RARA-AVIS: MFA programs and all that

From: Jack Bludis (buildsnburns@yahoo.com)
Date: 07 Mar 2009

  • Next message: Kevin Burton Smith: "RARA-AVIS: Spade and Archer"

    Okay, all opinion, as usual:
      I think it's good to get into an MFA program or to take college courses on "how to write." No one can teach anyone the art of writing but anyone with sufficient talent, intelligence, or whatever else is required to write well can learn and assimilate, but on can assimilate from reading others as well.
      One of my former writing instructors said: read the classics, but read whats out there and read what you want to write.
      Who can pass that one up?
      As for eliminating someone just because he or she has a desire to write genre, very good genre, that borders on the stupid and certainly on snobbery.
      I am not certain that I heard this directly or from a mutual associate, but I understand that Max Allan Collins was in an MFA program (Iowa?) and made it known early on that he wanted to write retro crime fiction. The response, if memory serves me correctly--and it often doesn't--was "Well, if that's what you want to do ... but you'll never make any money at it." So some programs are at least open to the candidate writing what he or she wants to write.
      As to an anti-intellectual bias on this list? Far from it. There are academics, non-academics, wanna be academics, readers, writers, and reader-writers here most of whom have something to say when they say it.
      One of the things the Gores-Spade and Hammet discussion has brought out is names I don't remember seeing much in the past, and I greatly appreciate the sound (in my head of course) of new voices.
      Long live Rara Avis, genre fiction, and even that which poses as or wishes to be literary fiction.
      Good discussions, guys.
      Jack Bludis
      Read, read, read. Write, write,write.


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