By Sena Jeter Naslund
Spalding MFA Program Director

Growing up, it was the novel rather than the short story that had made me want to be a writer, but in graduate school at Iowa I had written only short stories. While I had published a short story collection, Ice Skating at the North Pole, I would need to serve an apprenticeship learning how to manage the form of the novel, from the inside-out. Continue reading “SAILING WITH AHAB’S WIFE”

That thing you’ve spent years on, in 30 seconds or less

by Larry Brenner
Spalding MFA Faculty, PlaywritingScreenwriting

“Oh, you’re writing something new? What’s it about?”

I HATE that question.

Do I really have to summarize my work? Can’t I just pull out my draft and spend the next few hours reading it to you? No? Continue reading “That thing you’ve spent years on, in 30 seconds or less”

R.E.M., Dinosaur Jr., Self-Actualization

by Shane McCrae
Spalding MFA Faculty, Poetry

Probably you’re too young to remember this—or were too sane at the time to care—but back in the early 90s, when R.E.M. were considered the best band in the world by more than a few people, back when they had just released Out of Time, both the band and their fans began expressing anxiety about the band returning to their roots—i.e., the people wanted R.E.M. to make an up-tempo album again, a rocking, electric album, and the band wanted to make the people happy. Let’s set aside the fact that R.E.M.’s first album, Murmur, while marginally more up-tempo than Out of Time and definitely more up-tempo than Automatic for the People, was in only the vaguest sense a rock record—R.E.M. gets very little credit for having started out as one of America’s finest early purveyors of pop-inflected post-punk obscurities—and concentrate instead on what happened when R.E.M. actually made the record the people seemed to want: Monster. Real talk: I hate Monster. Continue reading “R.E.M., Dinosaur Jr., Self-Actualization”