Cheri Lucas Rowlands’ July essay about her experiences as an editor and writer caught my attention.
Last week on Longreads, I edited and published an essay by Richard Gilbert, “Why I Hate My Dog.” It’s a piece about Richard’s rescue dog, Belle Krendl (and a bit about his previous dog, Jack Gilbert). I’ve never had a dog, and am very much a cat person — I still miss Striper, my cat from my childhood-to-early college years — but Richard’s essay touches on the larger bond between humans and their animals, and I was happy to have the opportunity to work on it.
I met Richard while working on my MFA in creative nonfiction at Goucher College, from 2005–07. Goucher’s MFA is a limited-residency program — our class of 2007 met in person over a few summers, during an intensive period of lectures and workshops on its lovely Maryland campus. Then, for each of our four semesters, we returned to our home bases — across the US, in South Africa, in Switzerland, and other locations — to dive into writing, reading, and working on our manuscripts. We were assigned to a different mentor each semester, who then led a small group of writers. Richard and I got to know each other in our third semester, while working under author and River Teeth cofounder Joe Mackall.
I’ve written in the past about how I’ve felt I wasn’t ready for that MFA program, but ten years later, I still don’t feel I’m ready. Actually, scratch that — if I were given the opportunity to do another MFA or other sort of immersive writing experience, I’d probably not take it. You have to want to write. You need that drive, that passion. I had both then; I don’t have either now. But that’s a post for another time. (Or maybe I’ve written it before?)
“Why I Hate My Dog” is here.