Good Writing Break: Help, I’m Trapped in an MFA Workshop Story!

I’ve seen some pretty good stuff in The Toast, but Sarah Marshall’s “How to Tell If You’re in an MFA Workshop Story” so far takes the cake. Highlights include:

Bullies ruined your Halloween costume.

The world is baroque in its cruelty.


Her laugh was like the jangle of a charm bracelet, or like the wind whispering in the branches of an aspen, or like waves crashing on the beach, or like something else that doesn’t really sound at all like laughter, or even any sound a human can make, to be honest.


There is an ethnic person nearby, but they are dispensing with excellent advice.

The “ethnic person” passage is an especially nice bit of satire. You can completely see a host of white, upper-middle-class MFA students patting themselves on the back for including a Person of Non-Caucasian Descent in their stories about how white, upper-middle-class protagonists have Epiphanies about Life, courtesy of the Wise Brown Guru speaking in bastardized dialect.

Also, I had no idea so many things in my life are metaphors.

This piece is one in a series of stories where one can test if one is in a certain type of artistic genre. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta find out if my whole life is actually a scene from lesbian pulp fiction…

(Oh, yeah, and for the record? I’ve totally written crappy, overly flowery descriptions of the sky. And many other things I’d rather forget about.)


3 responses to “Good Writing Break: Help, I’m Trapped in an MFA Workshop Story!

  1. Hmm should that be “dispensing excellent advice”? Wouldn’t “dispensing with excellent advice” suggest that they’re simply getting rid of excellent advice…?

    If I ever find myself in a writing workshop then I expect to find lots of people writing lots of things they don’t entirely mean 😉

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