Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at OSU-Cascades

Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at OSU-Cascades


I’ve always wanted to be in an MFA program.
It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. What I ended up doing
was kids and work and putting it off. Never the perfect time and finally realized that
it was never the perfect time ever. I had a moment of crisis and like I need to
find—I need to get back to what I love and what I want to be doing. Like many low-residency programs, there is
a core component, that’s the residency. And that’s perhaps a 10-day period where
everyone comes together, they’re in one physical location and then in-between those
residencies are mentorship periods where you’re working with writers while their working on
their individual projects. All of the students that we’ve had go through
the program so far, the dedication and energy and the passion that they put into the education
that we’re giving them is amazing and their work work changes dramatically. Over the summer, before I got here, I decided
to start writing this sci-fi novel. And I failed. Like, completely. Nobody was like
that’s beneath you, or our program, or that’s not literary enough. Everyone was just like,
cool, let’s do it. One of the thing’s that’s most unique
about the program is probably the fact that it allows for some collaboration. There’s so much learning going on and the
learning is not just the faculty telling you stuff. That’s the least of it I think. It’s
really generative, everyone together is forming knowledge, creating knowledge and understanding. I love also that mentor relationship in being
like fostered in that way. Your faculty are your friends and that’s
something that not all programs do. They’re there with you, it’s not a, “let me send
you some work”, it’s not put some comments on a piece of paper and email it to you. It’s
conversations. One thing that’s important about the low-residency
format is, again, that we’re not separating the writing life to the real life. So students
aren’t quitting their day jobs, uprooting their lives and living in this cocoon of writing
only for 2 years. They’re actually doing exactly what a professional artist does in
terms of negotiating work-life balance the entire time, going through intensive periods
of creativity in a community of other artists and then going home. If you care about the holistic discovery of
being a writer this if for you. And if you care as much about the spirit of being
a writer as the skill of being a writer this is for you.

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