birthday · education · MFA · teaching · writing

The MFA Dream

As some of you know, I’ve been having a long drawn out fantasy about getting an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Sarah Lawrence College. Their writing program has famously churned out some epic writers.

The school requires two recommendations as part of its application process. Which is of course why I sent four, no? The odds seem better that way, especially when you have to send a professor a photo of you so that they can remember who you were way back when. Kidding. Apparently, I was pretty memorable to my graduate and undergraduate professors.

My favorite recommendation (and the only one I’ve read) is a recommendation from my eighth grade (you read that right) English teacher:

Mr. Miner’s Recommendation

I wrote to Mr. Miner all through high school, college, graduate school…honestly, through most of my life. When I ran away from home, I wrote him about all the horrors at home. When I kidnapped my sister, I wrote him about the anxiety of taking on more than I could handle. It was Mr. Miner who sent me checks with long letters of encouragement to ensure I made it through everything with some financial and emotional stability. He has been one of the great father figures in my life.

I became infamous in Mr. Miner’s class for writing poetry. In junior high, I had a poetry book full of joke poems and often poems dedicated to friends and eventually to some of my teachers who requested I write about them. In his apartment, he framed the poem I dedicated to him for being my favorite English teacher.

In his class, I also famously learned to write in Viking letters so I could pass notes in code. I memorized the alphabet out of my National Geographic magazine. Though I was shy, I was quite the talker with friends. I didn’t realize that unlike me some of my friends really couldn’t do two things at once. I spent class listening, drawing, writing poetry, passing notes and answering as many of Mr. Miner’s questions as I could.

Check me out at my most awkward phase at 13 at my Jurassic Park-themed birthday party, which was shared by my sisters whose birthdays fall in the same week. To this day, we still have theme parties. Last year’s was Harry Potter. At this party, my mother managed to top the cake with monstrous dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. And of course, much to my dismay, she did not forget to include Barney and a Treasure Troll.

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