Monthly Archives: June 2010

MFA Residency, the 2nd

I’ve completed the second (out of 5 total) residency at Spalding University. My experience this time was different than the last. At my last residency, I did most of the events with a small group of 610 students (meaning first semester) also in the Writing for Children and Young Adults (I just call it W4YA, since that is my main focus). Because of that, our small group experienced a nice bonding process from start to finish at the residency and then stayed in infrequent contact throughout the semester that followed. But because of the way the YA program is set up, YA students in 620 and 630 (second and third semester) must focus on a different concentration (meaning either Fiction, Poetry, CNF, or playwriting/screenwriting). The first few days of this residency, I felt a bit “orphaned” because the classmates I’d bonded with last semester were scattered about, and the other classification students were already bonded. It got better as it went on and I think Admin were alerted to the feelings (I wasn’t alone in my feelings, some of the others felt a bit orphaned as well) and are working to address those issues.

That’s one of the things I really like about the program: the administration seems genuinely interested in the experience of students, realizing that we’re all non-traditional students and our needs are a little different from the traditional 18 year old who comes to campus and lives there for the next few years. Not only that, the program is relatively new (2001, I think, was the first year) and thus it is only expected to have some growing pains. And honestly, I’m excited to be part of a growing group that has input to help make the program better.

So, if you’re wondering, I’m still 100% sold on the program and have no hesitation recommending it to anyone considering this sort of program. In fact, I recruited someone this past weekend who walked away leaving me with the impression that she was seriously considering Spalding low intensity MFA.

I’m also excited about my mentor this semester. Rachel Harper will be my mentor and I had a very good meeting with her prior to leaving residency. Yes, yes, I know it is her JOB, but she made me feel she was truly interested in reading the material I produce this semester and helping me create the best material “I” want to create and not what “she” wants…I can also say that not all writing programs are that way—many of them want you to fit into a mold. For what it’s worth, it is my plan to finish work on The Interns this semester. I’ve been talking it up to Kimberly, my agent, and I’m excited and ready to put it in her hands…but gotta finish it first!

1 Comment

Filed under writing

At the Arkansas Writers’ Conference

I pointed out in an earlier post that 2010 was shaping up to be an incredibly busy year, one that saw me at more conferences, conventions and book signings than in several years. The year is moving by so quickly I can’t believe it is JUNE already!

On June 4-5 I was the Featured Speaker at the Arkansas Writers Conference. Having never been to the AWC before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Oh, I’d been to Little Rock many times before, usually to watch the Hogs whip Ole Maid, but never to a writers’ conference. As I think of it, I’ve never been to a comic convention in LR either!

I met quite a few new folks, saw writers from my pals at BCW (Howdy Chris and Randy!), and saw several writers who often attend the writers retreats at Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Education Center in Piggott. Little Rock being in the center of the state, it was very cool learning that the writers in attendance had come from all four corners of the state.

I met with several writers who’d sent work in earlier for critique and I spoke three times: Shameless Self-Promotion, Put a Little Super in Your Hero, and Dangers of the Internet for Writers. Each of the sessions seemed to go over well with the writers in attendance. Several came up to me at the close of the conference and said nice things and it’s possible that I may receive some invites to other conferences based on the contacts I made…so that’s pretty exciting! At the Awards Banquet the final night (see group pic above), the Conference gave me an “Arkansas Traveler” Certificate. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture says “the certificate [is] presented to distinguished visitors to the state.” You can just imagined how surprised and honored I was to receive the certificate!

This coming weekend (Saturday, June 12) I will be taking part in an event at Eudora Welty Commons as writers and artists from all over the state of Mississippi gather to promote their work and promote the creative arts in Mississippi by Mississippians.

Two weeks later (Sat/Sun, June 26-27), I’ll be one of the many guests at Mississippi’s Southern Fried Comic Con in Jackson, MS. It takes place at the Cabot Lodge near Millsaps College.

A little more than a week later (Tuesday, July 6), I’ll be one of two authors reading and signing at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis, TN. It’ll be the first of that sort for me (reading, then signing).

Buying Time is moving well and so I’m happy about that. I’ll be posting some reviews and quotes and such at a later date—as soon as I can kind of gather them all up. I’m still looking for a few reviewers, so if you know of a review source, let me know!

2 Comments

Filed under Projects