By Robin Lippincott, Spalding Low-Residency MFA Faculty (Fiction)
Circa Late ’70s
The first time I ever saw or heard of her was on The Dick Cavett Show in the latter half of the 1970s. I was still living in Central Florida at the time, still living, in fact, with my parents. If you had said the word “intellectual” to me then I would have immediately conjured the image of a boring, old, straight, white man. But then suddenly there she was, Susan Sontag. Continue reading “Missing Susan Sontag”
By JULIE BRICKMAN, SPALDING MFA FICTION FACULTY
On August 23, 2017, the author Susan Vreeland died. She was 71 years old and died from the consequences of the illness that launched her mind into composing her best work. Continue reading “Goodbye, Darlin’: A Tribute to a Great Writer.”
Crystal Wilkinson, Spalding MFA Fiction Faculty
If you are a writer and are looking for magic, something to propel your forward, the answer is simple. Pssst–come closer. Closer.
Continue reading “Gathering Magic: How to Read Like a Writer”
Nancy McCabe, Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction
My first semester as an MFA student, my classmates often strolled into workshop, flung newly printed manuscripts onto the seminar table, and said, “Oh, this is just a rough draft.” In two cases, a few weeks later my classmates sold those “rough drafts” to The Atlantic. Continue reading “Beauty in Imperfection”
Eleanor Morse, Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction
How often do you pause in the middle of writing a sentence, in search of a word or phrase that describes exactly what you mean? You might keep going, leave a blank space in the text, and trust that what you need will pop out when you least expect it. Or you might sit and stare and wait for it. Or you might hunt it down relentlessly until you find it. However you seek it, there’s a moment when that word or phrase drops into place, and you know it’s right. Continue reading “The Right Word”
Neela Vaswani, Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction
I would venture that most writers find reading healing. Find solace in words and craft and the quiet of turning pages. I usually feel that way. But at various points in my life, when I’ve been in need of healing—from trauma or loss or illness—I’ve found myself incapable of reading. I can’t get my eyes to move horizontally across sentences. And the literary fiction I normally find comforting feels inedible. Continue reading “Books for the Dented Self”
Seeing your name in print is exciting. Seeing your name in print beside your published work is even better. But where to start? There are so many journals in existence, deciding which one is the best fit for your work can feel like drinking from a firehose. There are reading periods and closed reading periods and themed issues and page count guidelines and print vs. online and submission fees and submission managers and simultaneous submissions. There is fear—fear of rejection, fear of publication (“Oh my gosh, my mom/son/ex is going to read this!”), fear of doing the wrong thing.
Continue reading “THE ART OF THE LITERARY SUBMISSION: A Beginners’ Guide to Submitting Your Work”
Many people want to know, “What does an MFA in Writing at Spalding get me?” So we asked our alums of all ages and from all over the world to help us out.
Forty-eight graduates, 19 men and 29 women, starting with the first class of 2003 to the present, responded to our open question: How did the Spalding MFA in Writing low-residency program impact you professionally, creatively, and personally? Their responses extol and probe both surprising and not surprising reasons to pursue an MFA in general, and a Spalding MFA in particular. Continue reading “WHY DO AN MFA IN WRITING, AND WHY AT SPALDING UNIVERSITY?”
Leah Henderson, who graduated from the Spalding MFA program in 2011 with a concentration on Writing for Children and Young Adults, has just launched her first middle grade novel, One Shadow on the Wall, which takes place in Senegal and centers on an eleven-year-old boy named Mor. After Mor’s parents die, he becomes head of household and must keep his two younger sisters safe. But it is not easy for someone so young to shoulder such a burden. And the world can be very cruel. The book is a gripping read that explores themes of loyalty, faith, and redemption. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Leah about her first (surely of many!) publications. Continue reading “PATIENCE, PROCESS, PUBLICATION: Lesléa Newman & Leah Henderson”
As both a writer and teacher, I’ve been obsessed with the question of influence, both nonliterary and literary. It’s informed my scholarly work as well as my fiction and nonfiction, not to mention the kinds of courses I’ve designed, such as Forms of Fiction, Sudden Fiction, Short Story Cycle, Literature of the American Dream, Shakespeare, The American West in Film and Literature, and Family Systems in Film and Literature. A couple of years ago, I taught a special topics course for MFA students at Iowa State University entitled The Ecstasy of Influence, in which the students and I explored what we talk about when we talk about literary influence. It is one of my favorite courses—and one that helped me reshape the kinds of questions I now focus on for most of my other creative writing and literature courses. Continue reading “WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT INFLUENCE”