Halfway through a residency!
As a perky pick-me-up, Lindsey Bogason gave a graduate presentation called “That’s Entertainment! The Value of a Good Beach Read”.
Lindsey convinced us that sometimes there’s nothing wrong with writing just for entertainment purposes.
I also want to note that among the other great graduate student presentations this morning, Lynette James gave a talk called “Not Other, Us: Tools for Inclusion”.
After the graduate presentations, we all went with heavy hearts to the last day of our first workshop (our second workshop starts Thursday). The crime-themed workshop really worked out well, and I think everyone–students and faculty–learned a lot about writing crime fiction. Student Amy Tibbetts even gave a short survey of medieval justice, and suggested that within the texts explaining the methods of medieval justice can be found many interesting plot ideas.
After lunch I attended a faculty panel presentation called “Slipstream 101: Writing & Marketing Cross-Genre Fiction” with faculty members Jim Kelly, David Anthony Durham, Elizabeth Hand, and Elizabeth Searle.
It can be argued that slipstream is a new sub-genre of writing that mashes up or samples from the tropes of different genres, such as from literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and horror, to create a new type of story. We discussed examples and even tried to come up with a good definition of slipstream, but, like slipstream stories, the results were elusive.
Following the faculty presentations, students had their mentor interviews. In the low-residency MFA program model, students spend 10 intense days at the start of each semester at Stonecoast for the residency. Then students work at their homes remotely with a faculty mentor for the remainder of the semester on their creative writing and book annotations. Students have the chance to interview different faculty in order to determine whom they might want to work with. There is no way each student can get their top faculty choice, but Stonecoast does the best they can (I think they use something like the Harry Potter Sorting Hat). But in the end, each faculty member is great to work with, so it all works out.
There is a tradition that students and faculty for each genre (popular fiction, fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction) get together one night for a genre dinner. Our (popular fiction) genre dinner was held at Sea Dog Brewing Company in Topsham, Maine.
The Summer 2012 popular fiction graduating class sported their class shirts (designed by Adam Gallardo).
In the evening there were great faculty readings by Tony Barnstone (poetry) and Scott Wolven (popular fiction). Outstanding.
However, the ultimate release came next with the legendary “Stonecoast Follies”, the student-organized talent show.
And I do mean talent.
Song, dance, cooking demonstrations, musical instrument performances, and many other examples of tremendous talent wowed the audience and lasted long into the night.