Some of you know that I’ve been accepted into Seattle Pacific University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. I have been accepted in the “Creative Nonfiction” genre, which means I will be writing memoir and essays.
This writing program is four years old (I heard about it in its planning stages and have been waiting to apply) and is the only one in the country that includes a foundation in Christian spirituality and literature.
SPU’s website says, “What distinguishes our program from other MFA programs, then, is its focus on the relationship between literature and faith, its integration of the spiritual disciplines, and the reading of literary classics of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the curriculum.” You can read more about their philosophy.
The program is low-residency; most of my work will be through correspondence with a professor who is an accomplished writer in the field. Twice a year, I will travel to a ten-day residency where I will take intensive classes with everyone else in the program. It is small and highly selective, so I’ve been told being chosen is a testament to my writing ability. I begin with a 10- day residency in Santa Fe, New Mexico this summer at St. John’s College. Seattle Pacific is the home of Image Journal, which sponsors the annual Glen Workshop at St. John’s. Those of us in the MFA program will have the opportunity to take advantage of the wide array of Christian writers, musicians and visual artists who will be at The Glen.
Our winter residencies will be on Whidbey Island, so I’ll enjoy some lovely scenery but never actually set foot on campus! If I stay on track, I will graduate in the summer of 2010 and will have written a book length work, as well as having commented on sixty books by others––I think “annotated” is the term, and I have no idea what that means, so I better learn fast! My exposure to literature in college was narrow and specialized (i.e. books about the Viet Nam War and Feminist movement), and I’m ready to explore The Canon. My first reading assignment includes Confessions by St. Augustine, and Dante’s Divine Comedy.
I know that God continues to call me to use my gift of writing in the world. I spent last fall discerning whether this was the time in my life to say “Yes” to God once again and begin such a big undertaking––20 to 30 hours of work each week. With my “baby” heading out-of-state to college, my husband traveling internationally frequently, stable clergy leadership to assist me in ministry, and a growing number of leaders in my congregation, I felt that it was. I figured if I didn’t get accepted, then God would let me know I should wait. The opposite happened. I received amazing letters of recommendation, wonderful critique of my writing sample from my writer’s group, encouragement from my family, spiritual direction group and prayer partner.
Now all I have to do is the work!