'My education as a writer began when I took a leap of faith and began to committed myself to simply reading and writing as much and as well as I could. It had nothing to do with graduate school.' Peter Bricklebank The Portable MFA
So I'm making the commitment and home brewing my own MFA. I’ve got a slew of online resources and I plan to find a writing group to mimic the classroom critique & crackling conversation.
My Magnum opus is still my travel memoir, however I'm broadening my scope of study. The first teacher/mentor I've selected is John Steinbeck - I'm reading Journal of a novel in which Steinbeck wrote a letter to his editor as a daily writing task prior to commencing work on his novel East of Eden.
I’m only a few entries in and already he has laid out some cracking gems “One can go off into fanciness if one writes to a huge nebulous group” or “a good writer always works at the impossible. There is another kind who pulls in his horizons, drops his mind as one lowers rifles sights. And giving up the impossible he gives up writing.”
Steinbeck also offers up some quite frank insights “Last night I could not sleep out of excitement about my story. It was a strange voluptuous excitement and when I dropped off I had a quick sex dream, perhaps because my feeling was exotic.”
So why am I saving $34985 as opposed to a roundhouse $35,000? Well I subtracted the cost of one of my first resources - 'The portable MFA' – a book that aims to instruct people how to create their own MFA in creative writing.
In true arts degree style my MFA will most certainly be a jumble of mismatched mentors, conflicting literary theorem, outlandish idealism and overwrought enthusiasm. In short it should be exhilarating. This ‘semester’ I’ll be studying:
Fundamentals of writing:
- Journal of a novel
Monday: Book reviews (every second Monday)
Tuesday: Tunes (mandatory study break!)
Wednesday: Writer’s wisdom (Given that Steinbeck is already talking about raunchy dreams I can only imagine what other pearls of wisdom he has in store)
Sunday: Craft session (writing techniques – hot glue and glitter are not compulsory!)