Wednesday, May 5, 2010

it feels like changing fortune

Jesus H., do NOT drink more than the recommended amounts of Spike. I think my heart is going to explode. Normally caffeine is one of the only things I can metabolize quickly, but this stuff is rocket fuel. I feel like Rick James on an off day.

Anyway, I went to a JHU undergrad reading last Friday, and came away from it thanking the Fates that I picked UB for grad school. Not that these kids were bad writers - I recorded one of them for my podcast, actually - but they were unbearably smug writers and it got in their way. It's hard to explain without sounding like a dick, but one guy had a compare-sex-to-literature theme that he beat into the ground for two pages longer than he needed to because he came off as very proud of himself for thinking of it. Nearly all the readers had some form of hamfisted sexual allegory in their work, come to think of it, and while I'm not a prude, sexual content needs to be handled carefully or else it sounds like the narrator is giggling in the back of homeroom.

I've heard that their graduate writing program isn't as impressed with itself, which is good, but UB has a much stronger, varied crew of writers, and I think we read better stuff. That International Fiction class I took, for example, isn't something JHU puts much emphasis on, and our fiction classes in general offer a better spread than theirs. My own writing is leaps and bounds over what it used to be, and what I've been assigned/encouraged to read is a big part of that.

Speaking of my own writing, back to the final. I'll let you all know if I survive this.

1 comment:

  1. (Sorry, before I started typing my comment I wanted to be sure I could actually post it, unlike every other time I've tried & wasn't allowed.)
    I took a non-credit fiction workshop at JHU during my, er, off-semester a couple years ago. Loved it. It was taught by Madeleine Mysko (who is quite awesome) and during a convo at the end of the semester she told me that, overall, UB has a certain something that JHU doesn't when it comes to creative writing. Her remark basically hits on a point you make here. And she works at JHU. :-)