Tag Archives: thesis

Life after the MFA

5 Jun

As thesis submission deadline approached, people began asking me what I was planning on doing after graduation.  Then they’d stop themselves, afraid they may have asked too painful of a question.  But it’s not!

In one of my last posts, I left off telling you about grabbing a cup of tea after turning my theses in.  What I didn’t tell you was that on my walk back to my office, while sipping that delicious tea, I made a phone call to biographer Paul Maher Jr.  Paul’s books are some of the most well respected in his categories, and they’ve been translated and sold around the globe.

Inspired by Laura Vanderkam’s List of 100 Dreams, I created my own a while back.  Become a scholar on the Beat Generation was on my list.  I’ve been studying the writers generally categorized as Beat for more than a decade now.  I did my MFA at The New School, where Jack Kerouac took writing classes, and where I connected with writers who had known Jack Kerouac.

Now, my dream of becoming a Beat scholar is being realized.  Paul and I are working on a book that tells the true story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.  The phone call to him on Monday was to discuss cover ideas.

I don’t have a big life-altering answer to the question of what I’m doing after the MFA.  Paul and I have been working on this book for a while now, and since I won’t be simultaneously working on a thesis anymore I’ll simply be refocusing my creative energies into the book.  It helps that I didn’t enter the program straight out of undergrad.  I’d already been working in book publishing, a career many of my classmates are hoping to enter, and so graduation isn’t a big scary unknown for me.  I’ll be continuing in my editorial role.  For me, life after the MFA is about continuing to follow my passions while also seizing new opportunities.

I’m extremely excited to say that my post-MFA plan is to co-author a book on Jack Kerouac.

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The Story of Turning My Thesis In

29 May

You already saw the picture from my reading, but here’s the story of completing my theses.  Oh and what an adventure it was.

One of my best friends was getting married on the Sunday before my thesis was due (why don’t people plan their lives around my writing schedule?!) so I had to put the finishing touches on it, print it out, and get it professionally bound that Saturday.  Well, let me tell you, finding a company that does vello binding is not as easy as it sounds even in New York City, where most things are at your fingertips.  I was rushing around New York, being turned down by one place after the next.  Finally, I found a FedEx in Chelsea that could do it, but they were so packed that they told me to drop off the manuscript and then they’d call me back once it had been printed on high-quality paper and bound.  I don’t live in that area so of course that meant lots of time traveling back and forth on the subway.  But the guy who helped me had the name of one of literature’s most fascinating characters and was so helpful, giving me special coupons for when the time comes to mail my manuscript off to publishers.

It felt kind of anticlimactic turning my thesis in on Monday.  I ran down to the Writing Program’s office on my lunch break and thought the office would be abuzz with friends from my workshops.  I only ran into one other person turning her thesis in at the same time as me.  I was in and out pretty quickly, after indulging in a piece of delicious chocolate from the office’s basket as my reward.

Since I was in the area I decided to go to Argo Tea.  One of the women from the writing program introduced the Chicago-founded company to me, and I’m officially obsessed with their Red Velvet Tea.  It is insane how delicious that tea is.

That evening I saw a bunch of writers from my graduating class post that they had submitted their theses.  It’s so exciting!  There were so many great writers in the program, and I can’t wait to see their theses turned into books.