Here is one of the reasons I really dislike the administration of the MFA program I graduated from: Graduating students aren't allowed to workshop. Now there was a "master" class workshop, but I doubt it would do a genre writer or a creative non-fiction writer much good since it is focused on literary fiction. I've done my share of workshopping genre stuff in lit fic workshops - not pretty. There was also a master class for poetry, but then again, the program is pretty poetry centric. (They just hired yet another poetry faculty member - soon they can get rid of all the fiction instructors) So, one solution of grads getting what they need would be to place popular fiction and creative non-fiction students in with (duh!) regular workshops within their genres. While that seems like a no-brainer to you and me, the administration thinks this would be too hard on us. The legitimate reason given in the student handbook is that graduating students are too busy during their last residency to do anything. OK, I had my reading (twenty minutes) and my seminar (an hour) and graduation rehearsal (45 minutes). That's just over two hours worth of stuff to do in ten days time. Averaged out, that's twelve and a half minutes of each day. I don't know about the other graduates, but I really needed that 23 hours and 47 minutes of rest each day. Thank you MFA admin for thinking of us.
OK, so what did I do with my time. Slept. Drank. Hung out with friends. Ate. Showered. Urinated a time or two. Saw Superman Returns. Went to readings. Went to seminars. Read. Went on a day trip to Cape Elizabeth. Watched Season 1 of Rescue Me on DVD. Wished I was home.
OK, so I didn't drink everyday of the residency - maybe three or four...and not until after noon. We're writers, what do you expect? For the talent show, which is held every residency, we got a keg - and we drained it in just over two hours! Not too shabby. One of the prouder moments of the residency.
One of the best time wasters was the brainstorming session with a couple of friends about starting our own writing conference. Well, let's hope that really wasn't a waste of time.