4/14/2008

The Big Reveal

I've hinted a bit about this in recent posts, but now I'm finally able to gleefully announce:

I've been accepted at Vermont College for their dual-MFA in Non-Fiction and Children's Writing.

This is my 'big project' that had me writing and nervous and writing some more since last Fall. My original thought was to apply to low-residency MFA programs that had strong non-fiction faculty. I started with the local ones near Seattle, WA, then asked the advice of colleagues and friends at Western. I narrowed the field to three, one of which was Vermont College.

I admit that Children’s Writing wasn’t on my radar right away, but when I was looking into VC, I discovered that they had a dual MFA program option that would enable me to work on my memoir project(s) and look into children’s writing again. When I was in Hawaii in ‘97-’98, I was involved with SCBWI a bit - went to their conference and won second prize in their writing contest. I have a couple of picture book manuscripts that I’m going to be circulating as soon as I get a bit more research done on agents and publishers, and put together a decent query letter for each. I’d like to write YA historic novels, along the lines of Christopher Paul Curtis or even Sherman Alexie (although I haven’t read The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian yet to know for sure.) Picture books, though, are also a draw and I think I'll start with that first.

There’s a lot of Filipino American history not written about yet and with my focus on family relationships and empowerment/identity, I think there will be plenty of material to work with. I had the option to either start on the nonfiction track or the children’s and I opted for children’s as much because the opportunity was there to work on my current manuscripts as it was that I have found myself at various local SCBWI events. It seems obvious now that I am more drawn to children’s now than I realized, but it has taken me a bit to actually /realize/ it. It’s very gratifying, then that the opportunity was there for me to take.

I am a bit afraid of getting ‘locked in’ to a genre, but given my track record of publication in everything from trade magazines to poetry, plus a passion for performance storytelling, I doubt I will ’settle’ for anything else but a multigenre career ultimately. In the meantime, the MFA affords me the time (carved out of an already full life) and the mentorship I think I need to really move my writing to the next levels.

I've opened a new blog dedicated to just my adventures in the MFA journey: What If?. Feel free to drop by!

7 comments:

bjanepr said...

and you know how excited i am for you. this will indeed be an interesting journey for you. i think YA lit is such a fruitful and open place for 'our stories,' family stories, to be told in ways that adult lit just won't afford. in terms of fil am YA lit, there's a big void to fill. much much luck to you!

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor said...

Thanks so much Barbara!

I'm trying not to think too much about filling voids, other than those I felt in my own childhood. I figure that's enough material right there!

Seriously, though, I appreciate the encouragement, especially from your experience/perspective in tracking and researching FilAm lit.

csperez said...

congrats!!! cant wait to read about your adventures and your new work!

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor said...

Thanks Craig!

ver said...

Yay Bec! I'm looking forward to following your new blog! xoxo.

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor said...

Thanks Ver! I hope you enjoy the new blog.

Sarah said...

I am SO excited to meet you in July!

It will be wonderful to have someone in the program who is also writing non-fiction. We will learn much from you.