My intern brought me my tray in bed this morning as usual, with my copy of Inside Higher Ed, still damp from the press, folded neatly next to my coffee and grapefruit. (I make the intern get up at four a.m., read the day’s IHE online, re-set the edition by hand with lead type, and run it on a two-color Chief 217 press.) As I was about to berate the intern for waking me with the noise of the printing press, I noted an article about a new option at Hamline University for doing a law degree and a creative-writing master’s at the same time.
What an excellent idea! Everyone knows that writers must find other ways to support themselves as they begin to publish, such as practicing law (Fielding, Auchincloss, Grisham), teaching at big research universities (Donald Hall, William Gass, O. Churm), or living off prostitutes (Henry Miller).
I went looking for other MFA combinations that might prove useful, and I list them here in hopes of preventing what happens to so many MFA graduates who focus only on their writing, in programs such as the University of Iowa’s:
MFA/Ph.D in Engineering, West Virginia Technical College. Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys, will oversee a joint program for those who want to explore both the cosmos and prose fiction. “Ain’t rocket scientry,” a college spokesman said. “Wait, ‘tis.”
MFA/MBA, Midtown Manhattan School of Business. Several fellowships have been endowed for the joint program by Donald Trump, who uses MMSB’s conference rooms to fire employees when away from his own boardroom. Also, to kill a business partner who crossed him.
MFA/DDS, University of Kansas School of Dentistry. To promote more sympathetic portrayals of dentists in literature and film, since nobody can get past the whole Little Shop of Horrors thing, or that “Is it safe?” bit from Marathon Man. We’re not monsters, people.
MFA/MS in Advertising, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard School of Dianetics. All graduates will be required to tithe their labor, for the rest of their lives, to writing more sequels to Battlefield Earth and then pushing them on others. All rights to said works become property of Church of Scientology. In fact, L. Ron wrote them from beyond the grave, yeah.
MFA/MS in Food Science,Hamburger University. We believe our customers deserve the most beautiful spondaic line in the language: Like fries with that?