TAPPING INTO THE “FOREVER EMPTY”: A Conversation between Mentor & Mentee

by Gabriel Jason Dean
Spalding MFA faculty, Screenwriting
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Cassie Brower

Spalding Screenwriting student, Cassie Brower, is currently the Director of Original Programming at Disney Junior in Los Angeles. DISNEY JUNIOR LOGOCassie has overseen the hit shows Sofia the First, The Lion Guard, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, as well as several short series. I had the pleasure of working with Cassie as her mentor during her first semester at Spalding.  We inevitably discussed time-management and daily practice during our time together. And since those are topics I’m asked about by almost all the Spalding students I mentor, I reckoned a blog post was in order. But rather than just espousing what works for me, I thought it might also be beneficial to hear from Cassie, arguably one of Spalding’s busiest students.  Continue reading “TAPPING INTO THE “FOREVER EMPTY”: A Conversation between Mentor & Mentee”

GEORGE GETSCHOW SCHOLARSHIP FOR MAYBORN CONFERENCE BENEFITS SPALDING MFA STUDENTS, ALUMS

For Spalding MFAers who write creative nonfiction, the George Getschow Scholarship provides funding to attend the 2017 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, July 21-23, in Grapevine, Texas.

The $800 scholarship is available to Spalding MFA students and alums, regardless of area of concentration. The scholarship is made possible by the MFA program and a generous donation from an anonymous MFA alum. Others are welcome to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund.

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George Getschow

The scholarship is named in honor of George Getschow (CNF ’05), who is co-founder and writer-in-residence of the nationally acclaimed conference. He is also principal lecturer at the Mayborn School of Journalism and serves as writing coach for a number of newspapers. George spent 16 years at The Wall Street Journal as a reporter, editor, bureau chief, and on the Page One Rewrite Desk. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for distinguished writing about the underprivileged. In 2012, he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.

According to the conference website, “The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference is a forum for journalists, writers, readers, students, educators and the general public to listen to, be inspired by and practice their craft at the highest possible level.

“Every year, the Mayborn Conference gathers some of the most talented storytellers in the country to share their stories, life-changing experiences and expertise with aspiring writers through three days of lectures, panels, one-on-one sessions, and student classes.

“In addition, the conference includes a variety of writing contests for anyone from high school students to Pulitzer Prize-winning professionals, who receive hand-made trophies, more than $26,000 in cash awards and have their work published in Mayborn’s journal, Ten Spurs, or anthology, Best American Newspaper Narratives.” 

The scholarship will be awarded to an MFAer who is able to attend the entire conference weekend. Applications will be accepted between March 1 and April 1, and notification will be made by email on or before May 15.

To apply, submit a nonfiction writing sample (maximum 10 pages), published or unpublished, with your name on the cover letter only. The cover letter should confirm that you are able to attend the entire conference. Email the sample and cover letter to kmann@spalding.edu. The writing sample is read blind by a Spalding University MFA alum.

As part of the award, the recipient agrees to write a brief testimonial about the experience shortly after the conference concludes.

Previous scholarship recipient Donna Crow (CNF ’14) wrote, “As the largest nonfiction literary conference in this country, the Mayborn Conference draws some of the best writers from around the globe. To be in the same room with so many top award-winning journalists as well as novelists, memoirists, etc., was a head-spinning experience. I was able to socialize and network with people I would not otherwise ever have met.  I am sure it has caused my writing to grow in many ways.”

Registration for the conference is now open at a cost of $225 before May 1 and $425 after that date. Tickets for additional conference events are available at an extra cost. Scholarship funds are paid directly to the recipient to defray conference registration and travel costs.

The conference is hosted by the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism, University of North Texas. For information and to register, visit http://www.themayborn.com/.

RE-VISION: Wright-ing; Erasure, Embroidering; the tweak

 

By Kira Obolensky
Spalding MFA faculty, playwriting

obolensky_blog_quoteGreetings, fellow writers. I write to you from the distant fields of my own particular revision process; the mud pit of the second draft.  Most of the writers I know talk about revision without saying the word. When I ask a writer friend about her revision, her response is, “Knee deep. I’m putting the damn thing in first person now.”  Continue reading “RE-VISION: Wright-ing; Erasure, Embroidering; the tweak”

WRITING WHILE LIVING

By Leslie Daniels
Spalding MFA faculty, fiction
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I am struck by how many of my students write beautifully in the midst of very dense lives. Some are working extremely hard on other jobs, some have young families, or run their own businesses, or care for elderly parents.

I ask them when they write. Some get up at four AM, or write after everyone has gone to sleep. Some write on their lunch hours. Continue reading “WRITING WHILE LIVING”

GROWING UP WRITING

By Nancy McCabe
Spalding MFA Faculty, Creative Nonfiction

“…reminiscing about my origins as a writer is not just a nostalgic act, but one that helps me to keep sight of the reasons why I write.”

I’m surprised by people who think of writing as drudgery, an onerous task we take on to punish ourselves only because of our unforgiving work ethics. For me, the need to write goes back to my childhood, when writing was just another game, like playacting or drawing. Writing, when I was young, was a pleasure, a refuge, solace, a chance to play, with no need to demand perfection from myself, and writing as an adult, is, much of the time, an attempt to recapture that experience. Continue reading “GROWING UP WRITING”

CRAFTING SURPRISE IN FICTION

By Beth Ann Bauman
Spalding MFA Faculty, Writing for Children & Young Adults

There are truisms about life we all accept—e.g., rejection and loss are painful, success feels great, grief is sad, and so on. And undoubtedly you’ll include universal truisms in your work because you want to reflect life accurately. But what’s more interesting and real are when characters and events surprise us in some way. Because here’s another truism—life is strange. Continue reading “CRAFTING SURPRISE IN FICTION”

MY SPALDING MFA WORLD TRAVELS WITH KATY & FRIENDS

By Kathleen Driskell
Spalding MFA Associate Program Director

I’m delighted to be leading our Spalding MFA summer abroad residency in Edinburgh, July 12-24, with Katy Yocom, Associate Program Director, and Ellyn Lichvar, Administrative Assistant. With our distinguished summer 2017 MFA faculty Silas House, Shane McCrae, Dianne Aprile, Leslea Newman, Charlie Schulman, and Helena Kriel, we are planning a bonnie curriculum for our students and alumni Continue reading “MY SPALDING MFA WORLD TRAVELS WITH KATY & FRIENDS”

SAILING WITH AHAB’S WIFE

By Sena Jeter Naslund
Spalding MFA Program Director

Growing up, it was the novel rather than the short story that had made me want to be a writer, but in graduate school at Iowa I had written only short stories. While I had published a short story collection, Ice Skating at the North Pole, I would need to serve an apprenticeship learning how to manage the form of the novel, from the inside-out. Continue reading “SAILING WITH AHAB’S WIFE”