Tag Archives: writing MFA

Honing my act – MFA program in Creative Writing – Week 4

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



Married a Little – MFA in writing Week 1

Here’s what I am reading out loud at the MFA residency workshop today.

FYI – I am changing from fiction to non-fiction as a concentration. Those kids are way cooler. Also, this all really happened.


My first wedding was performed by my college biology professor. He talked about how we were the result of millions of years of evolution, because I wouldn’t let him talk about God for some reason I can’t remember – I have a pretty big bug up my ass about God, I think. But mostly I remember the daggers shooting at me from the women who loathed me for breaking up the Jan and Andy house of fun for single women, and the video record of the ceremony that was mostly shots of the sky, taken by Andy, my husband’s best friend who was annoyed I hadn’t married him. But it was very much a first come first served situation.

Funny thing is, the woman Andy ended up marrying, turned out to be a lesbian. Our money was on me, but it didn’t go that way. At least not yet.



Susannah Raulino


Mood Swings – MFA program in Creative Writing/T minus 7 weeks

The gal at the food co-op attributed her mood swings this week to the weather. The lightning storm cleared out her bad mood, she said. Then I realized it had mine too. After being up in arms at everyone and everything that had seemed innocuous the week before, I had spent days in mental loops of arguments I would never have, and then was suddenly docile again after the storm. Or maybe it was my boss letting me buy window clings.

Then all the death notices started rolling in. Not anyone close to me, but pets and amazing people I peripherally knew who shouldn’t have died so young. New mood, wanting to cling to life, even let people get close to me. But at my first effort, I found everyone else in my life hadn’t had the same change of heart and that close feeling lasted five seconds and faded with distractions and ordinary conversation. Odd. How hard it is to change. Except for moods. Bless their hearts, they are always changing with the weather.