What We Talk About When We Talk About Writers: An Interview With MFA Student Alyssa Craig

Welcome to another weekly installment of WWTA. Over the course of the semester, we’re going to be interviewing the writers who make up the first class of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. This week we corresponded with Alyssa Craig through email. Alyssa graduated with her MA from Saint Rose in 2006. She lives in Schenectady with her husband and three dopey cats in a house that used to be a model-railroad shop. In addition to being a student, Alyssa is also an adjunct teacher, a credit union teller, a liquor store cashier (at her family’s store), a wine brand ambassador, a landlord, and a backup singer in a folk-rock-country-funk band.

With a schedule like hers, it’s a wonder she has time to write at all. She enjoys reading “non-alien” sci-fi and historical fiction.  Alyssa writes fiction because she “thoroughly enjoys making things up.” She once “accidently” trash-talked Lady Gaga in front of her band on the plane ride home from the U.K. She also tells terrible jokes.

 What drew you to the MFA program?

Honestly I’ve wanted to go for my MFA since I started grad school in 2003, but was “geographically” limited, so figured it wasn’t in the cards. Then I had this dream one night this past spring where I was looking for a book on my shelf and I saw a message scratched into its cover. It read: write it out write it out write it out write it out. A few days later I saw that the MFA program at Saint Rose had been approved. It just felt like I was meant to be here doing this.

What or who inspires you to write?

For me it’s more of a compulsion than it is inspiration. I write constantly and if I don’t write I feel off. I have to write about everything that’s ever happened to me or comes into my brain. Most of it is not fit for human consumption. But I guess my own life experiences inspire me.

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t have one.Right now I quite enjoy Wally Lamb and Audrey Niffenegger.

What do you hope to accomplish by the time you graduate?

I’d like to complete a novel and be paid more than $8.00 for a piece I’ve written.

What are your long-term goals for writing?

To keep doing it. To have other people read what I’ve written. To be involved in a community of writers. It would be nice to make some money too.

What was the last good book you’ve read?

Maybe this is cheating because I read it every year, but Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Every time I finish it I am amazed by it.


One response to “What We Talk About When We Talk About Writers: An Interview With MFA Student Alyssa Craig

  1. Pingback: The MFA: Part Two – Pros and Cons