Bragging Rights

I spent today in a room full of MFA writing students. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate graduate students, having been one for several years now. But MFA students can be a different breed. As a writer who enjoys creative writing but has no formal training, being around all of those people who have that writer stamp of approval from a real live university can get a bit intimidating. I woke up for my very first fiction writing workshop this morning and struggled with the eternal first day of school jitters about what to wear and whether the other kids would like me.

Were my jeans too casual? Was my sweater serious enough? Would cowboy boots be ok, or look too affected? What about earrings? Would I look like a real writer or an obvious phony?

This was only compounded by the fact that the published author teaching our workshop had samples of all of our work to read in advance. He walked in with an armful and promised us all individual comments in writing at the end of class. After two hours of discussion on technique and setting, the workshop ended and he took questions. I raised my hand and when he called on me, asked if I was the author of “C-“. Yes, that’s me. “Could you stay after? I’d like to talk to you.”

My first workshop and here I was being kept after school. I waited for a few of the other students who lingered with questions and followed him down on his way to lunch. Finally, he pulled away from one particularly persistent student.

“I read all of the samples, but I wanted to let you know, I think you have the beginnings of a great novel here. The writing was excellent. Here’s my personal email address. I want you to finish what you started and stay in touch with me about it.  Read some Faulkner, nail down multiple perspectives and let’s publish this thing.”

Swoon. Pinch me. I think I’m dreaming.

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14 Comments

Filed under Daily Life, Writing

14 responses to “Bragging Rights

  1. I’ve never taken a writing course or workshop and never felt the slightest inclination. I’ve written that they may be useful for making connections but as to whether they produce a better quality writer…

    http://cliffjburns.wordpress.com/2007/04/06/writing-101

    Still, some might need a sense of community or support and it’s always nice to get some positive affirmation.

    Good luck to you!

  2. Wow, congrats! What an awesome compliment!

  3. That’s amazing – congratulations!

  4. Congratulations! That is a wonderful compliment! I hope you go for it.

  5. That’s great! That doesn’t hurt at all, does it? 🙂 What Faulkner did he recommend?

  6. @ chadhend: I picked up As I Lay Dying (though I’m a Faulkner junkie from way back, so I suspect I’ll still be leafing through my old favorite The Sound and the Fury just for kicks).

  7. The Sound and the Fury is a good one 🙂 I’ve never got around to reading As I Lay Dying, though it is on my list (that never seems to get shortened).

  8. @ chadhend: of course, the risk once I start with Faulkner is that I’ll get sucked back into Flannery O’Connor too. And then I may not actually write anything because of all of the reading…. 🙂

  9. kellilawless

    YAY! Love the validation for you!
    The funny thing for me — as a kid — it was the people who told me I couldn’t write who spurred me into full time writing. (don’t get any ideas) Having gone to Vanderbilt where they think they own the literary world… I just had to get my own feet under me and *know* that I am a writer and viola! Here I am 🙂

  10. that. is. awesome. good for you! so since you are an accomplished writer, maybe i can vent to you and you will understand. i just found out a former friend of mine copied the acknowledgements of my dissertation. i mean, she couldn’t come up with her own wording? for her acknowledgements? ridiculous. and it’s copywrighted honey. i should take it to student court.

  11. That’s so great! Congrats!

  12. edinadevine

    Exciting! Congrats! Can’t wait to read more.

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