Less is More?

GEICO ran a short-lived ad campaign in which a man announces to a friend, “I joined GEICO and got more.”  Each enumeration of “more” was illustrated by increasing large possessions; in one ad, a series of powerful lawn mowers; in another, belt buckles that grew until they turned into shields covering his torso.  The commercials concluded with the affirmation “Gotta love more.”

It’s not surprising that materialistic, consumer culture equates “more” with larger—look at the size of fast food portions.

More can be said about “more.”

I joined the MFA program with a fiction concentration and graduated in May 2018.  I read more than one hundred books.  I wrote annotations, a critical essay, story drafts and polished revisions.  I earned a teaching credential.  I got more.

I learned: 

Matters of craft (five beats to start a story; how to braid; the function of dialogue; the significance of the line; how to use artifacts in essays and poetry, and more)

To interact with published works by writing annotations that examined how literary elements work so that I could use them; I could continue to learn from writers after the program’s formal instruction ended

To respond to peer writing in conversation with other writers (in other words, to workshop)

To listen and learn from my peers’ discussion of my piece; to hear what worked and what didn’t (in other words, to be workshopped)

To trust that the story would show up if I did

To revisit the piece, to explore and to find the story’s heartwood, to revise as needed.

I entered the MFA program and got more:

            Affirmation

            Confirmation

            Attention

            Challenge.

A community welcomed me.  I felt—I feel less alone, less odd, less isolated—because I’ve discovered I’m not alone.

For these reasons and more I volunteered to become editor of the MFA Blog.  This blog is another avenue for mutual support, instruction, and fellowship among past and present students.  I look forward to reaching out to you for insights, topics, and guest blogs.  Share your annotations, reflections on the writing life and process; describe the impact an author or a poet, and more.

Each of us has something to say, and someone needs to hear it.

Vicki Phillips is serving as the MFA Blog Editor. Her email is phillips_v@wvwc.edu