I’m beginning my 1000 day DIY MFA in the hopes of improving my writing, and day 1 has almost come to a close. The theme for today seems to be distance, whether near or far. In the poem I began, I started each stanza with a hypothetical relating to travel, and in the short story I began sketching, I wrote about a high school senior who chooses a college close to home over a prestigious university (this is inspired by my essay reading).
For my essay, I chose “Where the Small-Town American Dream Lives On” by Larissa MacFarquhar (The New Yorker). She reports on a prosperous small town in Iowa, Orange County, which against the odds manages to retain its younger talent. Whether for jobs, lifestyle, or family, this goes against the American tradition of geographic mobility — a tradition that is dying. It’s an excellent read, and a window into the world of small-town charm. Highly recommended.
I also read the short story “Paris for One,” by Jojo Moyes, from the collection of the same name. It’s an optimistic meet-cute in Paris, filled with lists and romance and impulsivity. I loved the subtle ways Nell and Fabian grew as characters, how they both learned to live and take risks. I’ll try to incorporate similar character growth in my short story.
For the poetry requirement, I read Pablo Neruda’s “I Do Not Love You,” which I will be analyzing and finding the French translation of this week. I thought the first line was an unexpected way to start a love poem — indeed, the poem itself is unexpected. But there is a certain, quiet beauty to the earthy language and unique perspective on love.
Alright! Calling it a day! See you tomorrow!