Friday, December 13, 2013

Meet the Grad: Gary Metivier

On January 19, 2014, the final day of the upcoming residency, the MFAC program will have a Graduate Recognition ceremony, honoring the 11 men and women who have just completed their studies and will receive an MFA from Hamline University. Between now and residency we'll be posting interviews with each student. Gary Metivier is today's grad; he lives in Davenport, Iowa.

What do you do when you’re not working on packets?
Working full time as a news anchor/reporter. Attending school and sports events with my two sons and wife (Adam is 13/Josh is 17/ My wife is … :)

How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?
I met Mary Rockcastle and Gary Schmidt at an SCBWI conference in Iowa. Mary’s advice that stuck in my head for months before I finally applied “do this for yourself”

What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?
I have always been a writer—but did not have the craft elements or any formal training.
What do especially remember about your first residency?
I wondered if I was a good fit—and whether or not I belonged and could finish. I felt like a kid back in school—but an old kid. I almost left the first day—but that was on me.

Have you focused on any one form (PB, novel, nonfiction; graphic novel) or age group in your writing? Tried a form you never thought you’d try?
I’ve tried every form at Hamline—and learned about myself immensely from that experience.

A hawk lands outside Gary's home office window.
Tell us about your Creative Thesis.
Hawk is very close to my heart—which made it even harder for me I think. Advisors such as Kelly Easton really inspired me to look at everything differently. I actually started the book seven years ago. Nothing remains unchanged—including the main character who once a male and is now female. To finish this novel is perhaps the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Even if it is never published, it was a great learning tool and is a symbol of achievement for me to treasure.

What changes have you seen in your writing during your studies?
I look back on the things I have written before and literally cringe. Not necessarily at the writing itself, but the lack of structure, style and craft elements. I am a totally different writer today—and always will be thanks to Hamline.

Any thoughts for entering students or for people considering the program?
Do it. Even if you don’t think you have what it takes, even if it is painful, even if it doesn’t fit into your life—it will become a part of your life forever. And forget about the cost, too. Compare it to the cost of a new car—but this investment will last a lifetime and stimulate talents in you that you never knew existed.

 The public is welcome to attend the graduate recognition ceremony on Sunday, January 19, 3:30pm, (Anne Simley Theatre, Drew Fine Arts Building). Jane Yolen is the speaker.

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