Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Coming Out of a Fog

Been absent for awhile as I've been working towards my MFA. But I just finished my last packet today and now it's just about doing a reading and teaching a lecture at the June residency and I'll be a proud recipient of an MFA.

"An MBA? That's great!"

"No, an MFA."

"Oh. What do you do with that?"

"Um. Buy a nice frame."

But, really, the MFA program at Antioch L.A. has been a life changer for me. It's taught me the big difference between WANTING to be a writer and actually BEING a writer. I feel like I'm leaving the program as someone who has a chance to make a career at this. Not just because I'm a far better writer than when I went in (which I am) but because I'm a far more disciplined writer as well.

Plus -- or maybe "most importantly" -- I come out of this with some amazing friends who I know will support me for the rest of my writing life.

Two years have gone fast. But I can't imagine spending them in any better way.

Oh, and in my silence, two stories have gone live.

"Incubus" over at Dogzplot and
"That Kid" over at Staccato

Thanks to Barry Graham for working with and publishing the former. And thanks to David Erlewine for working with me on the latter and the guys at Staccato for publishing it.

One last thing: Storyscape has an anthology out. You can get it here. I have a story in it about the Dust Bowl.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I hurt my finger two weeks ago. It came out of its splint yesterday and I can’t bend it very well. Apparently, two weeks of disuse is enough time to start causing the ligaments to atrophy. It’s reversible of course. But here’s the thing – does writing work the same way? Can your writing atrophy?

If you take time off from writing – to handle work or take care of life issues or go on a bender or whatever – are you stiff when you come back? If you used to be able to write for 4 hours a day, do you find you tire out at two?

I write just about every day. And I write a lot of words most days Sometimes I think it would be nice to take a month off and catch up on my Entertainment Weeklys and episodes of Anthony Bourdain and, I don’t know, yard work. But then I think, could I go right back to it after an extended break? Or would the process hurt?

The finger is stiff. I mean, really, I can’t make a fist right now. I suppose it’s a terrible fallacy to equate physical conditions with mental ones. But it makes me think. Especially with the large amount of work I’m getting these days and with the end of my MFA life coming up in June. Lots of reasons to take time off. But I don’t think I will. I don’t think I could risk the effects.