MFA vs NYC vs JOB

I finally got around to reading a book I’d been looking forward to, MFA vs NYC, and my reaction was initially going to be a status update on Facebook but then I realized it was really part of some larger thoughts I’ve been having about the publishing industry lately and that it was about time for an update on what I think of my new job so why not combine it all into one big post here. So here we go.

First, I hated this book and only read the introduction.It puts forth the assumption that the only two paths for a writer in this day and age are to get an MFA or move to NYC. A year ago I would have loved this book and devoured it, but I’ve since lost my interest in and patience for the publishing industry. Yes, a good chunk of the blame comes from having lost my publishing job, but as I think about it, this was something that had been in the works for a while. In fact, one of the reasons I’d been so excited about the Exhibit A job was that it seemed to be bucking a lot of the bullshit I’d witnessed in the publishing industry and loved the idea of being part of the change. But then it succumbed to the bullshit and here we are.

I won’t get into a review of this book, as I said I didn’t read it (though I have read several of the essays in it previously and they were part of the reason I was already beginning to hate most of the publishing industry), but it and the collapse of The New Republic just made it clear to me what an insulated and precious world publishing is. I say this realizing that I am a white male of moderate finance with a whole heaping load of privilege, but still it’s such a twee industry and everything I eventually came to hate about university creative writing programs, I’ve come to hate about the publishing industry. And of course, I mean all of this as an employee, as an editor. As a writer, I’ve been very pleased with my publisher and how my book has been received so far.

So instead of wallowing in how much I hate one industry, let’s talk about how much I’m loving my new job. I didn’t get an MFA, I hated living in NYC, but I finally found a JOB that uses my writing skills and makes me feel worthwhile as a human in using those skills, while still leaving enough of my brain free to create horrible fictional stories for my horrible fictional characters.  So all around, a month and a half in, I’m loving this job and the regular paychecks it brings. The only benefit I haven’t been able to use yet is the platinum health coverage so I may need to schedule a surgery just for fun.

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