Applying for the MFA Program

“I have had a climbing blog for four years, now, and make daily entries with an average word count of 450 words.  I have wanted to write something more, though.  I love to write.  I know I can write grammatically correct sentences using fancy words that hardly anyone in the world can spell because I have always loved language that way, but I was not sure that I had a story in me until about a year and a half ago.  My doctor recommended that I read something — anything — by Neil Gaiman.  Neil Gaiman’s ideas and plot twists were phenomenal, and his writing in the first novel of his that I ever picked up set my imagination afire with detailed images of assassins that I loved to hate and the feeling in my gut that the damsel that the hero of the novel was helping was being duped by an evil force because nothing was quite as it seemed.  The book that I chose to read was Neverwhere.  The characters became real in a fashion that was realistic, meaning that you got to know them little by little, as you do in a relationship.  The dialogue revealed as much of the plot and character as the narrative descriptions themselves did, which I was impressed with.  I had actual feelings for and about all of the characters in Gaiman’s London Below.  He made the assassins easy to loathe and despise, and the heroes easy to be worried about and root for, even being saddened to tears when one would die.  Even minor characters became real entities that evoked real emotions.  I have plodded through many books as an avid reader, but very few do that to me.  After reading a few more of Gaiman’s books, including all of his collections of short stories, I signed up for his Master Class online.

The moment that I listened to Neil Gaiman teach about storytelling in his Master Class online, I knew I could write fiction.  I was so excited to hear this master of psychological twists and turns explain in plain detail his methods and say that he had a “compost heap” of ideas written down.  He broke everything down into things that I could do.  I began writing short stories, as my doctor had recommended, and I realized that I yearn for formal training in this discipline.”

That was my 400-word Statement of Purpose that I had to pare down to 300 words or less.  It was easy to do.  There is a lot of extraneous stuff in that, but it was a first attempt.  I revised it until it said what I wanted it to say and came across how I wanted it to sound.  Hopefully, the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Admissions person or persons will like both my revised statement and my creative writing sample.  If not, then I have already communicated with my academic advisor about staying in the Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing Program, which will give me some experience and time to prove both my online class skills and my ability to take on a challenge.  An MFA is a terminal degree, meaning there is no further or better certification to be earned in that track.  There are two tracks available for the MFA at SNHU.  One is that of a professional writer.  The other is that of online writing instructor.  I am not sure which appeals to me more right now.  I do know, though, that looking at the MFA course list made me drool.  The MFA is more along the lines of what I want to study, but I may have to start in the MA program to get there.  That is okay with me.  I am doing this as much for structure in my life as I am to accomplish a goal.  What is my goal?  I want to learn to write better so that I can do more with it.  I want to reach the masses with something and better the world.  I want to be a part of something larger than myself, and writing and communication are ways to do that.  I do love to write.  I like writing almost as much as I like climbing.

I should find out shortly if I have been accepted to the MFA program of study.  In the meantime, I will do what I do — attempt to climb if I feel well enough, write at least 1000 words per day as instructed by my doctor, work on my short stories, read my Scriptures, and so on.  I am not going to worry about whether or not I get into this program or not.  I have more chances in the future if I do not get in right away.  I will deal with what comes along and keep striving to do my best.  I have had PTSD take way too much from me.  The Doc had it right when he said to me, “Fear-based mental disorders keep taking and taking.  And when you give them what they want, they say, ‘Thank you.  I want more.’  So, you have to take it back.  You have to keep taking it back.  Don’t let them have it.”  Easier said than done, but it is the truth.  The Doc was spot on when he said that.  If you are struggling with your demons, do not let them win.  Keep fighting.  It will get better.

Well, the climbing report for today is that I did not go climbing.  I was tired all day today and not feeling well.  I was also not so confident about going out today because the weather was supposed to turn bad.  The weather did turn bad, but not until evening.  I could have gone climbing, but it was more important to get some other things, like these things for the MFA program application, finished and submitted.  Editing took more time than I had anticipated it would, but it always does.  Hopefully I wrote down the right words!

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