I’m thrilled to announce that I have been accepted into Warren Wilson College’s low-residency MFA program and will begin classes this summer. The program is four semesters, and I will continue to run my business without interruption. For 15 years, I have spent four hours every morning on my writing; now, that time will count toward a graduate degree.
I’m pursuing an MFA because I want to recalibrate my work and because I know I need to improve, even though I’ve worked for a long time on my craft. When I finished my creative writing undergraduate degree, I wasn’t ready. I was skeptical of MFA programs, and of (what I saw at the time as) expensive meritocracies in general. I had been in a classroom for almost 20 years of my life and wanted to work, write, succeed, and fail on my own. And the next 15 years were exactly what I needed. I started my business, produced a lot of writing, and made a creative life for myself.
After the near-miss with my second novel a few years ago, however, I came away from the experience with an unexpected gift: a new ability to slow down and assess my craft. I love writing fiction, but I didn’t feel ready or able to reach for a new project and a new approach on my own. I was ready for a creative evolution: a chance to troubleshoot, write, experiment, submit work, read critically, and study with other novelists.
I asked for advice, and everybody said Warren Wilson College was the best of the low-residency options. It’s the oldest low-res program in the country, with faculty ranging from Lauren Groff to Joan Silber and Robin Romm, and its alumni love it to bits. I put six weeks of work into my application and enlisted a lot of help in making it reflect my best work (thank you Jane, Janice, Stacey, Kevin, and always, always Erin). When program director Debra Allbery called me on Friday afternoon, I told her I was in with both feet and poured myself a glass of celebratory wine.
I look forward to seeing my own work grow for the first time in a long time, and to sharing the fruits of my experiences in the program with my clients in the upcoming years. The first residency period is July 5–15. Asheville, here I come.