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January 17, 2011 / Angela Sylvia

Last Day of Lesley MFA

…was actually two days ago. Sorry about that, guys.

Saturday morning I packed up my stuff and checked out of the inn. (If anyone plans on ever staying in Cambridge, MA, Irving House is wonderful.) Rachel and I drove in, and settled in for our first seminar on how to write craft annotations. I had gotten the gist of this from the samples Janet Pocorobba sent us, but it was good to get a clear idea of what’s expected of me with this.

Next was the last graduate seminar I signed up for, I Read It for the Pictures, on comics and graphic novels. The presenter had given us A LOT of material to go over, so it wasn’t surprising that we didn’t even touch on all of the books he mentioned. And while quite a bit of what he was talking about was stuff I’m already aware of, it was nice to sit in a room of people who take comics, graphic novels and manga seriously.

During/after lunch was a panel called The Toxic Triangle, where four authors talked about how they fit their writing life in with their real life. All of them addressed the three major pitfalls of writing: time, money, and isolation. They gave their takes on these pitfalls, and how they work with them. (Most mentioned they don’t really have a life…)

The final thing I went to was First Foot Forward, where we were able to get a short amount of time with Jennifer Yoon, an editor at Candlewick Press. We each read a page (only one page!) of our work, and she gave her impressions based on that. I read page two, and her comments were I had great description, but I need to somehow show the personalities of the three characters, especially since it’s middle-grade and you need to catch the kids with the character.

With that done, I said my goodbyes to everyone I could find. I even managed to spy out David Elliott in a corner and say goodbye to him, which made me feel better about leaving early.

I began work on my piece yesterday, and after a mere hour of working in edits I could see how difficult this semester is going to be. But I’m excited – so excited. Parts of my brain might melt away, but goddamnit this writing’s going to be great.

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