SFSU MFA/MA CW Students, Alumni and Faculty discussion

Who are you?

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message 1: by Toshio (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Toshio | 5 comments Mod
Thought we could have an ongoing topic here for new members to introduce themselves. If you feel like it. Or not.

I'm in my 3rd semester of the MFA fiction program and working on putting together a collection of short stories. I'm from Berkeley and spent 2 years living in Japan. Tour guide for hire?

message 2: by Patti (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Patti | 3 comments Good call!

I'm also in my 3rd semester in the MFA fiction program, and I'm working on a novel and a collection of stories (that I'm desperately trying to convince myself is not actually another novel waiting to happen).

I'm from SoCal - the LA area - originally, did my undergrad in a hodgepodge of Communications, Business, and Computer Science at Berkeley, and I've been in the Bay Area ever since.

My husband, dog, and I live in Oakland.

Who else is out there?

message 3: by A (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

A (kellyg1) | 6 comments Hi friends!

I'm in my first semester at SFSU in the Fiction program. I'm currently working on revisions of a novel (or I tell myself that, anyway; the last time I actually picked it up was summer. Maybe Winter break I'll get back into it) and am trying to get more comfortable with the short story.

I'm from the South Bay originally, went to undergrad in San Diego, and then moved back here. Currently living in San Mateo, moving to Palo Alto next year.

I like cooking (and eating), scrapbooking, sarcasm, basically any kind of game (especially ping-pong and Scrabble), and hiking. I hate bridges, Mitch Albom, and dancing.

Looking forward to meeting more people in the program!

message 4: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

David | 3 comments Hey all!

I'm in my third semester of the MFA Fiction program. I'm working on a novel ("struggling with" might be a better way of putting it), and I'm from Oakland. It's gonna take me awhile to start listing my books on this site, but I'm glad to connect with all you fine folks!

message 5: by Scott (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Scott | 1 comments I’m a third semester MA fiction student looking to finish in the spring and then find a teaching job the following fall. I grew up a snowbird living between Chicago and Phoenix. I did my undergraduate work in Journalism at Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite school, and I’ve spent some time studying in South Africa as well, which made me a lifetime supporter of the current Rugby World Cup Champion Springboks. When I’m not working on my short story collection I am playing golf, following sports, caddying, traveling, and bragging to my friends that I have never sent a text message. Along with Toshio, Roy, David, and Kiersten I am a member of the Soft Hands Writing Collective, which is currently somewhere between defunct and limping along. I live with my girlfriend directly across Lake Merced from campus. Currently I’m very interested in space and space travel, which sounds incredibly dorky, but if anyone has any reading, TV, or film recommendations that might inform this interest let me know.

message 6: by Roy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Roy | 1 comments How do I know I'm going to mess this up? Well, sure as sugar, I know how to mess up something like this. Just like that time I had to write an article on the change in Venture Capital dollars spent on small startup websites during the mid-nineties and present day. What do I know about said subject? Nothing. What do I know about computers? Next to nothing. But sure as the sun shall fade, I could mess it up. But that job got me out of the poop scooping business and now I'm working for an online review website in San Francisco, checking fact. True, fact can be a squishy subject but I'm getting off topic. I'm a 3rd semester (notice I didn't spell out "third"...this job is getting to me) MA-Fiction-guy working on a collection of short stories and a novel while deciding which I'm going to make the true turd of literary obscura. I'm also working on a graphic novel and a children's book, which may sound ludicrous to some of you, but believe you me, it sounds ludicrous to me as well. I'm a big fan of restoring vitage motorcycles, but with my lack of funds, mine has been deteriorating and hence, I've become a big fan of praying. When I'm not working, I like to train for the Octagon and do mango snuff. Currently, I'm recovering from the Lost Sunday, wherein I slept off a massive hangover watching the Office and Watership Down. I love cooking and finding fault in other people's otherwise pristine, enviable lives. I live with my fiancee and cat in a neighborhood with absolutely no parking. "Which one?" you might ask. Well, my friend, it's high up on a hill.

ps. Scott: put up a picture comparable to your chiseled mug. That avatar does nothing for your reputation as a cocksman.

message 7: by Dustin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:02PM) (new)

Dustin | 6 comments I tried to post here earlier, but the internet ate my comments, so if this appears twice, sorry. Anyway, I'm Dustin, I'm in my first semester of the MA program in Fiction. I got my undergrad here as well. Scott mentioned that some of you are in a writing group, and I'm interested in how you all met, how the group is structured, what you hope to use the group for. I'm in a group as well--the More Cowgirl--and I wouldn't say we're limping along, but we're in a metamorphic state, and I'd like to compare notes with you guys. For fun, I guess.

message 8: by Pam (new)

Pam Laird | 1 comments Hi all,
I'm Pamela, posting about a year too late, I see, but I so appreciate that you all made the effort to connect.

I am in the same entering class as Kelly, Fall 2007, and also in the Fiction MFA program. I have a rare --- or common?--- creative disease, a kind of genre/project/style ADD that seems to manifest in great burst of language enthusiasm followed by black holes into which the intent, joy and indeed, sometimes meaning, fall.

I have a BSJ in Journalism from a long time ago, and a career in marketing, both of which can get in my way if I let them. Sometimes I "make up" a set of "fictional facts" so I can relieve the pressure of writing about something fake. But I'm getting better.

If anyone wants advice about forming and running a writing group, I was a member of a group which hung in there for 10 years of ups and downs.

message 9: by Keely (last edited Apr 15, 2009 02:27PM) (new)

Keely Hyslop | 4 comments Is this group still alive and kicking?

I'm Keely. I just got admitted to the MFA program in poetry and will be starting this fall. I'm currently living in San Diego and will be moving to the area in early August. I grew up in Stockton (about 2 hours east of SF) and moved to South Cal to go to college at UC San Diego. I double majored in literature (writing emphasis) and philosophy. After graduating I worked three years as a website content writer.

If there's anyone alive out there can you give me some advice on looking for housing? Do grad students usually just hit up Craig's List and the local newspapers or is there some super secret student forum where people find roommates and whatnot?

message 10: by Claire (new)

Claire | 4 comments Hi Keely, I just read your post. I graduated from the MFA program in poetry two years ago, but I remember being in that situation. The short answer is that yes, almost all grad students look for housing on Craigslist (easy to find in SF). What you really want to think about is which neighborhood you want to live in. A lot of people new to the program move to the outer Sunset (near SF State) and then hate it there--it's very residential, chilly, foggy, and far removed from all the city action. ;) Check out all the SF neighborhoods and think about where you'd like to be . . . not necessarily close to school (MUNI can get you there, and you'll only have classes three days a week at most).

Good luck!

message 11: by Keely (new)

Keely Hyslop | 4 comments Hi Claire,
Thanks for the advice. I think to get started since I'm going to be living hand to mouth for awhile (I've got federal loans to get me started and will be digging for scholarships and part time employment), my main criterion for housing is cheap, but not in such a bad part of town that I fear for my life (a little run down with a bit of graffiti is fine, nightly homicides not so much). I like artsy neighborhoods. I'm living in North Park right now, which is a slightly bohemian part of San Diego where the starving artists freely mix with the rather down on their luck - pawn shops next to indie coffeehouses - it's a lovely place to find culture on a budget. Can you recommend some neighborhoods in SF with a similar vibe?

message 12: by Claire (new)

Claire | 4 comments Funny that you mention that because I was just in North Park last week! One of my good friends lives in North Park at 28th and Myrtle. ;)

I'd say: Avoid the Tenderloin (some would disagree with me because of the novelty)--the Tenderloin is famous for SROs, needles on the ground, the smell of urine, crime, and general filth--sorry TL fans). I'd also avoid the outer Sunset and outer Richmond (as much as I'm a die-hard beach fan) because they are so far from everything, and if you don't have a car, it will take you forever to get anywhere.

The Mission is the trendy hipster arty district that probably resembles North Park closest, but it is pretty pricey, and while it's full of great restaurants, coffeeshops, bars, etc., it is also Gentrification City and brimming with skinny jeans and fixed gear bikes. ;)

My suggestions: Bernal Heights, the Haight, Western Addition, Panhandle, Cole Valley, inner Sunset, inner Richmond.

If you reeeeeally want to save money, you could move to Berkeley or Oakland, which is what I did during the second year of the MFA program. It's good to live in SF for your first year at least, but if you move to the East Bay (make sure it's near a BART station), rent will be remarkably cheaper.

Let me know if you have more questions!!! kieferclaire@gmail.com


message 13: by Rose (new)

Rose | 2 comments Hi Keely,
Welcome! I am a current MFA in Poetry. Claire's advice is great (Hi, Claire!), but feel free to get in touch with me as well if you have other questions or just want someone to have coffee with when you get into town :) You'll find that there are good deals and rip-off deals in almost every neighborhood, so if you can, take your time and look around. Hayes Valley is another neighborhood that's central and cute. There are also areas between the Tenderloin and Nob Hill that aren't bad (people sometimes call the area the Tender-Nob). You'll find more large apartment buildings there though, rather than classic SF Victorian flats.

message 14: by Keely (new)

Keely Hyslop | 4 comments Thanks Claire,
Now I have some way to refine my housing search. You're a lifesaver! I'll let you know if I have any more questions, but you've given me a great starting point.

Hi Rose,
Hayes Valley and Tender-Nob, got it. I will definitely be contacting you with questions, and I'd love to get together for coffee in August. Thanks for the welcome!

message 15: by Claire (new)

Claire | 4 comments Oooooh good one Rose, I totally forgot about Hayes Valley! I love Hayes Valley. I hate to be so down on the Tenderloin, but I've been there a good bit and it's pretty depressing. It's a neighborhood in which I'd totally advocate working, volunteering, supporting, etc . . . but I think if I'd moved there when I first came to SF I would have drowned in sorrow.

The biggest thing is to just double-check when you find a place. If you find an apartment that seems too good to be true, just ask us and we'll evaluate the neighborhood for you. ;) Just FYI, most of the cheap listings on CL will say "Excelsior/Outer Mission." I work in this neighborhood--there is an abundance of cheap housing because it's a residential neighborhood so there are tons of apartments, and it's also in the outskirts of the city and is a little dingy. However, it's not particularly dangerous, and while it's not terribly "cute & trendy," it's not unsafe. Just make sure if you move there you're near BART or a MUNI line!

Contact me with any questions and good luck!

message 16: by A (new)

A (kellyg1) | 6 comments Hi Keely! I'm in the second year of the MFA at SFSU and also graduated from UCSD! (In 2007--I bet we know many of the same people!) Everyone's giving great advice about housing in the city--I'll have to refer back to this thread if I ever decide to move there. I just wanted to quickly jump in and say that if you aren't set on living in SF and are worried about rent (aren't we all), it's pretty likely that you'll be on campus only 2, maybe 3 days a week and, considering how long it can take to get around within the city, it's also a definite possibility to live elsewhere in the Bay Area, like on the Peninsula somewhere. The drive from San Mateo/anywhere north of there is really short (20-25 minutes) and rent is often significantly more affordable.

Welcome to the program, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or anything!

message 17: by Keely (new)

Keely Hyslop | 4 comments Hi Kelly,
'Nother UCSDer, that's cool. I'm still debating the whole living in or out of the city limits question. I like the idea of getting the full SF experience, so I'll probably look at the cost of housing in the areas Claire and Rose suggested, compare them to the average cost of housing in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Mateo and see how large a cost difference we're talking about. I do have a car, but I was thinking living in the city and only driving when I wanted to leave the city limits would save money on the gas costs front in addition to be greener. Whether it would save enough money to justify the higher rent cost is another question entirely. Thanks for the welcome! It's nice to meet you. :-)

message 18: by Claire (new)

Claire | 4 comments I forgot, Glen Park is also great! It's more affordable because it's a little more on the outskirts, but there are lots of restaurants/bars/coffee/etc. popping up and there's a BART station there!

message 19: by Brian (new)

Brian Dutro | 1 comments Fellow SFSU CW students,

I’m Brian and will be starting an MFA in fiction this fall. I’m from Aptos, did my undergrad in Physical Anthropology at UCSB (class of 2001) and just moved to SF from Santa Cruz. I’ve been working on a novel for a while, have written some short stories, but don’t really like them. I’d like to get the novel written, improve my short story skills and edit the novel while I’m in the program.

Other things… I work as a carpenter. I like: travel, the outdoors, general adventuring, making things, bodies of water, books, martial arts, soups and stews, learning about different cultures, generally learning, thoughtfulness, respectfulness, getting enough sleep, etc.

I’m excited to meet everyone,


message 20: by Richard (new)

Richard (harborcoat) | 1 comments It's been nearly three years since this group had much action, and I have a feeling this post might never be seen.

I'm a writer and an SFSU creative writing grad from a long time ago. 1990, to be exact. I moved to Oregon after college and haven't kept up with the school as much as I would have liked.

I do, however, own this distinction. To my knowledge, I am the only author who has written and published a novel set at SFSU. It's called Jokerman 8 and it came out in 2004 from Soft Skull Press.

I would love to connect (or re-connect) with other SFSU writers. If you by chance see this post, look me up on Goodreads. Best, Richard Melo

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