MFA in Make Believe

May 27th, 2010 | By | Category: Prose
Jonathan, what does one actually do with an MFA in Creative Writing?


That’s right, bitches!  In case you all didn’t hear, I finally graduated with an MFA, a master’s degree in the delicate art of making shit up.

Of course, this is usually a wonderful topic at parties.  Once an MFAer is identified, everyone jumps at the opportunity to giggle and ask, “So, what are you going to do with that?”  And then there are those wonderful assholes who are all like, “Did I mention that I’m a lawyer?  I make twice as much a year as all those student loans you’ll never pay off!”

Well, I’ll tell you something.  Because of us hard working MFAers out there, your local Starbucks is able to operate.  Without us, you all would go hungry without your lattes and the great Mocha famine of ’02 … oh, I can’t even think of the repercussions if we hadn’t intervened then.  But, it should be stated that there have been actual success stories from MFA programs.  Why, one of my favorite professors, Danielle Evans, is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and will be seeing her first collection Before You Suffocate on Your Own Fool Self in bookstores this Fall.

But I have also compiled another list of obscure MFA graduates who went on to publish under pen names.  Their contributions should be proof of the power of the MFA and an inspiration to us all.

Hellraiser’s Cebonites writing as Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel.

Mostly known as the evil masochist demons and Hellraiser’s personal back up dancers, the cebonites actually have a long bibliography of literary contributions to the romance genre.  Yes, they’re eternal, they know intimacy and will completely massacre a body all for the sake of melodrama. Only with the powers of Hell can they truly see into the depths of the human heart and understand our needs to be loved.


"He kissed her deeply, before he had to stop because one of his many face piercings became stuck in her nostril." Excerpt from "Passion's Fiery Flame," by Danielle Steel

Lucy van Pelt writing as J.T. LeRoy

She was immortalized in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts as the eternally 8-year old bitchy psychiatrist and football thief with good Christian values.  However, post-comic strip success, Lucy had attempted to reinvent herself by posing as the transgendered HIV-positive writer JT LeRoy.  LeRoy’s first novel Sarah was actually based on the time when Lucy would dress up Linus, blanket and all, in pretty dresses and pimp him out to truckers in West Virginia.  Of course when the real face of LeRoy was exposed, the backlash was terrible.

"Did I ever tell you about my mother? She was a drive-thru prostitute, which was much worse than a truck-stop prostitute, because my mother only got paid in fries. The manager at McDonalds called her "Snoopy."--Excerpt from Spin Magazine's interview with JT LeRoy

Tom Cruise writing as John Preston.

Many do not know the wonders of Preston’s novel, Mr. Benson.  

This gay S/M classic described with pornographic detail of a young man entering servitude to his new charismatic master, Mr. Benson.  With detailed scenes of bondage and man-on-man brutal hotness that only Cruise could describe, he helped defined literary erotica of the early 1980’s.

Well Tom, at least you did one thing of worth.


"'MAVERICK!!' Jamie screamed in ecstacy, before reminding himself he needed to buy new leather chaps."--Excerpt from "Mr. Benson's Revenge Against The Safe Word."

Greedo writing as William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller.

Little is known about this Rodian Bounty Hunter since his early demise at the hands of Han Solo.  But Greedo’s past was one of privilege and decadence, becoming one of the great figures of the Beat Generation.  After attending Harvard, Greedo fell into a world of hard drugs and parties, traveling across country on a stolen motorcycle and eventually making his way to Europe, carrying on a steamy affair with Anais Nin.  From these experiences came such great classics as Naked Lunch, On the Road and Tropic of Cancer.

Insert tastleless Furry joke here

"The only people for me are the Rodian people, the Tetsu Clan people, the ones who look weird and are blue.” Excerpt from Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road Next to Tendril Trees.”

Unfortunately, with drug addictions and years of bohemian debt, Greedo abandoned his literary career for something more lucrative: inter-galatic bounty hunting.  And the rest is history.

Sarah Palin writing as Adrienne Rich, Joan Didion and Toni Morrison.

Long ago, Palin was actually one of the greatest feminist minds of our time.  It is speculated that this was before the brain degenerating effects of syphilis kicked in.


"I know why the caged bird sings. You betcha'!"--Excerpt from Time Magazine's interview with Toni Morrison

Pope Benedict XVI writing as Michael Crichton.

What?  Too soon?


The velociraptor, made in His image when He was very angry and somewhat drunk off the wine of His blood, stared down at his/His prey." "Jurrasic Park REDUX" by Michael Crichton

Do you have a question you want Jonathan to tackle? Or do you just want to tackle Jonathan? Well, if it’s the latter, hands off! Because Genevieve gets to go first (aw yeah). But if it’s the former, e-mail him at: .

Jonathan’s fiction has been published in Velvet Mafia and the anthologies Homewrecker: An Adultery Reader as well as Wilde Stories 2008; he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and graduated from the MFA Program at American University in May 2010.

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