I just finished participating and teaching in the very first residency for the Regis University Mile High MFA in Creative Writing. It was AMAZING and here’s why.The students had morning workshops and then in the afternoon there were craft sessions, social hour, dinner and readings in the evening. I was blown away by the caliber of the faculty and the quality of the readings. Much of it was so different from my children’s/YA world and I loved immersing myself in poetry, creative nonfiction, and essay. I’d been toying with exploring other ways of writing and felt encouraged and lifted up by what I experienced.

The Students Rock

I also adored the students I worked with in my own workshops. Talk about talent. These people can WRITE. It was a joy and pleasure to read such high quality work and I can’t wait to read more, help guide them and also learn from them.

The Faculty Rock

I loved learning new strategies from the craft seminars I attended–strategies I immediately put to use in my own work-in-progress and can’t wait to share with students in workshops and classes I am teaching.

The Highlights Rock

From author and faculty member Kathy Winograd:

“I don’t need to be in total control of my material.”

I continue to fight the urge to edit as I go and love the idea of letting things unfold so I can be surprised.

“Language has plasticity.
When words or phrases bump up against each other, they may change meaning.”

This ties into the first quote about letting go, but takes it a step further. Playing with language, putting phrases and sentences together randomly, can shift things. Our brains want to make sense of things so we make connections and create meaning from sometimes disparate concepts. It’s fantastic!

From author and faculty member Jenny Shank:

“Flashbacks should answer whatever question is being asked in the scene.
What question is the flashback answering? Does the preceding scene ask that question?”

I have a lot of flashbacks in my w-i-p and this was really eye-opening. I’m not using my flashbacks to their full potential so I’m going to review each of them and see if they answer a questions. I’m also going to see if they are well-placed so they occur at a high point of tension in a the present.

I’ll stop there for now, but I am so fired up about the program, the writers, and my own work. Woohoo!