Letter from Kim
March 18, 2020
I'm writing from my home office desk, looking out to my backyard and the yards beyond. From here, it doesn't look all that different from any other March day: the chickadees are flitting through the still-bare branches and the dastardly red squirrel trying to chew his way into my shed is nibbling on the top of the shed door (really, does painted plywood even taste good?). But all around us, much has changed and continues to change.
It's a chaotic, unsettling time, and I know that all of our lives have been shaken up.
- If you're a current student, and face challenges completing any assignments, please connect with your mentor, cohort director or me. Allowances and adjustments will be made.
- If you're an incoming or returning student looking ahead to the summer residency, know that we are already working to ensure that your residency--though online--will be an intellectually stimulating, craft-boosting, writing-community-building experience. The priority is for us to ensure that you have live online group time with your mentors and mentor group, to ensure that important collegial aspect of the program remains intact.
- If you're soon-to-graduate, know that we will find a way to celebrate your significant and notable accomplishments in completing this program. While you won't be walking across the stage to receive your degree this spring, we will find a way to mark your achievements (and if you have thoughts on what you'd like, share them with us).
- If you're an alum, please know that we'll be staying in touch with you as well--on the Facebook page, and with some new Tip Sheets that will be coming your way soon--and we'd like you to stay in touch with us too. We've also set up a general Page on DropBox Paper where we will share resources (you can access all of the Tip Sheets from there) and other news.
- And if you're one of our writers whose book launch or readings have been disrupted by what's going on, let us know how we can celebrate and support you. We're happy to share news of your online readings or other activities with the King's MFA community (and we'll post it to the Community DropBox Paper page as well).
We're all members of a terrific community of MFA students, graduates, faculty and mentors, and right now, I think we all need to stay connected to our various and varied communities, including this one. We know not everyone is (or wants to be) on Facebook, so we're also looking for ways to maintain connection informally--for chats and sharing--that don't require adding another social media platform to your roster (if you've got suggestions, send them along).
I've seen lots of memes over the last few days about how creative those of us working from home now have the opportunity to be--Shakespeare, bubonic plague, King Lear, yada yada yada. Seriously, some of us will have a hard time writing a sensible to-do list, given the anxiety, distraction and potential boredom of being home-bound. No-one needs the pressure of creating a masterpiece in the midst of upheaval. As Lorri Neilsen Glenn advised her group "Go easy on yourselves....Keep writing if you can, even if it's keeping a journal to help you get through these other-worldly days. Writing can help to centre us, grounding those thoughts ping-ponging around in our heads."
Here seems the right place to note the work that the King's staff in the Registrar's, Bursar's and other administrative offices have been doing to keep things on track administratively for all of us. We truly wouldn't be able to move forward without their support and guidance. Your mentors and cohort directors and I are all also working steadily to ensure that this term comes to a conclusion as smoothly as possible, and the upcoming residency comes together as well. If you have questions or concerns, let us know. This is new territory for all of us, and we're doing our best to keep things on track.
Connect with the people you care about. Create when and if you can. Be kind to yourselves and the people around you. And reach out to us if you need help along the way.