My husband and I made the drive out to Gunnison on Monday to visit Western State College. The drive was kind of scary, lots of turns, cliffs with no guard rails, oh and a forest fire. Gunnison was a lot smaller than I thought. They have around 5,000 people compared to 500,000 here in Colorado Springs. The Wal-mart was so small that I could see from one side to the other. I really liked the city. City blocks consist of one or two buildings, you can walk anywhere, and there are no parking meters downtown. Awesome.
I met with the chair of the creative writing program on Tuesday. This is the first year they’ve had an MFA program since the 70’s. They have a lot of great plans, including buying a printing press. I also like the focus: getting writers connected to agents/publishers/editors, so they can write full time after graduating. Full time! That’s what I wanted to hear. It seems a lot of programs push you to become a teacher. I wouldn’t mind teaching part time but I’m getting my MFA so I can write full time.
The residency is two weeks each summer. They have one bedroom apartments with kitchen for $40 a night. The cool thing is my husband can come with me for no extra charge. So while I’m in workshops and lectures, he can be fishing, rafting, or otherwise slacking off. He really liked Gunnison and the program. That means a lot to mean as, throughout this process, he has been uninterested.
The main drawback is the price. They have no funding. I’m going to apply but I am hoping I can offset my tuition with some outside grants/scholarships. Go go gadget fastweb. Plus the school districts here pay up to $20 an hour for a tutor. I just have to finish my BA and I can apply. The big thing is that I like the program. They offer mainstream/genre studies which is rare. I like the plans they have for the program. I like the location. I do realize I could get funding elsewhere but it is rare for low-residency. That means I have to either ask my husband to quit his job/school and move, or not see me very much for 2-3 years. I know the cost is there, but the convenience is really worth a lot.