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And We're Waiting Again ...

I had my interview for one of the MA programs today. I think it went well. But you never know, do you?

On the plus side, the head of the program said she really liked the story I used for my writing sample. It's one that's not made the e-rounds as it's being shopping it out. She told me it was "eminently publishable" and reckons that will happen soon. Sweet.

Not to jinx things, but I submitted that same piece to a speculative fiction e-zine several weeks ago. According to statistics on Duotrope Digest it ranks among the Top 25 Most Challenging Short Fiction Markets. I'm now beyond the average wait time for rejection, and inching towards the average wait time for an acceptance. Either way I'm giddy because it will either be my first paid submission or my first official rejection.

On the negative side, ...

... it took her a while to realize we'd already talked, one-on-one, for about ninety minutes a few months ago. I gently reminded her and she came around after about five minutes.

On the it-could-go-either-way side, we had a fairly short (30 mins) talk in which she expressed concern about my commitment/ability to do something as long as a novel (but I seem to recall that was one of her standard concerns for short-story writers in general). We talked about process. We talked about some longer pieces I've done for NaNo. We talked about a storyline for the character I worked on at Arvon and she seemed to think I had some good ideas. Or maybe she was just nodding while taking notes saying "get this boy out of here."

She also asked me what I thought about the pros and cons of writing workshops. I said I really liked the interaction and the bouncing of ideas off of people you've grown to trust. Fresh eyes can give perspective to your work and can open up questions that the writer might have thought he'd already answered in the text. I think I scored points with that.

Then I got cocky and said what I don't like is when workshop leaders drone on and on about their way being the best way, or saying there are black and white rules for creating fiction (or any art). "If they're that good at what they do, then why are they running workshops and not publishing," I said. "Oh, did that sound bitchy?"

She laughed and said "no, that kind of nails it on the head." She believes there are no formulas to success, but lots of students seem to want a list of rules. Fortunately, she has been published has only been doing this program for a few years. She also works at the BBC (for a department that helps create materials I use a lot in my ESL work ... so that was a nice little sideline conversation as well).

So, long story longer, today was her last day of interviews and she's handing her list of candidates for the Fall 2008 program to the secretary tomorrow. I should know next week. I feel good about it, but I'm not entirely confident.

I do know that I really want in, and am even excited at the prospect of having to read/critique of 15-20 novels during the first two 10-week terms of the course, along with weekly creative assignments and beginning work on the book. That's like a novel a week. I'll never get through all of Shameless and Buffy at that rate.

That said, I'll have to begin reading a bit more carefully. I was half-way through the first story in Miranda July's "No one belongs here more than you" this afternoon before I realized it was called "The Shared Patio". I had initially read it as "The Shared Potato", which I expect would have been a different story altogether.

The story, by the way, is absolutely lovely. I'm looking forward to the rest of the collection. Almost as much as I'm looking forward to the postman's visit next week.