Sex. Copious drinking. Identity crises. Editorial violence. Cult-like inclusivity with charismatic professor-leaders. Emotional highs at public readings and emotional lows during every workshop where your piece comes to the table.
Brendan Lynaugh and I started wondering: what’s keeping the MFA program from becoming a reality TV show?
Just think about it:
Like any good reality TV show, there wouldn’t any guild writers involved, nothing would have to be scripted, and yet writers could be employed–as actors. Also, some actors are creative writers (ahem, Franco).
Poetry could reach a wide, new audience and market, the TV-viewing population. What poet doesn’t drool over the prospect of being on TV?
There’s real, daily drama in MFA programs. Several years ago, UNM’s MFA had a phone sex scandal. A professor and several students began working for the same phone sex company, and even appeared in promotional photos together. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education one graduate student took a job on the phone sex line hoping to make her writing “darker” and “edgier” after complaints from her dominatrix-moonlighting professor that her writing wasn’t either.
Wouldn’t this episode have been better TV than Survivor, Housewives, and Hoarders combined?
We’re talking real drama. And it would be easy.
First we need to recruit a good cast. Brendan developed some roles we would need filled:
1. Young Hemingway: Fiction writer, loves Hemingway (obviously) and Carver and absinthe. Typically male, early twenties, facial hair, hard drinking, hard living, minimalist and minimal actual writing, works best after midnight, moody, has no time for touchy-feely stories. Doesn’t say much, but what s/he says always sounds more impressive than it is.
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