“Reflections on the Mid-Life MFA,” an essay by alumni Geoff Kronik (fiction, ’12), is online at HowlRound.
I’m fifty now and though my career had benefits of security, its price was a sense of regret. I never ceased wanting to write, and fancied myself a frustrated writer. This is why six months ago, I finished a low-residency MFA degree. Which begs the question—if there is still time to be who I might have been, do those letters stand for self-actualization at last? Hardly—writing demands a unity of self and work my business career did not. In that work, authenticity was secondary to persuasion, and decades of self-suppression are now proving difficult to unlace. My MFA may be progress towards who I might have been—but who am I? Am I a might-have-been that never will be? This is my main anxiety, here at the intersection of middle age and literary life.