Writing and Reading Short Fiction

I got back from my first residency in the MFA Program at Goddard ten days ago, and feel as though my involvement in the program is already contributing to my growth as a writer.

I've been writing and reading daily, and approaching both with a more critical eye. The things I learned working with my fellow students and the teachers at Goddard have already been helpful in pushing me to stretch beyond my comfort-zone.

My focus this semester is in short fiction, so I'm spending time each morning writing stories; followed by reading a mix of books, both collections of short fiction and books on writing short fiction (and other books on craft).

I've written eight short stories so far, and have a line-up of twenty-three books I'm excited to read and prepare annotations for (I've finished one so far, and am halfway through the second).

I'm lucky to have the support of my family and friends and fans ... Puck and Miles, our dogs, help me get started and stay on task everyday. 

My wife Gail is, as always, my first pair of outside eyes on everything I write. All these years I've been writing, telling stories, she's been the angel on my shoulder reining me in, pushing me on, helping me polish and tweak my writing with her clear and constant and measured voice.

It's an exciting and scary new world I'm exploring; I'm thankful for my team.



MFAW at Goddard College

I've started my first residency at Goddard College, in Plainfield, Vermont, in their MFA-Writing program.

My cohort of twenty students will get together, along with other cohorts and the faculty members to read and write, and to share what we read and write; also to attend workshops and lectures, and to design our individual courses of study for the coming semester, once the residency is at an end.

It's a creativity-rich environment, and after days spent talking about books and writing, and sharing books and writing with everyone in the college, I fall into bed exhausted but feeling my brain stretched and strained in new and exciting ways.

One of the things that most drew me to Goddard is the lack of boxiness of their program. Creative writing is by its nature a highly variable beast, and we're allowed, encouraged even, to pursue our writing, and educational growth, in the way that best suits us. It's a rigorous program, with lots of reading and writing for each student during every semester and residency, but we only use the material that will help further our craft, and our writing.

I've been fascinated by the diversity of teachers and students here, not in terms of race, sex, orientation, beliefs, etc. (although that is certainly rich as well), but in their, our, thinking and production of creative writing. It's amazing to see and hear how broad and deep the oceans of writing creatively can be ... I've spent my whole life looking at a smaller bay, and am only now exploring the vastness.

I spend my days choosing between multiple workshops and lectures: which ones can I afford to miss, which ones must I see? I'm filling my notebook with thoughts and ideas and tips gleaned from these wonderful people; a page in the back of my notebook is filling with ideas for stories and scenes and characters in my own writing.

It's an exciting program, and I truly feel the only limitations are those I set through perceptual or intellectual shuttering ... I cannot wait to explore this new world, and my place in it.