This question drives me up the wall, because it is generally not asked with the intent of eliciting an answer; it is almost always an accusation. If it were an honest question, I would be happy to answer it, mostly focusing on the small, select, irreplaceable group of writers I met there who are and will continue to be not only my most valuable readers and collaborators but some of my favorite friends. Connections, confidence and some seriously awesome professors also top the list. But, I sometimes just get annoyed by the question and say something stupid, defensive, or mean. MFA programs are certainly not perfect, but they have merit and I wish I could trust myself to always convey that.
So I was happy to find this blog post by Danielle Evans, which brilliantly and effectively deals with the criticisms levied at writers for attending MFA programs. This post is a follow up, and is just as good. I freaking love Danielle Evans and cannot wait until her first collection, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, comes out in September.
I found out about these posts from Tayari Jones, who interviewed Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the Tenement Museum last Thursday. Don’t get me started on those two. (I mean don’t get me started yet–a post is forthcoming in Ms. Adichie’s fantastic new short story collection.) Stay tuned!