Saturday, June 12, 2010

Getting your MFA from the Brookline Booksmith

I'm away at school in Bennington Vermont starting my second semester of an MFA program in poetry. Needless to say, my mother is thrilled with the practicality of this life decision...but it is what it is and I'm here.

Being surrounded by writers is electrifying, terrifying and exhausting....everyone here is always "on"....and yet I love it...

It got me thinking as I read the roster of all the authors who would be coming in to read...that most of them I have already heard read, at the Booksmith. Don't get me wrong, the Smith is not an accredited higher learning institution, ...but shouldn't it be? My lord; walking the aisles everyday - talking to customers- authors- fellow booksellers has given me about %67 of what one would get from an MFA program...and so I feel silly being here...the difference is when I'm here I'm able to think about what I've read, and be accountable for my motives in what I write...

It is great that I get to hear Wells Tower read, and Amy Hempel, and Lyndall Gordon (,) Amy Gerstler, Susan Cheever, ...the list goes on and on...but I've seen most of them at the store! I'm saying this not to disparage my program, because this is the perfect place for someone to be who really wants to focus acutely and honestly on what the hell they are writing. I'm saying this because everyday that I am here, I realize what an amazing events series we have at the store. I'm not ready to pack up and climb back on the register....but I know that most of what I need to become a better writer and reader is all right there; in the place that gives me a living.

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