News | 2008 | The Play's the Thing

Well, the dust has settled from my first year of UBC's MFA program and I'm finally ready to think about what comes next. Classes are finished, all my work is handed in, people have said goodbye for the summer (or forever), and I've chosen the genre for my thesis. I met some terrific people (some who are famous, some who will be, and all who are gifted and kind and generous) and I've had a fantastic (if not ridiculously busy) time.

Tallying everything up, I've written five short stories, five poems, one novel draft, two one-act plays, and one full-length play. I've also taught a creative writing course, designed another (which I start teaching next month), wrote 134 critiques, and read 73 books (okay, a lot of that was children's literature and play scripts, but some of it was long fiction or dense non-fiction, too). I've given four readings, hosted six more, had a play produced, and am in the process of having a second play done (it opens late May). I've had two stories and one play published in that time, as well as been involved in a book launch. Whew. Okay, actually, holy crap. I never knew you could pack so much into one year (although I'm sure most of the MFA's with me had similar, if not even busier years).

I knew this year would be busy, and once I figured out how to cope with the workload, it seemed to go okay. However, I am a little surprised at where I've ended up. In the past, I've heard many writers enter the program intending to do one genre and then switch part way through, but I'd never planned on being one of them. And yet, I've become one. As of this month, I'm going to be a playwright: my graduate thesis will be a full-length original play. I've really enjoyed my stage class, the two productions this year have been awesome and encouraging, and I'm looking forward to having more work produced in the future. This isn't to say I'm giving up on the novel--I'll still work on it, maybe even write another--but there really is something to being able to see my work come to life on a stage, being able to see my audience's reaction, being able to passively receive my own story, that is just so appealing.

Back to 2008 News [...]