The Writing Residency Without the Residency

Life is in chaos, medical bills keep rolling in, we’re moving within six months, and who knows what’s happening with this 100-degree heatwave hitting Seattle. But one thing I’m sure of? My annual homeschool MFA writing residency. Most low-residency MFA programs require at least two residencies for a cumulative total of 20 to 30 days.Continue reading “The Writing Residency Without the Residency”

Ableism and Classism Underlie the MFA Model

Every few years, a white man in the mainstream literary community publishes a curmudgeonly piece about how entitled, lazy, and whiny creative writing students can be. They often point to these qualities as the only things that hold back writers, aside from another likely possibility: a lack of talent. Recently, I came across just suchContinue reading “Ableism and Classism Underlie the MFA Model”

Three Literary Journals to Try If You’re New to the Neighborhood

Nineteen years ago, I served as literary editor for my college’s literary journal. It was a fun, demanding job that gave me a deep appreciation for the slush pile. For those new to this, a slush pile is a stack of writing that nobody asked you to send. But you sent it anyway. And backContinue reading “Three Literary Journals to Try If You’re New to the Neighborhood”

Three Literary Journals I’m Reading Right Now

One of my Accessible MFA assignments this semester is to read more literary journals. It’s a no-brainer: If you want to publish, you should read outlets where you’d like to see your work printed. But it’s also something I’ve just never got around to. Mainly because there are just SO. MANY. GODDAMN. LITERARY. JOURNALS. IContinue reading “Three Literary Journals I’m Reading Right Now”

My Life Is Out of Control, So I’m Trying Goals

Some people scoff at goal-setting. They think it’s new age-y. Or they think it’s fear-driven. Or they think what’s the point? Life isn’t in our control anyway. Which for many of us—especially the lower our incomes, the poorer our neighborhoods, the more marginalized our gender and orientation, the darker our skin, and the more healthContinue reading “My Life Is Out of Control, So I’m Trying Goals”

Spring Semester Scandal at My MFA

CONTENT WARNING Now that I’ve finished my literary theory class, it’s on to the next course in my Accessible MFA: a fiction seminar. Full disclosure, I copied a lot of this from novelist Lily Hoang’s syllabus, which she generously shared on HTML Giant. Of course I chose my own textbooks, set up my own schedule,Continue reading “Spring Semester Scandal at My MFA”

Ten-Year Blogaversary!

I launched this blog ten years ago this month. Since December 2010, it’s been a wild ride, packed with ups and downs. I’ve divorced an abusive husband. I’ve performed again as a dancer. I’ve been assaulted—and assaulted again. I’ve graduated with my master’s degree in education. I’ve been felled by chronic illness so hard thatContinue reading “Ten-Year Blogaversary!”

To the Guy in My MFA Class* Who Believes Art “Has Nothing to Do with Race”

Since the 1930s Formalism has positioned literary art as independent of author, era, and even possibly meaning. It promises that if readers would just focus on structure, symbols, and tensions within the text itself, all will be clear. Although this approach still holds sway in literature and creative writing classes, Critical Race Theory has challengedContinue reading “To the Guy in My MFA Class* Who Believes Art “Has Nothing to Do with Race””

“The Good Place” Makes Peace with Death

SPOILERS! SO MANY SPOILERS! Over the last four years, The Good Place fans knew writers were going to have to deal with the “real” good place eventually. It was the inevitable end. Each character, including our favorite demon, was invited into a deeper knowledge of their shortcomings. Which meant growth. As each character got betterContinue reading ““The Good Place” Makes Peace with Death”

What I’ll Be Doing in 2020

Ever since my goal of completing a post-diagnosis 5K hit a wall in October 2019, I’ve been skittish about setting goals. That weekend when I missed the race—the one I’d registered and trained for, that friends and family were coming to—I plummeted into such a deep depression that I didn’t see the other side untilContinue reading “What I’ll Be Doing in 2020”