I Heart Indies

Monday, October 20, 2014

The MFA-Industrial Complex

My fellow Americans,

It is time to come forward and speak of a terrible menace which is, uh, menacing this great country of ours.  On second thought, make that "a terrible menace that is threatening this country of ours," no, no, that should be "a terrible threat that menaces this country of ours."

I am speaking of the MFA-Industrial Complex.

Actually, before that last sentence, let's insert a rhetorical question, "What is this menace I speak of?"

Poetsandwriters.org lists 260 MFA Creative Writing Programs.  Assuming each program accepts a mere twelve candidates a year, that's over three thousand creative writers released into the world each year.

Rephrase the rhetorical question, to take off "I speak of" and leave it, "What is this menace?"

This number does not include the number of writers with bachelor's degrees, nor those with informal training from innumerable workshops and writers groups around the nation.  Conservatively, however, we can estimate over the last decade, thirty thousand creative writers have infiltrated society; they live next door to us, work alongside us, they may - on occasion - even be related to us.

On reconsideration, make the rhetorical question simply, "What menace?"

You have seen them, these writers, in coffee shops and subways - tapping on their little keyboards and iPads - sometimes even writing by hand on legal pads - creating an endless stream of prose and poetry.  Soon the world will be flooded - indeed it is flooded already - with over-stretched metaphors, convoluted syntax, and ponderous passages of purposely purple prose.

I confess, I am a writer myself, which is why it falls to one of their own kind to sound the clarion call.  Enough, enough with all these writers.  Everyone can't be a writer.  We need readers also.  And plumbers.  We also need plumbers.  My pipes are draining slower and my ability to writer anapestic tetrameter or explain the difference between a hyphen and an em-dash avails naught.  Put down your pens, writers!  (Or your keyboards, pen is metonymy, and you knew damn well what I meant.)

That is all I have to say.

But make the rhetorical question, "What is this menace, you ask." 

Or should that be, "'What is this menace?' you ask."  Or no, it should be, "What menace?"  No, better yet, just, "Menace?"

Yes, that's it.

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