An Eloquent Defense of Writing Degrees (Not Written By Kimmery)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

This week’s topic is “MFA and Writing Classes” and I’ve got precious little to say here. It’s probably glaringly apparent I don’t have an MFA or a graduate degree in writing. I’ve taken no writing classes either, although I have signed up for a few sessions at various conferences. When it comes to writing, I’m an autodidact. I’m also fond of doing things the hard way: I don’t outline, pre-plot,…

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How a Film Nerd became an Author

Friday, September 16, 2016

This past March I attended the AWP Conference in LA. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a four day conference with dozens of workshops, panels, readings and whole heap of networking with fellow writers, teachers, and publishing industry savants. It’s one of the largest literary conferences in America (FYI, I’ll be speaking at two panels next year in Washington D.C). As I made my way through a sea of…

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From One-Page Stories to Full-Length Novels

Thursday, September 15, 2016

With classes underway across the country, I’m reminded how school helped shape who I am today. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be something “creative”, but at the time I couldn’t quite pinpoint what “name” would be attached with that dream.   Throughout elementary school, I wrote a ton of one-page stories. Never fail, the storyline followed the same progression: girl meets boy, girl marries boy, girl and boy…

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MFA, Schm-MFA…and Other Reasons Why I’m the Unlikeliest of Authors

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I’ve always been a reader. My first word was “book,” and some of my most treasured childhood memories are from the days I spent cozied up with Roald Dahl stories. By the time I was thirteen, I discovered Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, gateway authors into the science fiction world. My geekiness soared tenfold. Perhaps those authors give the impression I was a sophisticated child reader; my big sister…

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Happy New Year … in September

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

During a catastrophically bad job interview, Kate, the main character in Small Admissions says that, in her mind, the year begins in September — not in January. It’s one of the few reasonable (as in not completely crazy) statements she makes as she’s trying to land a job in a school. I feel the same way. For me, September has always meant the beginning of a new year. All these…

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I Did It My Way or The Importance of the Liberal Arts

Monday, September 12, 2016

Last week I was reading an article in the Washington Post about how my generation has been churning out helicopter parents who don’t want their kids to study literature or liberal arts. Curious, I inquired how many were history majors. Of the 24 honors students in the seminar, there were none. English? Philosophy? Fine arts? Only one. How was this possible? I asked. Almost in unison, half a dozen replied: “Our parents…

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My piecemeal writing education…

Thursday, September 17, 2015

My honors English teacher turned me into a lifetime reader. She talked about characters as if they were real, as if to read about them was to be included in their adventures. She introduced me to To Kill a Mockingbird and laughed with me about passing the damn ham. When she asked why I didn’t care for The Catcher in the Rye, I told her Holden Caulfield was a whiner; she grinned….

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Learning to Write: an Alarm, a Gun in the First Act, and an MFA

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

To all those also celebrating Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), I wish you l’shanah tova tikatevu! My writing education began in Mrs. Dubois’s 4th grade language arts class, when she gently informed me that stories were stronger when they didn’t end with “And then the alarm went off and I realized it was all a dream.” I had other wonderful teachers who taught me different literary forms and opened…

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From Art School To The Writing Workshop

Monday, September 14, 2015

My writing education began, oddly enough, in art school. I went to the Portland School of Art (now Maine College of Art) straight out of high school, armed with a Pentax camera and a tackle box full of charcoal and kneaded erasers. PSA had a wonderful two-year foundation program, where every student had to take a wide range of studio classes–sculpture, drawing, design, color theory, even a class called tool…

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