Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Alternate Lives: Fiction, Truth, and Other

So, in a post a few days ago that talked about the Memetastic award, I listed 5 statements, only one of which is true.

1. I have an MFA from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

I have no MFA. I do have a PhD in British Lit (19th Century focus, with substantial work in 20th Century too) from the University of South Carolina.

When I began as a grad student at USC, you could still get a PhD with Creative Writing focus, but that program was taught out as the new MFA was introduced. My first office mate was writing his Creative Writing dissertation, a collection of haiku. I am not kidding. Seventeen syllables on each page. No analytical work of any kind required, just 100 pages of haiku. I thought of him often as I wrote my prose-dense dissertation (150 pages of analysis) and shook my head over the fact that we were awarded similar degrees.

I decided on a PhD because I thought I'd have more teaching opportunities with that PhD than I would with an MFA. I was likely correct.

2. I am a certified spiritual director with a thriving private practice.

I am not a certified spiritual director, although many have suggested that I pursue this career path should I ever grow weary of academia. I do a fair amount of spiritual writing each week, which I hope helps provide people with some spiritual direction.

3. I have a 3 legged dog named Trinity.

I would never name a 3 legged dog something like Trinity or Tripod or Lucky (ah, yes, that old joke). One must draw the line somewhere. I will take outrageous allusion risks when I name characters, only to be reminded that my character names are a stumbling block. Sometimes, it's a curse to know so much literature, mythology, and Bible references.

4. I was born on a U.S. Air Force Base in France on Bastille Day.

This statement is true. I was born just before de Gaulle kicked out US troops (historians may have a different take, but all the Air Force folks I know who were in France in the mid-60's tell it as a forced good-bye). Bastille Day is the French celebration of independence, so my mom told me that when I was born French people had parades and fireworks and picnics on their day off. It was years before I realized they'd have done that anyway, whether or not I was born.

And even though I know the history of the French Revolution, I'm still happy to share a birthday with an event that inspired so many to claim their liberty. I'm happy to share a birthday with Woody Guthrie. Even sharing a birthday with Gerald Ford is cool with me. I also share a birthday with Gretchen, and John, and other delightful people in real life and real time--lots of us were born on July 14!

5. I've published a Creative Writing textbook that was just adopted by the 100th school to choose my book.

Although I've toyed with writing many different types of textbooks, so far, I have not. That kind of writing seems more daunting than just about any other type. I also haven't transformed my dissertation into a scholarly book--so far, that writing task is most daunting to my brain.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Fun "facts"! Loved learning the truths.