I had one real goal when I decided to get my MFA in fiction: to meet other writers. I knew that, in time (and with a lot of practice), I could most likely polish my work to publishable on my own. There are lots of books on crafts, lots of beautiful work from which to take inspiration, and I was in the position to spend a lot of time at my computer. The problem was, my main feedback was from my mother. My husband read my work but he never criticized, only praised. I needed some more expert, or at least informed, opinions. I also needed to talk about writing. I needed to talk about books, and get recommendations from something other than Goodreads. This was worth enough to me that, to complete my degree, I split my time between two towns, an hour and a half apart, living in two different apartments, driving on country roads in all kinds of weather.
The problem is, I’m not very good with people. I don’t always understand social norms and large groups sap my energy. Also, my imagination sometimes betrays me. When I imagined the group of writers I’d be at school with, I thought of hunched and surly introverts, people who’d seen the glow of their computer screens far more than they’d seen the sun, people who lived more inside their minds than in the real world. Not that I exactly fit that description, myself. But I didn’t expect a group of fun-loving extroverts. At the very least, I didn’t expect them to throw a Welcome-to-Grad-School barbecue at a lake.
I went, but I was terrified. Continue reading “My MFA in Fiction (in 1600 words)”