From the One comes Two
From the Two comes Three
From the Three comes
The Ten-thousand things.
--Lao Tzu

First, welcome to you all.  Okay, enough fuzzy stuff.

ere's the plan.  This class will take as its cue your questions, concerns, nightmares, joys, rumors, and anything else about being a writer who has graduated with an MFA degree.  As such, there is no ready syllabus or plan for this class, not at first.  Certainly I have some ideas of what I think you should know and what you should do, but I've left extensive room in this course for each of you and your own sensibilities regarding the future, and more particularly, regarding your future.  Together we'll try to answer every question we can, prepare you every way you ought to be prepared, and generally educate you for travel in whichever direction you choose--or which chooses you.

During the semester we will do many things, and you will be responsible for your share.  Everyone will choose or have assigned an area of responsibility, which we'll determine in class. Your responsibility will essentially include researching at least one aspect of professionalism in the field, and then sharing this information with others as part of a larger book and website on the writing universe that the class will create for itself and for other alumni.  Genres of writing will be covered according to student interest.

The class will begin a process that will further the development of the "ASU Creative Writing Model" for vitae, resumes, short bios, and so on.  Simply learning how to write an extraordinary vita has, of course, immediate value.  For example, a writer's vita is different from a scholar's, yet there are no current, viable sources for how to prepare one or particular rules for how to read one.  We'll possibly be posting the best of what we learn onto the new Creative Writing website, but we'll talk in detail about the various ethics and questions involved before we do so.

This course, in sum, will cover issues relevant to working writers' lives, from the starkly practical to the arcanely elegant.  Intended specifically for MFA students expecting to graduate from the ASU Creative Writing Program, this course will be a pragmatic primer on the writer's lot in the world--and how to make it immediately better.

"There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read."
--G.K. Chesterton

e might note the recent passing of several writers whose works have been important to our inner lives.  June Jordan (2002), Steven Ambrose (2002), Stephen Jay Gould (2002), Camilo Jos Cela (2002), R.V. Cassill (2002), Mildred Wirt Benson, a.k.a. Carolyn Keene (2002), Kenneth Koch (2002), Chaim Potok (2002), Harriet Doerr (2002), Louis Owens (2002), Dee Brown (2002).  You can find some more information here.  We might also look to the grand mania of beginning and defining the new century we find ourselves in, like it or not.  "2003"--what does that mean?
Please see me if you have any questions.  Our job, out of all of this, will be simple.  Our plan will be to pack a good lunch for the trail ahead.  This will be a wonderful class.   ###

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Date last modified:
Monday, April 28, 2003
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