Friday, August 26, 2011

I Want: PhD & Creativity

About once a month, I find myself obsessing over PhD programs. I furiously jump from university website to website, looking for the most interesting interdisciplinary programs and progressive English departments. Some people stalk their exes on Facebook or celebrities on Twitter - I stalk my academic idols' profiles on university websites. Young and brilliant scholars like Lisa Brooks, Daniel Heath Justice, Christopher Teuton, and Taiaiake Alfred make my heart go ba-boom, ba-boom. (Okay, that might be pushing it a little).

As a Native academic/writer/education advocate myself, I am looking for a PhD program that allows me to marry creative writing and pursuits with Indigenous academic thought and theory. Some programs I've come across combine a PhD in English with an M.F.A. This could be the one, I thought. BUT - in my university career I've never taken a creative writing course. So I might as well see if I like to study the art of writing, right?

So, I enrolled in a summer fiction writing workshop at the university where I work.

The course wrapped up 2 weeks ago, and I didn't get a magical answer to the question of whether I want to study creative writing. It did get my creative juices flowing. I got some nice compliments from the instructor on my work. It reminded me of the things I love about creating a fictional world. It provided some touching moments, like when two students expressed their appreciation for my writing. It challenged me, as one student read his Tom King-esque trickster turned philosophy piece.

While I was looking to this workshop for some kind of revelation, I think I always knew at heart that I love to write and it's something I want to pursue. What the workshop really provided me is a renewed love of writing fiction, some tools to keep with it and the confidence to share my work with others (look out for some pieces on the blog in the future!). For this, I am grateful.

And, in the end, I am still a wannabe writer and academic.


  1. Look at doing an EdD. Not a PHD, but might have the flexibility you are looking for.

  2. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the advice and, funnily enough, I just recently started researching EdD and PhDs in Education. Do you have experience working in/with EdD? If so, feel free to email me more info at


  3. The first paragraph you've written here struck me hard. I think looking for educational programs was a good hobby. I like the fact that you mentioned people focusing on networking sites and compared yourself to them. Anyway, I think that summer fiction workshop was great. What else did you learn from it?

  4. Hi Stephanie,

    The fiction workshop was a great exercise. I think what I'm learning now is that you need to make time to write! In the months since it's ended I've been neglecting my creative writing. In the workshop, I found time to write each week - I have to get back to that!