This fall, I will begin an MFA program at Eastern Washington University. I’m very excited to work with Willow Springs and experience the literary community thriving in Spokane. For two years, I’ll focus solely on my writing and the workshop process. I am incredibly happy and grateful to have this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to joining the students at EWU.
The first time I applied to an MFA program was throughout the 2009/2010 school year, my last year as an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee. I was twenty-one years old and had just gotten married in November of 2009. I only applied to ten schools and was accepted to five of them. I chose to attend the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire.
It was great to be able to work with many amazing writers and professors at UNH. I took a fantastic novel writing course and learned a lot in my semester there. I later left the program after the first week of the spring semester because I was going through a divorce. I couldn’t handle the emotional fallout and craft good stories at the same time.
Even though I left the program, I never stopped writing, and I never stopped wishing for a community of writers with which to share work. After I left New Hampshire, I bounced around the country. First I went back to Tennessee, lived there for a year, and then I moved back to Maryland in 2012 where I’ve been ever since.
In 2011 and 2012, I applied for MFA programs because I missed the camaraderie and community; the workshopping and writing, the drafting and development. Both times I applied I received acceptances, but there wasn’t any funding to go with those acceptances. I turned down my offers.
I met my boyfriend, Justin, at the Frederick Writer’s Salon. We’d both applied for MFA programs in the fall of 2012, and we’d both declined our offers because they weren’t fully funded. By the spring of 2013, when we started dating, we were working on writing projects together. We based our relationship on our shared desire to be writers. But we also had to find a way to live, so we both began “careers.” He works in communications for a local nonprofit. I joined AmeriCorps and worked for a year at the national nonprofit, Operation Homefront.
Since August, I’ve been working as a Communications and Marketing Coordinator for a local nonprofit. It has not been as fulfilling as I thought it would be. As much as I hate to say that, I’m glad to be leaving my current job for an opportunity at Eastern Washington. I plan to use my time in Spokane wisely, to connect with other writers, and to work with skilled faculty members on a variety of projects.
Now I just have to figure out how to move one boyfriend and two cats all the way from Rockville, Maryland to Spokane, Washington. I’m ready to begin the next chapter of my life.
Katherine Bell blogs with her boyfriend, Justin Eisenstadt at WeWriteTogether.net where they discuss a variety of movies, television shows, books and other pop-culture interests. You can find her fiction in the Blue Lyra Review, the East Coast Literary Review, and Connotation Press.