My Mentors


Boldtype had a great feature last week on famous literary mentorships. Coincidentally, I talked about my literary mentors a bit in my This Week in Books interview. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do so, as many of my interviews focus instead on deep things such as what happened to all that jewelry I got.

I’m fortunate enough to have had two incredible writers take me under their wings- Leonard Chang and Jim Krusoe, both of whom I met at my MFA program. In case you’re unfamiliar with the parlance of graduate programs, teachers are often called “mentors.” Of course, in the proper sense of the word it would be impossible for a teacher at such a program to truly mentor all of his or her students. For instance, I’ve had “mentors” look at my work and say things like, “Wow, your writing sure loses its magic in the revisions.” Believe me, I could go on about how very uninterested some of my MFA mentors were in mentoring me. And that’s as it should be. Not everyone’s going to believe in your work.

True mentorship is a rare and precious thing and I wouldn’t be the writer I am without my guiding spirits. My gratitude to them goes far beyond that which I could express on an acknowledgement page. For this reason, I really enjoyed the Boldtype feature.

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