I received a letter in the mail today from the University of Guelph letting me know that I WON'T be joining them in the MFA program in the upcoming fall semester.
Was I crestfallen (one of my favourite words, by the way)?
I was looking forward to the interaction with other writers and working with folks who have successfully manoeuvred through the quagmire of Canadian publishing. I was looking forward to honing my skills and receiving real weekly feedback. I was looking forward to meeting a diverse group of writers from whom I could learn a little something and maybe teach a little in return.
I was NOT looking forward to changing my writing to fit the mold of a narrow Canadian literary definition of what's fit to publish.
Maybe I'm being unfair...maybe not.
One thing that has me wondering if I'm being unfair is the nature of the letter I got from the program director.
It's a generic form rejection letter.
It reads just like any generic form rejection letter you'd get from the Fiddlehead or Prism or any other Literary magazine that doesn't supply feedback. Do I expect a painstaking point form outline of my submission package showing me what they didn't like? It would be nice, but no, I don't expect that. What I do expect, after a committee has apparently gone through my writing to give serious consideration to my application, is at the very least a personalized letter informing me that perhaps my writing lacked the maturity or technical finesse of the other applicants. That maybe, perhaps, my style of writing did not display a variety of themes one would expect of a MFA program applicant. Or maybe that my choice of subject matter didn't fit with their notion of fine Canadian literature. Or that my BA grades were not up to par. Or that my writing bites.
Any of that would really have been preferable to the generic form I received today. I have a big problem with generic forms. If you stop reading my writing after the first paragraph, for crying out loud take ten seconds to scribble that on the rejection form before you put it in the envelope. At least that brief note will tell me that I need to work on the goddamn opening.
Anyway - end of rant.
Now...what will I be doing in September?
I'll keep you posted.