Well, after a shameful lapse in working toward my initially stated writing goals, I'm back on the wagon, or whatever. I started a writing group with some friends--we just had our first deadline last weekend and another one looms only a week away. Finished a book this afternoon, started an essay I am so far very pleased with... so now, of course, it's time to watch reruns of House and eat ice cream while playing Scrabble on Facebook.
It occurred to me (by way of my therapist) that my obsessive focus on being productive over the past couple of weeks has actually paralyzed me creatively. So I promised myself that I would focus this weekend on being rather than doing. Somewhat annoyingly, I have ended up getting a lot done despite myself, but at least I'm not allowed to feel bad for not having gotten more done. More importantly, I wrote spontaneously. I'll credit a bit of inspiration for that, though--the book I finished was Alexander Chee's Edinburgh, which was fucking beautiful. His writing style cuts to the heart of me and opens me up, the way I expect books to do--but so few actually succeed. I'm thrilled to have found this one. His story, 13 Crimes Against Love, published in Lodestar Quarterly in the fall of 2002, is a great example of his talent.
In other news, I came by a blog post complaining about the lack of funded creative writing MFA programs in the U.S. I couldn't believe that this woman would make such a ridiculous statement after claiming to have made a "pretty thorough investigation." I would have told her how wrong she was on her own blog if she'd enabled comments, but apparently she is too cool for that. So I thought I'd post about it here. There are, in fact, several dozen funded MFA programs in the U.S., one of which I'll be attending in the fall and about 12 others from which I was rejected earlier this year. Anyone who is thinking about applying to creative writing MFA programs needs to read Tom Kealey et al's Creative Writing MFA Handbook, check out the MFA blog, and carefully peruse Seth Abramson's MFA/PhD rankings, statistics, etc. I thought this was obvious, but apparently some people have still managed to miss these very prominent online and print resources. SIGH. Well, if you do miss them and consequently despair at having no hope of MFA glory, you have no one but yourself to blame for being too lazy to do any real research.
On that pleasant note, happy summer solstice, everyone!