Whenever someone asks me about the MFA, about how it’s going, I struggle to articulate the experience. The best response I’ve been able to coerce from my mouth: “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.” And it’s true. Somehow, by whatever intercession of a higher power, I’ve landed in a phenomenal, life-changing program (see left).

Hollins is a studio program. I’ve cranked out more pages in one semester than I did in my entire undergraduate career, and I can only hope that this productivity continues beyond two years. The community here is outstanding, like the summer camp experience I wished I’d had, like being on a desert island (Roanoke, VA) with twenty-three peers who write and read and are just as goofy and nerdy as me. And the weather! I knew that Michigan gave me seasonal affective disorder, all that gloom rolling off Lake Michigan, but I didn’t realize that some places get sunshine almost every day. Virginia does. And it’s warm, sometimes as much as thirty degrees warmer than Michigan. It’s been an inspiring, friend-filled, warm first semester.

We who read and write don’t always have math brains, but I thought it might be helpful to quantify this semester:

  • Held out my hand and touched 2 zebra noses (At Virginia Safari Park. Alas, no wild zebras in Virginia.)
  • Wrote approximately 130 pages of fiction, 1 creative non-fiction essay, and 3 poems.
  • Read approximately 4800 pages of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
  • Watched all 9 seasons of Roseanne.
  • Befriended 23 talented MFA writers.

I’m trying not to look ahead three semesters to when it will be over, and I will be forced back to the real world. Let’s just enjoy this.

Stay tuned in January for my second exploration of 30 Graphic Novels in 30 Days.

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