f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Apprenticeships Aren't Just for Barrel Makers or Blacksmiths Anymore

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Apprenticeships Aren't Just for Barrel Makers or Blacksmiths Anymore

Are writers born or made?

Too often, in our world of spiritual gifts and God-given talents, we assume that writers are simply “born”. The answer is not so simple as that. Or shouldn’t be.

One of CBA Fiction’s primary weaknesses is a lack of adequate training and practice among its writers. With only a few journals publishing today, there is little apprenticeship in the short story form. English departments in many universities treat Creative Writing as an unseemly step-child. Mentoring relationships are few. Honest, helpful criticism from worthwhile literary reviews and critiques is virtually non-existent. And so the books, for the most part, don’t improve.

One group of people hoping to provide their own answer to this are the folks at Seattle Pacific University in conjunction with Image: a Journal of the Arts and Religion. Discussions are beginning for the creation of the an MFA program in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific. The program would, according to an email announcement, be a first among Christian higher education institutions.

For those unfamiliar, an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) is the highest degree attainable in a creative field. You can get them in sculpture, photography, or pretty much any medium. Often, such a degree (or a Ph.D.) is required to teach creative writing in a university.

One thing an MFA does not guarantee, however, is good writing. Instead, it provides the time, space, and structure needed by many writers working on projects. It also becomes a place of discussion and debate about Christian literature and its role as a spiritual discipline. What will emerge is yet to be seen.

For more information, visit Image here. There’s a survey you can take.