I'm going to write a daily blog about my first MFA residency experience, partly as a way for me to assimilate the information and partly because there may be some useful writing information worth sharing.
Today we attended our first workshops. I participated in a workshop entitled, "Writing Like A Painter" where we talked about such concepts as false center or absence of center, narration and master narrative, and unity. The mediator used the novel, "The Sea," by John Banville and the artwork of Pierre Bonnard to illustrate his points.
We attended a discussion panel about getting the most out of mentorships, then met with our assigned mentors to begin discussions about our first courses, defining writing goals and designing reading lists based on those goals.
Finally, we went to a reading in the hotel lounge where we listened to two graduates of the program read excerpts from their novels.
Yesterday we attended a program orientation where we were informed that during our two year tenure in the program, aside from the coursework, we'll be tasked with an enrichment project which is unrelated to writing but is an experience which will make us even more well-rounded. I think I'll use my participation in the local chamber chorale as my enrichment project.
We must also do an internship of some sort, and I plan to approach the English Dept at the local university (where I just finished my BA) and see if I can arrange a teaching practicum. My ultimate goal is to teach at the university level in order to earn a paycheck and benefits while at the same time exploring all the different kinds of writing I want to do.
Finally, of course, we have to write a book length thesis project. I haven't decided yet if I want to write a novel or a screenplay. Truthfully, I want to write both. We'll see how ambitious I am as I move forward. As it turns out, my mentor has done just that. He wrote a novel then wrote the screenplay for the movie version of the same novel.
Anyway, that's it for day one. We'll see what day two brings!