The Compulsive Reader: MFA

Thursday, July 23, 2015


In 2013, fresh out of college, I enrolled in the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. It's a low-residency program that allows you to work one-on-one with an advisor, but requires twice a year trips to the Green Mountain State for ten-day residencies. My first day at residency was full of equal parts wild excitement (finally, I found a way to Hogwarts!) and absolute terror. What had I gotten myself into? Back then, 2015 and graduation seemed impossibly far away, but the last two years actually seemed to zoom by.

Last weekend, I graduated! Look, I even have photographic evidence:

Reading my creative thesis and trying not to pass out:

Delivering my graduate lecture on the function of banter in YA novels and how writers can use banter to achieve emotional resonance:

Celebrating with my FANTASTIC class, The Crafttographers! (Yes, we are in costume, and yes, we are all adults.)

And finally, in our gowns and with our hoods and diplomas! We're official!

Attending VCFA has been life-changing in the best, most magical way. Over the last two years, I've read over 300 books, written fifteen critical essays and one verrrrrrrrry long critical thesis. I wrote pages and pages and pages of creative work for three different novels. I wrote a first full draft of a novel one semester, and then I completely re-wrote it the next semester. I attended five different workshops, and I got to work with many wonderfully wise, patient, and talented writer mentors. The program blew my mind wide open--to new literature, new forms, new ideas, and new perspectives. And along the way, I met some of the best people and writers living on this Earth. I'm very grateful, and right now a little teary.

Many people have asked me, "What's next?" The answer isn't terribly exciting--more writing, more working, and always more reading. The program teaches you to be a writer in the "real world" of jobs and families and busy schedules, and I'm excited to see what will happen next. Right after I finish unpacking and laundry and go grocery shopping and...

If you're considering VCFA or taking your writing to the next level, feel free to email me! I really mean that. I love VCFA, and I will talk about the program for daaaaayyysssss...because it really is Hogwarts in real life!

1 comment:

Cecelia said...

Congrats on the MFA! That's a wonderful accomplishment.