Skip to main content

On MFA programs and Creative Writing

If I had really gone to plan, I would have earned a Masters in Victorian Literature.  Then I would be have spent an eternity teaching basic English at a university making less than what I do now.  Then I would have had my ‘big break’ and taught Old and Middle English along with linguistics.
Instead, I applied for the MFA program at the University of British Columbia and failed miserably.  I went over to Korea for a couple of years and came back to the States and struggled to make as much as I did when I was a drafter.
It wasn’t the actual rejection that threw me off but a series of negative people in my life.  Two of them being creative writing professors.  I had one fiction professor and one poetry professor that were positive and helped me in my writing journey.  But a series of negative people made me doubt myself.  Something, I continue to do.  It has taken me well over a decade to realize the opinion of the negative people doesn’t matter as telling a good story matters.
William Gibson went to UBC.  I figured that I would need to go to a MFA program to be a legit writer and then write sci-fi to show that sci-fi was a legit form of writing.  
I now know that is all crap.  Ray Bradbury, probably the greatest sci-fi writer ever never attended a writing college.  In fact, he spent four years in a library reading and improved his craft through reading.
Every now and then I try to read William Gibson because he is supposed to be this prominent sci-fi writer.  I have a tough time reading his works as most of the time it seams he is writing to impress some writing teacher.
Ray Bradbury, on the other hand, is easy to read and I enjoy his works.
With my knowledge of the history of the English language, I could have easily gotten into the University of Minnesota.  I wouldn’t have went to Korea.  I would probably have stayed in Minneapolis being an adjunct professor.  Then I eventually would have reached tenure.
But life is full of these what I should have done scenarios.  I didn’t.  Now I soldier forth as a sci-fi writer.