Guest post: "My Inspiration behind 'Message from a Blue Jay'" by Faye Rapoport DesPres
In 2008, I was a new student in the Creative Nonfiction Program at the Solstice MFA Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College. I knew I wanted to move from years of journalism toward more creative work, but I had no experience as a fiction writer. I found that I gravitated toward the personal essay form, which allowed me to tell true stories about my life and experiences in a way that combined literary techniques and craft with reportage. I really fell in love with creative nonfiction, and before long I was producing a Creative Thesis made up of personal essays, and then revising and refining those essays for several years after I graduated from the program. Message from a Blue Jay is the result of four years of hard work at the craft of creative nonfiction, and my desire to find universal meaning in my somewhat unusual life.
The path toward publication was not an easy one. I had to work hard at submitting essays to literary journals, revising them and improving them, and weathering the usual rejections that writers face. Once I felt I had enough solid work to produce a book-length manuscript, my first effort at getting it published met with some roadblocks. Publishers didn’t feel there was a market for personal essays, and some wanted to know if I could fashion something closer to a memoir out of my collection. I went back to the drawing board and re-ordered the essays, took some out and added new ones, and found what I felt was a more readable narrative arc with a revelation at the end. At that point, the book was accepted by three publishers. I was honored to get a “yes” from each of them, and I have been very happy with my choice to go with an independent press called Buddhapuss Ink of Edison, NJ.
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About the Author
Faye Rapoport DesPres is the author of the new memoir-in-essays, Message from a Blue Jay. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College. Her essays, fiction, poetry, and reviews have appeared in Ascent, International Gymnast Magazine, Platte Valley Review, Superstition Review, In the Arts, Fourth Genre, TheWhistling Fire, the Writer’s Chronicle, and other journals and magazines. Faye was born in New York City and has lived in England, Israel, and Colorado. She currently lives in the Boston area with her husband, Jean-Paul Des Pres, and their cats.