MFA Update: Prepping For Residency & Next Term

white classic mg car

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I have two more stories to read and critique before heading up to residency on Sunday. I’m really enjoying the process of critiquing, as I usually do. I had hoped to have finished by now, but I built some cushion into my self-imposed deadline because I knew that with my second semester ending, I might also want to take things easy a little.

So I’ve done a little of both, but I’m on target to finish before leaving, which is great. I’ve known some who can critique the night before someone is workshopped, and while I imagine that keeps the story and one’s reactions fresh in the mind, it would be too tight of a deadline for me. I like to arrive with the work completed.

I’ve also spent some time in the last week thinking about what books I want to read next semester. As I understand it, while I won’t be required to write craft essays for each book (instead I’ll be writing a 10-15-page close reading essay), I am still expected to discuss readings with my mentor. I’m not sure if my mentor will want to come up with a list, but I’ve always tried to go into each semester with suggestions of books that it might help to read.

This semester, my list is split 50/50 between works by First Nations authors and works that take place in or near the time period of my novel–the 17th century. Some of my books in the latter section take place in the 16th century, but they’ve been recommended to me by others in my MFA program so I figure it’s close enough. Next semester, you’ll be able to keep up with me and my reading list on McNellisReads.

My other residency prep includes packing, which was less of a chore this time around. I can bring more clothes to summer residency because tee shirts don’t take up as much room as sweaters…so there’s no need to have to make choices now as to what I will bring. Since it’s too early to tell what the weather will be for the whole week, I definitely like packing for summer residency more.

Halfway through my MFA program, all I can say is I’ve so far learned a lot, met amazing writers, and I’m looking forward to this next semester.

OMG This Video Describes Some of My Greatest Joys…You too?

WattPad and FanStory

I’m new to using both of these sites that I’ve been meaning to use for a really long time. What can I say? Other things had to happen first. But I want to share with you that I’m now active on both.



This is where I’ll post serial fiction. Right now, I’m working on Pathogen, a story I’ve been meaning to write and share for a long time. While my main fiction focus is on historical literary works, what I post on WattPad will be just for fun, for us to enjoy together. Because of that, I’m sorry to say–I’ll only be posting about 1,000 words or so each month.

Even with that pace, we can unfold stories there together, writer and readers. I just published this month’s section, which I originally wrote years ago as part of my MA program–but I wanted to give it a once over before publishing it and now I finally had the opportunity. Look for the story to continue next month!

Start reading Pathogen today.


This is where I’ll post short fiction and poetry. My main goal here, in addition to connecting with other writers, is to participate in contests. I started posting yesterday, and FanStory only allows me to post two things each day, so there are only four right now. But here’s what you can read if you head over there today:

  • “Dept. of Reformation,” a pastiche of Jenny Offil’s book, Dept. of Speculation
  • “The Coach,” a short story told only in dialogue, no dialogue tags or quotation marks.
  • “In Memoriam J.G.M.,” a pastiche of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “In Memoriam A.H.H.”
  • “Land of the Gods,” a poem I wrote after the earthquake, tidal wave, and nuclear meltdown in Japan

Update: After a few days of use, I’ve decided not to participate on FanStory. I’ve removed the above listed posts and I will share them here next week, along with others I’d posted to that site. 


I welcome feedback on both of these sites, so if you’re a member, please feel free to share your thoughts on these and any other pieces I share. Happy reading!