MFA in a Box: A Why to Write Book
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Eric Hoffer Book Award Grand Prize Short List, and 1st Runner Up - Reference Category (2011)
Midwest Book Awards, Finalist - Reference Category (2011)
Nautilus Book Awards, Silver Winner - Writing/Creative Process Category (2011)
Part craft talk, part philosophical tome, part memoir, MFA in a Box is not so much a book about how to write as it is about whyto write. In chapters that explore the relationships between the writer and love, grief, place, family, race, violence, and other topics, Rember helps writers dive deep into their own writing. He tells them how they can breathe down there and how they can get back.
"A big part of writing involves grappling with the terrors and discouragements that come when you have writing skills but can't project yourself or your work into the future," says Rember. "My hope is that MFA in a Box will help writers balance the despair of writing with the joy of writing. It's a book designed to help you to find the courage to put truth into words and to understand that writing is a life-and-death endeavor--but that nothing about a life-and-death endeavor keeps it from being laugh-out-loud funny."
"More than an advice book with a catchy title...Rember engages his readers in some of the issues every writer faces...not as problems to be overcome but as issues to be understood. - The (Portland) Oregonian
"Witty, audacious, and wise." Robin Metz, author of Unbidden Angel, and winner of the Rainer Maria Rilke International Poetry Award
"The essential truths about excellent writing." -The Judges of the Hoffer Awards
turning them into personal property or killing and eating them to satisfy poorly understood psychic needs. I assign my students an essay by Bill Joy, the former chief scientist at Sun Microsystems. It’s called “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us.” It’s a grim prediction that three developing technologies — genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics — might each result in human extinction by 2050. By the end of the essay, Joy, despite his name, has provided a convincing argument that
making a living at it but who has watched the posthumous production of bestsellers out of Hemingway’s wastebasket. I get out of bed and wrap myself in a robe. The image of the drowned writer stays with me even as I understand that some voice within me can make a joke about anything, no matter how filled with grief, no matter how grotesque, no matter how filled with horror. I turn the kitchen light on and go to the sink to get a glass of water and a couple of aspirin, and my face reflected in the
much to assume that the oven is the heart of the dark wood, its deepest point. The witch is trapped there and cannot come out, and at the same time the children’s mother, whose hunger was so great that she would sacrifice them to it, also dies. Death in the unconscious causes death in the conscious world. So one interpretation of Hansel and Gretel is that joy is achieved at the price of destroying the story’s female component, which exists mainly as a boundless hunger, an unrestrained wanting,
weasel who sucks up to the adults and picks on Beaver Cleaver. Eddie is the only character in the show that comes close to being evil, but his is a penny-ante, easily defeated evil. June Cleaver went from being a sitcom character to a cultural icon. She became the maternal model not just for women but for huge numbers of men of Beaver Cleaver’s generation. She is notable for having no dark side. She was perfectly put together, and in control. She lacked self-doubt and for that matter any
this moment: his carefully crafted story, so full of imagination and detail and meaning, has been reduced to a skeleton. He’s dismayed. He’s angry. So much of what he put into the story has been taken out. He calls out to the nearest angel (because he’s in heaven now): “How the hell did an editor get up here?” If you have worked with an editor, you understand how he feels. Often enough, a rich, full story comes back shorter and full of holes, with its beginning gone and its ending paragraph