So I just got back from being a visiting author at UC-Riverside, which is held at a fantastic resort in Palm Springs.
Tod Goldberg runs this program, and he does a great job with this low-res MFA—supporting his teachers, understanding his students, and being contemporary and current with his approach to fiction. He also made me laugh a lot, the guy is hilarious—I can’t remember having so much fun at an MFA program before. His program is very open to genre fiction, as well as literary fiction, and it was refreshing in so many ways. My lecture was about dark fiction, and how I feel we’re in a bit of a golden age for tragic storytelling. I was very happy to see a lot of nodding heads at my talk, the students well-read, getting all of my references, eager to read more, and apply their own voice to various genres.
I also had a great time hanging with my old friend Stephen Graham Jones. If you aren’t reading him, you are really missing out of one of the most interesting, innovative and powerful voices in fiction today. I’ve known Stephen for about nine years. I’ve taken classes he has taught, he blurbed my first book, I published a story of his in The New Black, as well as his latest collection, After the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press) which was nominated for both a Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award, and he has written the introduction to my next short story collection, Tribulations, out in 2016. It’s funny to see how much we have in common, from our youth, to our influences, to our processes. Also, I figure if I just sit next to him often enough, I should evolve through osmosis alone.
I also got to see a lot of old friends such as Jason Metz (published a story of his in Exigencies), Xach Fromson, Gina Frangello, and Rob Roberge, which was great, and meet other authors I really enjoy, such as David Ulin and Tara Ison.
If you are looking for a contemporary low-res MFA program that is open-minded, innovative, and a lot of fun, apply—this is a unique place, that is doing amazing work. I hope to return soon.