Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer


What an amazing weekend I had.

RedEarthMFALast spring at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Minneapolis, I found myself at dinner with a group that included Jeanetta Mish, the director of the Red Earth MFA program in creative writing, which is a low-residency program based at Oklahoma City University. And then I found myself invited to visit the program and teach in the winter 2016 residency.

Which has just ended.

The class I led on Saturday afternoon is a staple that I’ve offered for MFA programs and writing conferences and centers many times in the past. “Writing What We Know: For Love and for Money” is essentially a mini-course on freelance writing within the specialty of “writing about writing,” whether that may mean assignments with writing-related publications and websites, or author interviews, book reviews, and other writing-focused content for a variety of venues.

I think that the class went well, but you’ll probably have to ask the students about that for confirmation. What I’m certain of is that the director has developed a simply wonderful program and community. If you’re considering low-residency MFA programs, do consider this one!

An Approaching Anniversary

As a thank-you to Jeanetta for inviting me (and treating me with such incredible generosity throughout, including guiding fellow visiting instructor Stephanie Vanderslice and me on a deeply moving visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial), I have mailed her a small gift. You guessed it: I sent an autographed copy of Quiet Americans.

Which reminds me that we are nearing the fifth anniversary of QA‘s publication (next week). Remember, you can still purchase copies (in print or e-book format). And those purchases (of new books–not the used ones available from re-sellers) still support The Blue Card.

Beyond “MFA vs. POC”

Finally, ICYMI, yesterday brought my Fig Tree Books blog post about the need for classes and conferences that support and cultivate Jewish writing. It includes mentions of relevant offerings that I’m already aware of, and it invites comments with further suggestions. I hope that you’ll check it out.