Instructor Spotlight

Please note this class is now sold out. Check out our other spring offerings here.

Meg Pokrass is the author of three collections: Bird Envy (Harvard Book Store, 2014), Damn Sure Right (Press 53, 2011), and the forthcoming My Very End of the Universe: Five Mini-Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the Form (Rose Metal Press, 2014). Her stories have appeared in more than 200 literary magazines, including Green Mountains Review, The Rumpus, and storySouth. She is an associate editor for Frederick Barthelme’s New World Writing, and her self-published collection, Bird Envy, became an April 2014 bestseller at the Harvard Book Store, the renowned indie bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can learn more about Meg by visiting her website.

On February 21, Meg will be teaching a class with co-instructor Steve Adams called “Submitting Your Writing to Journals and Magazines: How Not to Lose Your Way or Your Time.” Read the interview below and visit the class page to learn more.

Meg Pokrass

Scribe: What is the advantage of the short form — whether it be short stories, flash fiction, or essays?

Meg Pokrass: The short form perfectly suits the digital/mobile device revolution. Short pieces work beautifully on phones and tablets, offering busy, working people much-needed access to bite-sized chunks of literary work as a regular part of their intellectual diet. It’s advantageous to be writing in a form that is gaining rapid international attention because of the way our device-saturated world is embracing it.

Scribe: One of the topics you cover in your class is dealing with rejection. How do you deal with rejection? Do you have any special coping rituals?

MP: I remind myself that it is a numbers game and that every rejection means I’m nearing an acceptance. For centuries, writers have wall-papered their homes with rejection letters. To be rejected is to be a writer. They are one and the same thing.

Scribe: At what point in your writing career did you begin to feel comfortable teaching other writers the tricks of the trade? Who helped you on your journey?

MP: I started publishing in middle age, and it has changed my life. I love the creative process and find it endlessly fascinating as well as healing. I’d say after the first few years of getting my work published, a strong urge to help others started to evolve, and I began offering private instruction and workshops.

Scribe: How do you use social media to promote your writing?

MP: I use it enthusiastically and fearlessly. I love creating unusual pages on Facebook and have made this both a creative outlet and performance venue. It is best when one finds passion in it.

Scribe: What are the basic elements of your writing process? 

MP: I start my pieces with fast freewrites, that is,  very fast writing, starting with anything to dive off from: random words, phrases, photographs, anything which catches my eye. I see this like I’m creating a sculpture, it happens in stages and we can remake it many times. There should be no pressure on first drafts, the messier the better. I edit my pieces many times before they are ready to send out, some times there are as many as 40 drafts of a story, and sometimes they fly out just right and whole.  I never know what I am going to write until I begin. I always remind myself to lower my standards, and not look over my own shoulder. Most importantly, I try to get out of my own way.

–Thanks, Meg!

To register for Steve and Meg’s class, click here.

For a complete list of classes, click here.

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