Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Richard Ford, Kids, and the MFA

In case you haven't seen it, Richard Ford gives his list of ten rules for writing here.  For the most part, I think they're pretty good rules.  I get it.  I shouldn't drink and write.  The same advice probably goes for drinking and Facebooking too.  And drinking and blogging, which I'm not, by the way, doing right now.

Still, I struggle with advice #2, which says "Don't have children."  I'm a parent, and I just don't agree with that.  I'll be the first to admit it's not easy trying to write and raise a child, but it's no harder for me than for the person who has to work an extra job proofreading at night, or the person with insomnia, or the person with a chronic illness.  And I'm inherently resistant to the implication that there is one writing process that works unilaterally.  For that reason, I also struggle with Annie Dillard's, The Writing Life, because ahem, I have a life life.  I can't go isolate myself in a windowless tool shed and write for twelve hours a day.  Does that make me less of a writer? 

Well, actually, yes it does, but maybe someday, I'll have the luxury of time.

For now, I may not have marathon nights of manic writing, but I have Sunday mornings where I sit in my office with the sun coming through the window, a cup of coffee next to me, and my laptop on the desk.  The writing still happens; it just happens differently.  My MFA gives me the structure and allows me time to be a writer, rather than just a parent, and our program here has a diverse population with multiple candidates like me. Fortunately for us, this program provides that space for difference. 

You can see my work here .

And you can read more about the WVU MFA here .

From Kelly Sundberg: Secretary, Council of Writers.  Moo.

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