Fiction Seminar Syllabus

Half the fun of doing an Accessible MFA in Creative Writing is planning it. It’s been a blast to put together this latest course, and I think it fits well with the rest of my program. So today I’m sharing my plan for this semester. Of course, with chronic migraines, my semesters are all outContinue reading “Fiction Seminar Syllabus”

Ways of Reading: Part I

I started my first MFA class with a pretty clear idea of how things were going to go. Literary theory. Okay. I’d studied this during my undergrad degree. Cool. A bunch of dead white guys from Europe and North America will talk endlessly about what they think a text is, what the job of anContinue reading “Ways of Reading: Part I”

The Fetishization of Girlhood

I first realized that men look at girls as sexual objects on the day of my kindergarten graduation. Our teacher had set the theme as a Hawaiian luau (yes, cultural appropriation was all the rage in the 1980s). The girls had made skirts of green paper streamers to wear over our swimsuits as well asContinue reading “The Fetishization of Girlhood”

The Ninth Assault

Webbstock is a tradition at Webb Institute going back to 1979. All about booze and bands, it runs from daybreak until long after sundown the first weekend in June. Students, alumni, their families, and close friends are all welcome to attend. There’s an all-day barbecue along with adult bouncy castles, inflatable slides, and other carnival-flavoredContinue reading “The Ninth Assault”

Sexually Harassed by a Mentor

In the faculty office building, Top never dared follow me. Neither did the Mormon missionaries. Friendly faces smiled back as I waved at professors who remembered me as their student. I sold copies of my recently published chapbook. I knew I was safe there. It was my sanctuary. One of my old English professors, Gary,Continue reading “Sexually Harassed by a Mentor”

The Return

A sea-change had come over my parents’ house. The walls were still the same ice-blue. The kitchen where my father had assaulted me still had its polished parquet floor and the same Formica countertops. But once, there had been alliances. Once, my brother and I had commiserated in our rooms long into the night, plottingContinue reading “The Return”

Joe

Looking back, I can’t help but wonder. Why him? Why do we gather, like moths, around the flame of one life and overlook the garden of lights all around us? Why, when I was sure I wanted to die, did I write to Joe? One afternoon, slumped against my mattress, my legs tucked against theContinue reading “Joe”

How Dr. Who Is Getting Me Through Grad School

Well, not financially of course. But emotionally? Psychologically? Yeah. My fiancé introduced me to the series last year, just a few months ago. And I took to it like a salmon to the Sound. By the time I finish my homework for the day, my brain is dribbling out of my ears like gruel. IContinue reading “How Dr. Who Is Getting Me Through Grad School”

Why I Love Grad School, or Please Talk Career Options with Your Daughters

When I was 22, my undergraduate professors started to ask where I’d be going next. Everyone assumed it would be grad school. My art history professor, a supportive, wry-humored expert in Mexican art named Deborah Caplow, especially believed I would make a career for myself in art criticism and teaching. My future, cast in theirContinue reading “Why I Love Grad School, or Please Talk Career Options with Your Daughters”

Beautiful Boys

Today at the college, a freshman hunched over the form I handed him, checking off boxes. Male. Under 25. Native language Mongolian. He shouldn’t have had to fill it out again. The writing center where I work had misplaced his file, and the young man was understandably frustrated. But this wasn’t your average freshman sulk.Continue reading “Beautiful Boys”