Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
This looks like it’ll be an interesting book: a compilation of essays that look at the nature of the American literary scene. Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding) has gotten a bunch of his pals, I’m guessing, to contribute their thoughts on the notion that you either have to get an MFA or head for NYC if you’re going to amount to more than a hill o’ beans in this business. The book comes out February 25.
Maybe I’ve talked about the MFA thing before here, but the short version is I decided many years ago not to pursue it. Financial reasons, mainly. Practical. Plus, I had a writing instructor who convinced me that — at the time, anyway — the MFA was thought of as a teaching degree. (I don’t think that was particularly true; she was probably a bit behind the times.) Now and then I second-guess myself on that front, but, as I hope this book points out, getting an MFA doesn’t come with a guarantee that you’ll succeed as a writer.
As for the NYC side of the equation, you may remember I don’t ♥ New York.
There’s a third element, however, that maybe Harbach & friends haven’t considered. You can write from wherever you live. You can march to the beat of a different drummer. Part of what makes a writer interesting is the stuff that distinguishes her from everyone else, and if everyone else has an MFA and sounds vaguely similar, then maybe she’ll stand out in the crowd.
How ’bout it? Any MFA holders out there who want to argue in favor? Any denizens of the Big Apple — center of the literary universe? Chime in!