All posts tagged: USMaine

Attending ICFA Three Months Before Graduation

  This weekend, I attended ICFA for the first time. So I suffer from Impostor Syndrome, and I swore all of my interactions were going to go like this: But actually, because everyone is so cool and we writers are all nerdy masochists who love our art, it ended up like this:   I got to present on a panel about Alternate History in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and it went really well. I got to talk about my thesis and talk about other people’s projects. We went to a bunch of presentations and listened to cool papers and hung out by the pool, and the best BBQ comes three hours late after long talks about injustice and mini-lessons on ASL. I got to get some great advice from some great mentors, listen to people’s new projects, and grab all of the books I could possible fit into my suitcase. Everyone is trying to figure it out, trying to fight for what they believe in, trying to reach out and share ideas and grow as …

What is a Low-Residency MFA?

Image: Siebuhr This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about since I was given the chance to contribute to this blog. Most of the narratives you hear about an MFA are narratives stemmed in full residency programs. When I was applying for schools, there were some negative comments that were spouted out about low-residencies, and I almost missed out on a great opportunity because of a culture bias I internalized. Before we begin, I want to say a couple of things. First, I am not in every low-res MFA program. I am in one. Stonecoast is my understanding of how things work. Second, I have never been in a full-res MFA program, so I cannot do a directly personal comparison of the two experiences. With that in mind, what is a low-res MFA? Residency 20 days a year. Home the other 345.  I didn’t move to another part of the country to go to my residency. I live at home in Omaha, and I commute to Maine every six months for my residency. In …

On Death and Lobsters: My First Residency

Five days before I left for residency, my friend died. We knew they were sick. But we didn’t know they were going to die. Only a week before they died, I sat online with them and talked about the different proposals we’d give our partners when we were ready and healthy and rich. We talked about our old freshman roommates back when we met in the weird, siphoned-off dormitory that we deemed “Fortress of Solitude.” We’d forgotten the names of people who used to make our lives hell. We only recalled snippets of that former life; a poster of all the Pink Floyd albums on girls’ backs (you know the one), the old Atari that was like a holy shrine to any college dorm, the awkward movie nights I put on in my gigantic apartment down the hall, and the girl who lived between us who lit up everyone’s world and then, upon graduation, disappeared into the hinterlands of another time zone and patch of dreams.

J.R. Dawson Introduction (Stonecoast ’16)

I didn’t go to my senior prom. Instead, I went to the after-party at the local YMCA. Somehow around three in the morning, I got wrangled into having a session with the tarot card reader the school had brought in for entertainment purposes (right between the hypnotist and the raffle drawing for QT gas cards). The guy was nice enough; he had a big beard and some weird little top hat. He said I reminded him of his daughter. I said he didn’t remind me of my father. And then he pulled the cards.