Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Network

Some funny little coincidences have happened lately that remind me how small a world we writers live in. At a get-together for the new graduate students in Damien’s program a few days ago I chatted with a girl who told me about a poet friend of hers. She mentioned a few specific details that I very quickly connected with a poet we had published here at MFA/MFYou. I asked her what the name of this poet friend of hers is and sure enough, it’s one of our fabulous MFA/MFYou contributors.

But wait, there’s more:

Last night Damien was chatting on Facebook with a PhD fiction writer in his program. She told him that his profile picture is in an online photo album that a cousin of hers is in. That’s odd, Damien thought, because the only photo album she could possibly be talking about is one created by one of my old professors from my MFA program. Damien prodded her for more details and sure enough, her cousin studied creative writing at a college that my old professor used to teach at before he came to UAF.

Small world.

I noticed recently that a poetry professor at my old MFA program is Facebook friends with a nonfiction professor at Damien’s current program. A while ago I had a friend recommend a book to me and then another writer friend mentioned casually that he knows the guy that wrote it – they were on a panel discussion together at a conference some time ago. I was looking up agents the other day to find possible people to query about my novel and I stumbled across an agent page flashing an image of my UAF mentor’s most recent book

The thing is, the world of writing really is that small. When I was younger I used to fantasize about being part of an entourage of writers. You always hear about this big writer who is friends with that big writer; you always notice writers thanking each other in their acknowledgement pages.

Through my MFA program, and through Damien’s MA program, we’ve met numerous successful writers, some reasonably famous writers even, and many more that are on their way up. We’ve begun to become part of that very small world where you know people that could possibly introduce you to someone who could possibly publish your next book, or help you promote your current one, or even just give you invaluable feedback on your work. This networking idea seems overwhelming at times but it really is important. And it’s really not as difficult as you might think to break into that great big little network of writers.

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