Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why an MFA? Sr. Catharine of Perpetual Cellphone Bills Explains It All For You.

As I get closer and closer to finishing my MFA, I have had a couple of people ask me why I bothered, since its not like you can't write without one. This is ever so true. People all over the world write beautifully without MFAs in Creative Writing. So why, indeed? Why should a writer spend over $30K to get a degree that won't necessarily make them a better writer*?

I wrote an essay over at Helium that explains my stance on this issue. Hope you enjoy it, and I hope it answers all your questions about this topic... so that I don't have to.


*For the record, I have absolutely no doubt that the MFA experience has made me a better, braver writer.


  1. Sounds reasonable to me. I am thinking about getting a degree but assuming my new one won't help in my making more $$$ -- jaded maybe. I'm thinking Sustainability Education but who knows maybe I'll never go back.

  2. Erica Jong says in her novel Fear of flying that you would be shocked to visit the places where most great art took place. She said none of the best stuff came from beautiful places or beautiful people.(not direct quotes obviously. I'm going to dig up that book find that page and DIRECTLY QUOTE IT. I can't even find my oven mitt right now and my casserole is on fire. Anyway..) They were written and composed by folks (WITHOUT ADVANCED DEGREES) in one room hovels. So if this doesn't work out for you...look for a one room hovel!

  3. THAT IS SUCH A TOTAL COINCIDENCE! I live in a one-room hovel. Okay, it's a nice little single apartment with all the amenities, but still...


  4. Catharine,
    I just came across your Helium posts, and I want to commend you again, for three that especially captured me: "The Photograph", "Parents", and the piece about parenting "unsupporting" their children. The first two are imagination delights. They finished so well, but much too soon.
    The third... well, in my experience, it aint over 'till it's over. Children, our three grown men and those of our close friends, have created lives of alternating disappointment, anxiety, exhilaration, meanness, … and joy. We hope for the best.
    Thanks again for your writing.