Word, Jia. I have an MFA, which I received in NYC, where I then worked in publishing for a few years, so I should be ready to pounce on this thing... While I admire many of the writers in this anthology, the whole conversation feels unproductive and not actually relevant to why or how people write fiction, or pursue publication. "But then, in the early morning the writering goes away and there's just a blank page and a writer who can only do what that writer can do." Yes, this.
And that Dwight Garner line, oh my god, my brain just shut down to avoid feminist rage overload when I saw that yesterday.
Truth: I love Infinite Jest, but its function as trigger or red flag in the realm of online dating has almost completely ruined it for me.
The last guy I dated faded after 3 excellent dates; his favorite book is The Pale King.
@PomoFrannyGlass I should add that I don't think an MFA is necessary to be a good writer or get published. It's just one way to go. I think different paths work for different people.
@PomoFrannyGlass @rosencrantz oh mostly because I have an MFA (from a program in NYC...where I have also worked in trade publishing, though I currently do not) -- but the arguments I've seen saying MFA programs shouldn't exist at all bug me because it feels like a very privileged POV. This would probably make more sense if I had the time/patience to dig up some links to anti-MFA essays, but here are my responses to those I've read:
1. It is almost impossible to make an actual living, let alone support a family, for most writers of fiction, and MFA programs at the very least provide places where writers can both engage with their "craft" (ugh sorry) and still get paid properly as teachers.
2. I don't buy the arguments that they're somehow "bad" for literature in the first place, or bad for the students who attend them but these programs don't exist to make the world better. We live in a country where as long as there is a market for something, someone is going to sell it. There's clearly a market for MFA degrees and universities are selling them; and I guess I don't see how that impacts the writers who have been fortunate enough to find success without having been students or teachers in such programs (who tend to be the most outspoken and often vitriolic critics of them).
3. This is a relatively new point in my anti-anti-MFA argument, and likely biased by my current professional circumstances, but I think understanding how to tell a story, and how a well-told story affects its audience, is valuable in jobs outside writing and publishing. Advertising and brand strategy, sure, but also advocating for anything--yourself, others, policy, change, etc.
I do think Harbach is in a good position to tease this stuff out, though, since he has an MFA and his novel is one of the more interesting "road to publication" stories of the past few years.
I can't read any anti-MFA arguments without falling into a rage blackout, but I am curious to see how MFA vs. NYC will address MFA programs IN NYC.
On par with The Rumpus' Madame Clairvoyant. Brava, Galactic Rabbit!
On December 13th Now and Forever to Be Known as Beyday, a Celebration of Excellence, Surprises and Grown-Ass Women
Bey does not need my props (obviously), but I offer to them to Jia for this post. I wish my fangirling was as articulate as this.
On Ask Baba Yaga: There's Got to Be a Way to Exist Without Constantly Inflating and Deflating My Ego
BABA you've come back just when I needed you. <3
Here is the answer to breakfast:
@codi_cathleen I got my first wax 2 years ago after avoiding it for most of my life and now I do it a few times a year (regular bikini, never Brazilian...like I think if a dude was really into sculpted pubes that would indicate a fundamental incompatibility between us) and then shave in between. Yeah the hair growth thing can be a challenge timing-wise, but I get better results from shaving with the occasional wax (sparser hair, especially on the inner thigh area, and fewer bumps).
So I am pro-wax, but very low-key about it.