it forward. That’s what I do. When times get hard, I push on. We all do. It’s part of writing.
Continue readingOn Turning Over a New Leaf
I’m two days removed from the end of my third residency in Lesley University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. I’m back in Wisconsin and sadly away from my writing friends and all things literary in Cambridge and Boston. And now that the classrooms are dark and empty, the seminars are over with, the workshops have …
Continue reading “On Getting Back to Work After Residency”
Ah, residency. That blissful nine-day span where nothing matters but literature and writing. I love it and am freshly home from my second residency in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Lesley University. While this residency had its obvious differences from the first one back in June, it was still exactly what I needed–a …
Continue reading “Lesley University: MFA Residency (January 4-12, 2013)”
In less than two weeks–On January 3rd, to be exact–I’ll be leaving for Boston to attend my second residency in Lesley University’s highly-touted MFA in Creative Writing Program. Like the first one last June, I’m nervous, but I think this second residency will go much smoother, mostly because I know what to expect now. In …
Continue reading “On Preparing for Residency”