ross-nola-map-smNew Orleans has left its mark.

In nine months, I’ve taken three writing seminars, read twenty plays (half of them Shakespeare), written two of my own, and seen over three dozen on-stage (including the shorter works at the Fringe Festival). I’ve written some academic research papers, had a play published, attended a few poetry readings, been to Mardi Gras, seen a few jazz shows, made some new friends, and had [redacted] beers with my CWW colleagues.

The writing experiences were good; I feel like I’m making progress. The one thing I expected to do more of was read fiction – on my own, stuff not required for school – and I did very little of that.  I did manage to get through David Foster Wallace’s masterwork Infinite Jest, but that was partially because Hurricane Isaac came through and left me without power and without classes to attend for several days. Other than that, my reading life has consisted of assigned work and the New Yorker.

Most of my university experience so far has been in the English department (which hosts the CWW). Unfortunately, the connections between the English and Theatre departments aren’t very strong, and I need to do more to make contacts there.  It’s the one weakness of the MFA program at UNO, and probably a side-effect of the small number of playwrights that attend in relation to the other writers (fiction, poetry, and nonfiction). There are screenwriters as well, and in a slightly larger number than playwrights, but we don’t have much in common unless we share a specific course.

Next up, summer session in Ireland, in which an entire semester is packed into a single month, though one of the highlights for me is going to be Bloomsday in DublinUlysses, is of course, the first required reading for the semester.


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