IM: I usually just tell them how I got to this point: how it took eight years from first sentence to publication of my first novel. How I spent five years teaching a 5/5 load at community college and then three more in visiting year-to-year positions. How it took a full decade and two novels to finally end up in a tenure track job at forty years of age. The hundreds of rejections, the failed trips to MLA. The feeling I had when I had just turned forty and had two children under the age of four and was staring eye to eye with unemployment. After this uplifting story, I tell them about the number of people who apply to MFA programs and then the fraction of those who are accepted. And then I tell them that every year there are probably less than a hundred creative writing job openings at the college level.
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