p.s. workshop

I’m still pretty pissed about the retarded workshop feedback. Retarded as in, I got a few sentences from nearly half the workshop that qualifies as “written feedback”–retarded as in, it must have taken them 2 minutes to write (tops)…retarded as in, they must have only hurriedly read my manuscript.

WTF am I paying my MFA program all this money for?

One of my mentors, and I think I mentioned this, told me that if you help other writers you will be blessed. He really stressed the importance of reading carefully, providing thoughtful critique and putting the work in. I don’t know what’s going on with my peers here.

I guess–this is all a lot about my readjustment back into the MFA atmosphere. I’ve had a semester+summer break from the program, and have lived my life in sheltered solitude as I recovered.

The reality is…that this lack of consideration, and overwhelming selfishness is not new. (Remember the time I stepped onto campus right after my stroke? Whew!) I had just forgotten it existed, and I am still recovering my ability to cope with all of it.

People can be mean, especially so in an MFA program. I had totally forgotten that. And they can be selfish, especially so in an MFA program.



Filed under MFA, Writing

7 responses to “p.s. workshop

  1. I hope you go and speak to that prof. soon, or at least email her. You’re right, you should not be spending gobs of money for an MFA program to get this level of feedback.

  2. Yep. I emailed her to set up an appt.

  3. I sense a lack of professionalism on the part of your peers and more importantly a false sense of entitlement just because they are like you spending gobs of money on an MFA program — false b/c they think (possibly subconsiously, possibly consciously) that expending the extra energy and thought to to help a fellow writer I mean DO THE WORK REQUIRED means taking time and focus away from their work.

    Your peers sound horrendous b/c they’ll only be motivated by punitive measures, not by common sense. (I know me and my dramatics here) The sadder part to me is that in the end most of them will probably never find success in ANY endeavor they aim for, because they’ll never recognize the holistic connection between what they put out for others and what they can generate to the world.

  4. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) you have no control over peers. Everyone is traveling at different speeds and are in different places along the way toward their MFA. People only get out of a program what they put in. You are investing a lot and expect others to do the same – while its not necessarily unrealistic to think peers will invest something in their MFA, not all, if any, will invest to the level you are. You have high expectations of yourself and probably higher than anyone else in this workshop. It is frustrating not to get the quality feedback you were expecting this round. Perhaps its something to address with the group as a whole?

  5. So I was sick this week and missed out on all these posts when this was going on. Now I’m late commenting, but I will anyway. Personally, the laziness of the people in your workshop (the comments they gave you, as described below) astounds me. I was also one to type up comments and I was always shocked when writers (1) found that surprising, like why wouldn’t you do that? and (2) got the typed comments, said how wonderful and thank you and then scribbled out a few lines on the last page of my story when it was my turn to go up. I have high expectations for people also, including other writers. Often, so very often, they let me down. I’m afraid that this is making me relieved to think that I’m done with workshops (for good?).

    Fact is, you deserve so much more than this. Reading about this makes me really pissed off.

  6. arirang: Amen! You nailed it on the head.

    Leroy: I’m going to talk to my workshop instructor and feel this out. It’s very disturbing, isn’t it.

    nova: Your empathy is just so amazing. I’m so happy this is my LAST MFA WORKSHOP! Workshops are SUCH A FLAWED construct, and this semester is living proof of that. Sadly though, it is possibly the most important workshop ever, for me–given my recovery and my writing these days.

    I will let you know how it goes.

  7. I was totally destroyed today in my MFA fiction workshop. The professor went on relentlessly for nearly and hour–and 15 minutes over class time–to disparage my work, while at the same time mentioning the five novels she’s published. The class was cold, hardly anyone spoke. I’m an older nontraditional student; don’t write like the rest of the class, feel very other. On my way out no one spoke to me or would make eye contact…so weird and chilling…and, this, a creative writing class…I felt like Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, though I’m a woman.

    This kind of moderating by a professor creates an atomosphere of hostility and humiliation. I’m stunned; ego-withered; don’t know if I can crawl back to my novel in progress. I’ve won more writing awards than anyone in my workshop and don’t think I stink that bad.

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