First upheaval of the 10 day extremely intense residency for the NILA MFA program in creative writing – after introductions I begin to waffle about whether to stick with fiction and the professor that gets my sense of humor and likes my style, or switch to nonfiction where I might get to do my thesis as a performable memoir and also they have better parties. Introduction session included saying my name and home town, I got through that, but third thing to share was my writing goals. I opened my mouth and said, “well to be honest, I’d like to write more screenplays and a performance piece to be also published as a book.”
I picture the performance as one person show style storytelling that feels like standup, and Mike Birbiglia has already set the precedent, that’s a thing. A doable thing. So that’s my model. – Slight problem, I am currently suffering from paralyzing stage fright. Not cute self-deprecating I need to throw up stage fright. Not just get over it stage fright, but I want to die right now, throw myself in front of a bus I’m not kidding rather than get on a stage, stage fright. So, I am attending an MFA program, and within the first day, I realize I am using it as a vehicle to write my one person show and workshop it with editors, rather than a live audience. But editors think like editors and not like a comedy club audience. I don’t know where the laughs are.
Plus, in the fiction workshop people are responding to a stream of consciousness piece I wrote for NanoWrimo with the connection and emotion I wanted to get from the performance piece, and the more I read the fiction piece, Marshmallow Man, the more I love it too. The more I realize I am saying things with it I could never say in stand up.
I feel lucky to have options, but stressed to have to make the call – fiction or nonfiction – in just a few weeks before registration for fall comes around.
Opinion? Please vote below. Fiction or Nonfiction