The Legendary Iowa Writers' Workshop

Rad note » this entry originated from another page. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate page, which also lets me reference more easily the concept under discussion here.

At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I have included a link that will return you to the exact place from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...

» The Legendary Iowa Writers' Workshop

Speaking of taking things to the next level .. Michelle went to the legendary Iowa Writers' Workshop .. probably the best school of its kind.

Myself, I applied the MFA program at UCI (Irvine). They took my $200 and wouldnt even kiss me. So I figured that particular path was not my path.

This basically forces you into a form of self-study and experimentation .. because we all must be students of what we do, right?

But this must be very different from what the students as Iowa experience, no?

Rad note » the subject under discussion here [ » the Iowa Writers' Workshop ] has drifted far enough that I decided to lift and move this section to its own separate page .. see here » The Legendary Iowa Writers' Workshop.

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••• today's entry continues here below •••

I heard acceptance rates at these elite Writing programs is down around 3% .. or 6 selecties out of 200 applicants every semester, twice a year. I am not sure, but I think that these rates are close to what you find at schools like Harvard Law and the graduate program at USC Film School.

Do I feel a twinge of jealosy toward people who get accepted into these ultra-selective Writing programs? Maybe I do.

Every time that I see that a certain writer is from one of these schools, I read the piece a little more closely. I pay closer attention to what they are doing and how the are doing it.

And I will tell you that I am always impressed. No shit. "Wow, that's good," says my most discriminating critic.

Which sorta surprises me .. because writing seems such a personal thing. I mean, everybody has a different taste.

But if I am an admirer of their work, what does that say about their mass marketabily? (A writer has to eat.)

At the other end of the Iowa Writers' school, there exists, I would imagine, a network of support to help you get published and accepted and to bring you to the attention of readers.

"Oh, I see you went to the Iowa Writers' Workshop. You must kick much ass. Please, come on in. Let's chat about what you've been working on. Or would you rather talk about it over sushi?"

[Of myself, my inner critic says » "This fucker thinks he is Montainge with a hyperlink."]

I do not go out of my way to read them, but when I see such a note in their credentials, I look more closely at what they have writeen.

When I read something that really makes my socks run up and down my legs .. I usually look up the author see who they are.

At such schools, I would imagine that .. reading plays a bigger part of the experience .. that the self-study student.

For the self-study stud, finding people to read your shit and give you honest feedback .. has the potential to immerse the writer into strange situations .. and is a problem not encountered by the student at Iowa.

I mean, I am not sure, but I am guessing that they write and then they exchange work and provide feedback.

Anyway, I got off on a tangent there and will have to lift out this section on the Iowa Writers' Workshop and transfer it to its own page.

But I just want to say that *who* the writer is .. is very important .. compared to their particular configuration of artistic techniques.

The list of unique experiences that follow you thru life .. these are what make the writer a writer, no? Sure, he must learn the craft, but anybody with determination can do that.

These are insights I got while reading James Joyce, an Irish boy.

Another interesting variable in writing is that of the role played by » the muse. But now is not the time to go there. <tease>

What I do know about writing .. and I have done what I would call considerable research .. is this » the writer must continually grow, expand, develop, push the envelope .. to boldly go where they and only they can go.

Well .. not continually. But periodically. Growth spurts.

He must periodically challenge himself to exceed his previous achievements and set new personal bests.

I mean, these are the things that pretty much everybody applies to their particular craft or profession or art.

Before I exit this section about the Iowa Writers' Workshot .. I should mention that I notice how many writers die at age 59 or 60. Sure, some live on into old age .. but they are the exception.

Anyway, that is why I went back and added the link and the reference to Michelle's quote back in the page I wrote last year. Because I feel like it enhances the weight of my document.

Make an improvement here .. add a clarification there .. a more representative graphic, perhaps .. and next thing you know your document takes on a more meaningful quality.

So yes, articles or personal experiences that can confirm or corroborate my arguments .. these go to the front of the line.

I can even, when my digressions grow too large for the initial entry, I can lift-n-move it out .. to its own separate entry. Guerilla writing tactics.

(More such tactics from from Mao. From Ernesto himself. From Martino. Do you see anything there that can be applied to writing?)

» Always Pushing the Artistic Envelope | Eliminating Limitations

Whatever is necessary to push the envelope. Eliminate conventional barriers (.. and therefore their implied limitations) wherever you find them.

David by Michelangelo (1501-1504) in Florence, ItalyOnce I even got out an entry out of another entry that came out of a third entry. So I am not too terribly concerned about topic drift .. like I used to be.

Tho lifting-n-moving part of one entry to become its own page does take some focused effort .. beyond clicking a button or two. Well beyond.

The most-ever child entries came from this momma entry. And no doubt I could mine some more.

If I want to be able to refer to something in the future, I will usually pull it out. If not, I can always link to the in-page anchor.

When I look back over some older entries, I often see great examples of pages where I could lift-n-extract some great-sounding titles. And it is often during these times where I let my inner exploring writer go exploring.

Especially if the side excursion represents a place I have never been before. And especially if it represents a place of controvery. Or of danger. Or of passion. Or may be provocative. Or even scandalous.

But I simply do not have time right now to extract all these new pages with interesting and unconventional sounding titles.

You think that I've lost my train of thought, again .. probably due to the chemo. But I havent. Rather let's return to the reasons why I feel the way I do about Dostoevsky, which might seem to differ from those of Hemingway.

Before prison (1840's), Dostoevsky was espousing many of the same ideas espoused by other Russian thinkers of his day. But AFTER Siberia (1860's & beyond) he came back » thinking for himself.

Blowing people away with his ideas. He would think nothing of going after the entire Russian intelligensia of the day and illustrating why they were all full of krap.

What balls. What cojones. What low-hanging cojones. This man's balls are so big that he needs a wheelbarrow to get around. No fear. No intellectual intimidation. Because he has already stared into the abyss.

Boy, could I really get carried away here. Easily. I certainly feel the slipperiness of the slope.

» The end. ■

You can return to the exact spot from where this entry originated .. see » here.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rad published on March 13, 2015 3:13 AM.

Michelle's Eyebrow-Raising Confession was the previous entry in this blog.

Russian Greats Weave the Eternal Golden Thread of Scripture Thru Their Timeless Novels is the next entry in this blog.

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