A month ago Ryan Boudinot, a Seattle writer and former MFA professor, posted an interesting read, “Things I can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach In One.” It blew up. There was a response piece on the same site by a former student of Boudinot’s: “I Was The MFA Student Who Made Ryan Boudinot Cry.”
I forwarded the first link to Canelli, and we had an email discussion about what it means to be “The Real Deal.” What happened in Seattle, though, was, well, there was a lot of contention. It’s no surprise that I didn’t have any problems with Boudinot’s tone. I’m the same guy who, in his first week of teaching high school students, tried to convince a room full of 16- and 17-year-olds that numbers were bullshit, man, and math and physics could be better comprehended and understood if we focused on the relationships between the terms.* Also, I view the writing program I’m currently as nothing short of a cash grab by the University. (But it’s easy for me to be cynical when I benefit from employee benefits such as tuition remission.)
Anyway, this whole thing seemed to have gotten a bit out of hand, and my interest in this Seattle soap opera has waned quite a bit. But then I read this update and got excited. Now, it’s not what’s been going on between Boudinot and others. It’s the very last image on the post showing an opening page of a short story from the book.
Holy craparinoes, how are you going to say no to this? Now the whole affair turns for me from a “who-did-what in a faraway city” situation to a “where can I find this full story and whatever else this guy’s been writing” scenario. Show I preorder the book? Can I find all of his McSweeney writings online?
Ah, the madness that comes with falling in love with a writer who’s stuff you’ve never read before…
* I wholey stand by this assertion to this day.