Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Link Corral: Life as a Converse Student; Finding Time for Creative Work; New Story on Redux

While I’ve written about life at the Converse College Low-Res MFA program, of course my perspective is not that of a student.  So it was nice to read Rhonda Browning White’s take on the program…glad to hear we’re getting it right!

“I had no idea what to expect when I arrived on the idyllic campus of Converse College for my first semester in their MFA in Creative Writing Program. I was nervous about meeting my dorm-mate (Me? Staying in a dorm? With a total stranger? At my age?), who turned out to be a spectacular poet, mother and now my sweet friend. I wondered if I’d be accepted among a group of sixty students, forty-five of whom already had a history together, or if the professors and visiting authors would look down from their lofty positions as they berate my writing. After all, these people were real writers—authors whose names I recognized, whose novels and poetry collections sit on my bookshelves even now.

“I needn’t have worried.”


And speaking of Converse, thanks to Converse student Cheryl Russell for an interesting post by Cal Newport about how to find ways to get your creative work done in a busy, modern life: 

“I identified two justifications for the importance of long stretches of uninterrupted work:

  • Shifting Mental Modes: When the mind knows it has no interruptions looming, it can shift into the flow state required to produce high-quality output.
  • Providing Freedom to Explore: Real creative work is non-linear, often requiring long, unexpected detours to uncover the contours of the problem at hand. Long stretches of time provide the freedom needed to feel comfortable indulging in these detours.
"As mentioned, the problem faced by to-do list creatives is that we cannot afford to integrate Graham's long stretches of uninterrupted work into our schedules. (Though we might want to dedicate a full day to one project, our bosses might disagree.) With this in mind, the GCTD [Getting Creative Things Done] system attempts to replicate the two benefits of uninterrupted work, as described above, in a more realistic, logistics-respecting workday structure.”


Check out the new story up on Redux, “Little Sinners” by Thomas E. Kennedy:

“My ninth summer, in 1952, I ran with a kid named Billy Reichert, a classmate from The Christian Brothers Boys School. We were thieves. We used foul language. We smoked Lucky Strike cigarettes purchased with stolen quarters. We pored over the dirty pictures on a pack of Tijuana playing cards Billy had secreted in his basement. It was a lovely summer.”


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.