Well, I'm Doing It (Wish me Luck!)

After the response I got (both privately and in the comments section) to my blog about the AWP, I decided just to go for it. I am going to say exactly what I think about the subject of bringing local commercial writers into the classroom, even though I'm almost sure I'm going to get some flack. Within the academic creative writing community, this won't be a popular view. However, it's a necessary view, and why not say it? I've decided that if someone judges me for saying what I think and decides not to hire me to teach, then I probably would be unhappy in that environment anyway.

It's still unnerving, though, and points out another flaw in our current academic climate. Unfortunately, academic freedom doesn't seem to exist for the not yet tenured. But this won't change unless more of us stand up for what we believe, even if it's potentially dangerous to our careers to do so.

So here I go! Wish me luck!


Knock 'em dead, Kathryn! And don't forget to have a great time while you're at it!
Anonymous said…
Good luck and please report back on what happens. I'm a grad of Hopkins' writing program and have my debut novel coming out this year and it's commercial, and already feel snubbed by my former classmates (not my former professors or the program director, mind you.) So I'm skipping AWP--besides, I'm on deadline.
Mylène said…
Waiting to hear more, Kathryn!
Anonymous, I hope we can meet some day--and I wish you could have been there today in that panel. It was actually fairly well-received, just not well-attended, which was fine with me. (A couple of people actually suggested that I publish an article from the talk!)

My quick take on the snubbing: they're jealous. My more complex take: they don't really understand what it means to write commercial fiction, and they think it's "selling out," yadda yadda, yadda, and they're a little uncomfortable with you challenging their assumptions.

I'm really glad that your professors and the program director are supportive, though. I've seen programs where even those people snubbed their former students for publishing commercially. I remember the launch of a friend's commercial debut, where the bookstore was packed with people, and she sold over 300 books, but not a single person from her graduate program came, even those who were local. And it had been advertised, so they KNEW about it.

People are just weird sometimes. And ((hugs))to you! I was snubbed the whole time I was in grad school, at least by a significant percentage of the people, so I know how sucky it feels--when the very people who are supposed to be your community turn away. But we have to do our own thing, whatever that thing is, and if it gets us snubbed, so be it. There will be people who love your book, and you will find other kindred spirits with whom to make friends. Hang in there.

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