Thursday, May 15, 2008
Remember Milestone comics...They should have never stopped publishing them. I thought Icon was a punk because he was a conservative, but how can you hate on a man who survived slavery? My favorite was the Blood Syndicate because they were raw....but anyway this post isn't about comic books. I'm really posting to recognize a milestone in my life.
Today I graduate from George Mason University with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Degree. There is a lot of anti-MFA talk floating through the web, most of it un-nuanced and stupid. I'm not going to join that discussion just now as it's foolish. I just want to acknowledge this experience as one of the best I've ever had. I owe the government several thousand dollars that I will be paying off until my unborn children are in college, but it was worth it. I stand here as a much more skilled fiction writer than I was three years ago. I've seen my friends develop in unexpected ways and I've been exposed to books that have changed my ways of thinking. I could have become a better writer without the degree--no one with talent needs an MFA--but it wouldn't have been as great of an experience getting there.
So, no I don't have a job. I have no idea what I'm going to be doing with myself now and I'm OK with that (sort of). I didn't go to school to prepare to be better exploited in the work-a-day world. I left the work-a-day world to get away from that horrible pace and I dread the idea of returning to it. (Please, don't let this post stop you from hiring me, by all means). I went to undergrad at a place where everyone is a walking curriculum vitae (I either got that phrase from Baraka or Tom Wolfe) and everything is career, career, career all day long. It gave me a headache. Personally, I'm in favor of a more quiet approach to life. I got an MFA not for business reasons, but because I'm dedicated to this art form. It's my "way" of understanding the world, the prism through which I view all things. My viewfinder is a little clearer now. And no, I don't have a six-figure book deal because of this program. That wasn't the point (Though if you can offer me one, let me know). The end, to me at least, was the process itself. I'm happy with what I've accomplished and proud of all the graduating MFAs all around the country and even the world. Good job. Great job! Let's help shape the literature of the future. Peace.
(Here is a pretty balanced look at MFA degrees written by a guy that went to school with me from nursery school all the way through high school. I don't agree with him though. My experience was different than his. When we were kids I used to joke that we were going to go to the same college and pick the same careers. Sam used to shake his head at the improbability of that. Well, we didn't go to the same universities, but we have both taken to this writer thing. So I was right, as usual. He followed me though. I used to wear the affliction of being a teen aged poet like it was an honor back in high school. Sam didn't. I don't even remember him writing back then. I have always been a trend setter.)