When I started writing, the only other person I knew who loved language as much as me and studied fiction like a nerd like me was my beautiful wife. She and I would sit across from one another at our dining room table in Ithaca, New York and write our faces off for hours at a time. We’d edit each others stories and novels. We’d work through literary problems, and recommend books to read. We did this for years, each working on various projects. Eventually, I reached a ceiling with my work. I encountered new problems that I couldn’t figure out how to fix on the page, and starting a new project was only going to prolong the issue. I read all of the craft books. I wrote all of the exercises. But nothing worked. It was me. I was getting in my own way. My wife suggested researching MFA programs, specializing in creative writing. In short, I did the research, picked a school, applied, and got in. It was Bennington College.
I attended the Bennington Writing Seminars (BWS) at Bennington College from January of 2007 through January of 2009 when I received my MFA in Creative Writing and Literature. For me, grad school was the answer, for about a dozen reasons, most importantly that of being tied to a community of writers. It was there that I met and befriended and studied and drank with other writers. We bonded the way uber-nerds bond, over poetry and single-malt scotch, over short stories and black tea, over words.
It wasn’t long after I graduated that a few of us began landing book deals and publishing our stories in journals, our hard work finally paying off. Not only were my peers landing book deals, but our publishing dates seemed to be grouping together. Which brings us to date.
These authors, these friends, are some of the most talented, funny, and hardworking people I know. They deserve these credits. They have earned these credits. And these stories, both short and novel-length, will knock off your socks .
Three Little Nerds:
Stephen Dau is from Western Pennsylvania and lives in Brussels. He worked for ten years in post-war reconstruction and international development prior to studying creative writing, at Johns Hopkins University and Bennington, where he received an MFA. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on MSNBC, and elsewhere. The Book of Jonas is his first novel.
(We met over tumblers of grapefruit juice and vodka.)
Megan Mayhew Bergman grew up in North Carolina and attended Wake Forest University. She has graduate degrees from Duke University and Bennington College. Her stories have appeared in numerous journals including Ploughshares, Oxford American, One Story, and Narrative. She lives in Shaftsbury, Vermont, with her veterinarian husband, two daughters, and several animals.
(We met over beer and wine and cheese.)
Dayna Lortenz grew up in northeastern New Jersey surrounded by no less than four malls and though never literally trapped inside one, it sometimes felt that way nonetheless. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Bennington College and is the author of the Dogs of the Drowned City series, to be published by Scholastic in spring 2012. A former attorney, Dayna is now a full time writer and lives with her husband, daughter, dogs, and cat in Vermont.
(We met over milk and cookies.)
These are only three of the many different nerds I know, but three that are very special, very dear, very much apart of my little nerdy heart. My brother and sisters of the Spring 2012 season.