As a student, I came to the Spalding MFA in Writing Program hoping to find three things: a community of writers; a program I could call home while I completed my novel; and honest, challenging feedback that would empower me to improve my writing in the best, most efficient way possible.
To say that all of my hopes were fulfilled would be an understatement. At Spalding, I became part of a community that continues to maintain its connection long after graduation. I love the fact that we view one another as fellow travelers, not as competition. Faculty members and fellow workshoppers delivered feedback in a way that made it truly useful—it was challenging, yes, but I never felt brutalized or, conversely, coddled. Instead, my mentors and fellow students told me the truth about what worked—and what didn’t—in a way that allowed me to dive back in, ready and eager to take my writing to a higher level.
I entered the program with 100 tentative first-draft pages, and I left with a completed, twice-revised manuscript. Add to that the 25-page extended critical essay I wrote and a cumulative, custom-built reading list of more than 60 books, most of them novels, and you can see that the program kept me plenty busy. I learned so much, so fast. In fact, I was so happy with my Spalding MFA experience that after graduation, I didn’t want to leave! When a job in the Program opened up, I jumped at the opportunity, and here I am thrilled to be here.
These days, as Program Associate, I help writers who are in a position I was in not so long ago—people who ache to take their writing further, to elevate it to a central position in their lives. I love the fact that the Program is equally interested in—and valuable to—talented writers without an academic or publishing background as well as students who come here already having published a book or two. And I’m grateful the Program is taking care to keep its alumni involved. For instance, the MFA Program has started a writing retreat for alums as well as current students. That’s in addition to the informal but amazingly tight bonds that form among those who go through the Spalding MFA Program. This winter I drove ten hours to the Gulf Coast to get together with a group of fellow alums who came from Oregon, Michigan, California, Kentucky, and Alabama. That’s how tight the bonds are here at Spalding. We are all writers. Age and geography make us diverse, but they don’t separate us. Instead, our dedication to writing makes us family.
Hope to talk with you soon!
Program AssociateKaty Yocom, program associate, received her Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree from Spalding University and her bachelor of science in journalism from the University of Kansas. In addition to writing fiction, Katy is a published poet and sometime columnist and free-lance journalist for Louisville Magazine, among other publications, including More Magazine.