RWA Nashville Retreat Notes: Ranting

The welcome reception was lovely, though my drink ticket got me a free glass of wine, which led to my probably being excessively critical of my tablemate’s idea of getting an MFA — it kind of triggered my standard rant about the ballooning cost of MFA programs and the unlikelihood these days (given what’s happened in academia) of it leading to a tenure-track job, or in fact any full-time job teaching creative writing.

It makes me SO ANGRY, what we’re doing financially to students in these programs, and no one seems to be taking responsibility for it, because it’s such a systemic problem. You wait — someday soon I’m going to crack and start sending ranting letters to the Chronicle of Higher Education, and then all my friends who teach in and adminster MFA programs are going to get mad at me.

Hopefully not too mad, because they’re probably also all begging university administrations to stop raising tuition, but it’s a vicious cycle we seem to be caught in right now…

….and argh, here I am again, ranting. I’m stopping now.

(If you’re in a financial position to do an MFA, that is great, and you will hopefully learn a lot about writing, and it can be nice to have additional credentials after your name. Just PLEASE don’t expect it to translate to a job that justifies the tuition cost, or a bestselling novel. And be aware that tuition costs vary wildly, and that some programs have lots of fellowships and others don’t. Okay, stopping now for real.)

The reception was nice! The food was lovely! Crab cakes always make me happy, and when you slap on some aioli, I’m in heaven. Ate some raw veggies, go me! I I consider myself very restrained that I only got two of the five desserts on offer, both delicious. Still sort of regretting not getting the blackberry cobbler…

On a completely different note, it’s particularly nice to see a black woman, LaQuette, as president of the board. (Especially given RWA’s recent…challenges…on the diversity front.) Here’s a little about her — I’m hoping she might have time for me to do a quick interview while I’m here:

“Former president of RWANYC, LaQuette writes unapologetically sexy and diverse characters for Sourcebooks, Harlequin, and St. Martin’s Press. She crafts emotionally epic tales deeply pigmented by reality’s paintbrush. She fills her novels with a unique mixture of savvy, sarcastic, and brazen characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page.

Before romance, LaQuette was a college professor who taught literature, research & methodology, and creative writing to academically diverse and disadvantaged populations. She now uses her educational background to teach her Critical Lens course where romance writers learn how to consider the perspectives of marginalized voices.”

I feel like we’d have things to talk about. 🙂

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