Monthly Archives: June 2010

GRE test scores

I took the test last year and I don’t have to take it again this year (yay!). But I will have to pay to send these scores to the schools that want “official” test scores which will be annoying.

I have to sit down and figure that out. Hopefully only a few schools will require them. The application is all about my work anyway; screw the scores!

But alas, I will, as anyone applying to an MFA program, have to go through this process. The upside? Not studying for the GRE this fall! Yes!

Second Time’s a Charm?

I have been talking to folks about the MFA program and I’m feeling indifferent about applying this year. I’m not completely enrolled in researching, finding recommendations, and writing personal statements. I’m a whole lot lazier about it this time around. Is something wrong with me? I wanted this…right? I know I don’t need an MFA to be labeled a “writer” because guess what? I already am one. But I need to think about this and be honest with myself. Why do I want this degree? And if I get rejected a second time around, will I apply again? I don’t know.

I have been blogging more than writing, which is good, however I’m not creating new material. The good news is me signing up for the FDAC class that starts in two weeks. I’m excited about that. I’m just not creating is all.

After listening to Zandile speak about writers having to market and brand themselves, I was exhausted just thinking about it! That’s a lot of work! But am I passionate about writing? I am. I truly am. I’m also passionate with everyone in the blogosphere which is why I like to share with folks my experience attending panels and talks involving writing.

I have to suck it up and do the work because no one is going to do it for me. Write on!

The Lacuna

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Published by: HarperCollins Books (2009)

Harrison W. Shepherd is a half-breed of American (gringo) and Mexican. His mother left his American father in the 1920’s and moved to Mexico where they lived with one of her rich suitors. Soon after they left and lived with “Mr. Produce the Cash” as Harrison called him. Somewhere along the way, he meets Frida Kahlo, works for Diego Rivera, and Leon Trotsky where he is embroiled in their Communist Revolution involuntarily, working as their secretary and cook. Continue reading

Open House at FDAC

Saturday evening, I attended the open house at the Frederick Douglass Arts Center on west 96th street (around the corner from Symphony Space).

Because of the World Cup, the crowd was very small and intimate.

When I walked into the communal space of Frederick Douglass Arts Center, I was welcomed by Laura Pegram’s warm smile, who is a workshop instructor for Short Story . I signed up for the two week Short Story Fiction workshop and had a lovely conversation about my writing background and everything else in between. When I mentioned my memoir writing, she introduced me to Michel Mariott, the writing instructor for both Memoir/Non-Fiction and Science Fiction, and I had another great conversation about the genre. His demeanor, passion, and support for writing motivated me to also enroll in Memoir writing but alas, my financial woes stopped me and I decided against it.

Soon after, their guest speaker, Zandile Blay, was on hand to discuss her rise to success, blogging, branding, fashion, being a writer, and provided tips for writers starting in the business. The majority of her dialogue was the same record I’ve been hearing at panels and people in the industry, as well as reading on writing websites and magazines. A writer has to “play the game” no different than an actor; this industry is saturated with bloggers, publishers, and journalists who all want to be known. In order to stand out, one must know his/her voice, stick with it, and be consistent. If a writer is passionate and wants “it all,” the writer will succeed. Zandile and I are the same age and she has accomplished so much from the age of 14 to now. I can say I look up to her and hope to be as entrepreneurial as she is. I’m only at the beginning stages but I know what I have to do; I just have to do it!

Overall, a wonderful afternoon spent with people in my writing community. I want everyone to know about this center and I’m sending them good vibes so they become as popular as Gotham (or more!).

Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center

Marcela Landres suggested I check out the writing workshops at the Frederick Douglass  Creative Arts Center in Upper Manhattan (96th street). After she told me to “write better” without reading my writing, I collected myself, swallowed the criticism and made the decision to take a workshop. My ego did take a blow but my MFA submission wasn’t amazing; I can’t front. Continue reading

Lit Mag Marathon Weekend

This past weekend The Council of Literary Magazines & Presses sponsored the 11th Annual Lit Mag Marathon Weekend in New York City. Part of this weekend’s festivities included an event on Saturday where editors from selected magazines were available to speak to readers, writers, and lovers alike of literature at the New York Public Library’s DeWitt Periodical Room at 5th Avenue.

On Sunday, the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe held the 11th Annual Literary Magazine Fair, in which the proceeds benefit the Housing Works, a nonprofit organization serving homeless people living with AIDS, and to The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses. Each magazine was $2 (a steal compared to how much the retail cost).

The store was filled with readers, writers, regulars, employees of the magazines, college students, and everyone in between.

As a reader, I’ve never read a literary magazine in my life so the options were daunting. The choices ranged from magazines I would actually read versus purchasing a prestigious magazine to have in my apartment to impress folks. I rejected the second reason to buy a literary magazine and opened myself up to exploring based on what genre I read the most: fiction. I found some magazines with poetry, fiction, memoir, and non-fiction which I’m glad I bought. Additionally, I also stumbled upon many straight up poetry magazines and since I don’t read or write poetry, I declined buying those.

I settled on the following magazines:

Alimentum – The Literature of Food 

Zahir – A Journal of Speculative Fiction – self- explanatory

Glimmer Train – all fiction!

Narrative Magazine – I receive emails from this magazine and wonder why I have not yet subscribed but I’ve been in love since I read an article about Lorrie Moore months ago.

Epiphany – a journal that enticed me because of the cover and I loved the title!

Reading these will take some time since I am part of a book club, have books to read that I own (and borrowed), and other miscellaneous reading materials. However, I see owning these books to  gauge the writing MFA programs produce as well as potential places to submit when I have a piece good and ready.

I look forward to reading actively more and being more productive as a writer. MFA applications are slowly approaching.

For your convenience, I have provided a list of the magazines at the fair. Enjoy.

Continue reading

Employment

I understand the economy is bad, publishing is a very competitive industry, and the unemployment rate is 8.3% (dropped actually and much less than the national rate of 9.3%) but this should in no way be a reason to justify paying an employee $300 a week for four days. Do the math. Who can live on that kind of salary in New York City? I’m completely discounting those who live at home with their parents because those are the only ones who can afford this kind of salary in New York City!

I have been actively seeking employment in different industries and have calculated the salary I will be able to survive on in this city. I came across a Craigslist posting and was incensed a company would think $300 a week would be sufficient as a salary to live in New York City. There are so many jobs out there that do pay more but the foot in the door is the problem. This posting wasn’t the first; I saw jobs paying $10 an hour, $11 an hour and less. Maybe I’m used to being paid more or maybe my expenses are higher than most (probably the same) but those wages are a joke.

With that said, is it really worth it to be paid almost nothing to work in an industry that you may or may not be passionate about anymore (i.e. me)? I think not.

Even though I am seeking employment in the publishing industry, I will not be paid chump change as if I’m some broke ass college student. I haven’t been a college student in six years! Seriously, that drives me crazy.

I have declared that I will be employed in 30 days. Since I have declared it, then it shall be.

Until then, on to applying jobs I go!