Bowling Green Bound

Posted on 17 May 2013

…not for the Bowling Green subway station in New York City, as this photo I took back in March would have you believe, but Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Starting this fall, I’ll be a student and graduate teaching assistant in BGSU’s MFA program.

That means I’m leaving my editorial position here in Cleveland to spend two years writing whatever I’d like, gaining teaching experience, editing the Mid-American Review, reading, and then writing some more.

This was a huge decision for me. I’m going to miss many of my coworkers and the work I do now as an editor, but I’m also astounded at the mere thought of how much time I’ll have to write while in this program. I have never before put my own writing first…until now.

In recent years I’ve struggled with whether or not I wanted to pursue an MFA. In 2010, I wrote on this very blog: “I would like an MFA because I’d love to spend an intense period of time working on my writing. I want to be funded to write. I want to learn from established writers. I want to meet other writers like me. Even more, I want to meet writers totally unlike me.” All of that still stands. I considered low-residency programs but knew that a fully funded program, like Bowling Green’s, would be the best option for me. The fact that Bowling Green is close enough to allow me to easily keep Cleveland as a home base certainly helped make this possible.

I’m sure I’ll be posting much more about this change in the coming months. I’m also looking forward to sharing my first-ever experiences as a teacher, a slush-pile reader, and of course a full-time writer. But for now, I think it’s enough to say that I’ve set myself up to be able to work as hard as I possibly can. And that, I can already tell, is priceless.


23 responses to Bowling Green Bound

  • margosita says:

    Oh, yay, Laura! This is so exciting for you. I’m sure you’ll do great writing and work hard and I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • Teri says:

    Well this is just beyond exciting. I mean, time to write. Just write! And gain some teaching experience. And meet other writers and mentors and get a fresh look at the world. Congratulations Laura!!

    • Thank you! You’re so right about the fresh perspective. I’m happy where I am now, but after a certain point I think change is important. I’m a little nervous about all this, but I actually take that as a good sign.

  • deb says:

    Congratulations, Laura! I admire the fact that you decided you want something and you’re going for it. Can’t wait to read the fruits of your decision!

  • Sarah W says:

    That’s awesome, Laura! Congratulations!

  • Averil says:

    Oh, Laura. You always make the right decisions for yourself and your writing, and I am very sure this gift of time is something you’ll never regret. I hope the next two years are everything you’ve dreamed of and much more.

    Congratulations!

    • For a time I worried that I’d end up regretting leaving my job and doing this, but really, the fact that I’m going for it is something I think I should never regret. It’s not that I expect any huge tangible result after the MFA — beyond going deeper than ever with my writing, of course, which is really all that matters.

  • So excited for you–and for me, too! When you’re tired of talking about writing in your classes, you can come talk about it with me! I’m envisioning lots of Bloody Marys and beers, and you can teach me your best mime moves…

    • This is going to be so fun. And if you still have a few slots open on your 52/52 list, I bet we could come up with something you could do on campus. I’m thinking beer bongs and keg stands? I can already hear the undergrads chanting your name.

  • Downith says:

    Laura, I’m thrilled for you! I know this will be such a good move for you. Enjoy enjoy enjoy.

  • Paul Lamb says:

    Laura, I think this is fantastic, and I’m really, really glad that you’re chasing your ambition. Not sure it would be the right choice for me at this stage of my life, but it sure seems the right choice for you. Expecting great things!

  • Lyra says:

    Oh, Laura! You’re doing it and I am so happy for you. You are going to live the life I’ve always dreamed (provided they are giving you enough money for a good cup of coffee or tea in your case. A girl has to have limits.) a place in academia surrounded by people talking about books and writing and walks to class and a library right there…it is all yours for the taking.
    Love.

    • Thanks! And yes, I managed to work everything out so that this is the perfect time for me to take two years to focus fully on writing. I have no idea what will happen when those two years are up, but I’m pleasantly surprised to feel excited about that rather than anxious (my usual go-to reaction to change).

  • Erika D. says:

    Huge congratulations, Laura!

  • Catherine says:

    This sounds brilliant! I’m sure another book will come out of this.

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