1. Who are you?

A. A newly minted, crazy-brilliant college grad who’s been working on a wild and rowdy, 4,000-page (so far!) pseudo-philosophical postmodern tome about a bunch of friends who read Lacan’s Écrits and then decide to (road) trip along New America’s Old West Coast while under the influences of LSD and Special K in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.

B. A former doctor/lawyer/investment banker who’s always had a talent for tale-spinning—some people are just too gifted for their own good—and has already drafted a collection of finely polished and carefully observed short stories about the insight a professional degree affords one into the lives of other, lesser people.

C. New York City New York City New York City New York City New York City New York City New York City.

D. A dude who majored in the humanities and is pretty good at this writing thing, but also isn’t some kind of balls-less pussy freak. You like Maker’s Mark, quoting Henry Miller, and literary ladies (layyydeees) with big glasses who obviously do not grasp the concept you’re talking about, so you’ll explain it again to them.

E. Someone who has always loved writing and reading, would like to get better at both, and holds no illusions about the measure of your talent vs. that of your peers, because is talent really “measurable” in that way? And if so, why should it matter?

F. You have sublimated your terminal self-hatred into something resembling creative productivity for long enough to generate a semi-coherent writing sample to submit to an MFA program. As a result, you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a sound in your ears like a million voices screaming out in pain and being suddenly silenced (i.e. you can answer “yes” to one or all of the above options).

You’ve answered “F”. Congratulations! You may proceed to the next question.

2. Your writing process most closely
resembles which of the following?

A. Recording the damage to your impressive, liberal arts-educated sensibilities wrought by the 21st century’s unchecked materialistic narcissism. This is not only how you write, but how you’ve become the Voice of Your Generation.

B. You listen to Mozart, put on a loose fitting button-down, reread your favorite three pages of The Razor’s Edge, and then forge in the smithy of your soul the uncreated conscience of the upper middle class.

C. You think about New York City and then write about things that could happen in New York City.

D. You pound PBRs, masturbate nearly to the point of climax, and then stop (you’ve told all the literary layyyydees that this was how Anthony Trollope used to do it, and it’s a thing you said so it’s probably true), write the sentence “He both hated it and loved it,” delete the sentence, and finish masturbating.

E. You open a blank document, write a paragraph, delete it, take a break, rewrite the paragraph, keep it because it feels right now, write a few more lines, delete them, etc.

F. You cannot leave your bed. You’ve forgotten how to move. Your vision is blurred but beautifully kaleidoscopic, like the vision of a spider or an ant. Everyone around you operates with a bewildering sense of purpose that seems to bring them a strange and shallow pleasure. Breakfast time becomes lunch time becomes dinner time, and by then you’re barely hungry. You should call your mother, but you doubt she’d like to hear from you now (i.e. you can answer “yes” to one or all of the above options).

You’ve answered “F”. Congratulations! You may proceed to the next question.

3. On a Friday night, you are most likely to be…

A. High on some premium-grade, sativa-strain marijuana, lecturing those eagerly assembled in your apartment-cum-lyceum on William Gaddis, the political situation in Hyderabad, and a third thing you’re trying to explain, which is really just a summary of a poorly written New York Times article you read on quantum physics and the illusion of happiness.

B. Making love to your spouse of eight years shortly after entering the room where she/he was just finishing bathing/reading/drinking an oaky Cab, sighing softly, and announcing: “We haven’t made love in over a week. We used to make love every other day. I want to make love to you now.”

C. In New York City.

D. Wasted in a roadside bar with your best friend, worried about the two of you being perceived as gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that or anything), introducing yourself as a writer to a superfoxy laayyydee, and fighting back alcohol-induced hallucinations that the one-eyed bartender is actually your father giving you a sternly disapproving look.

E. Having dinner with some college friends who’ve driven out to visit you and telling them about your successes and struggles as an aspiring writer.

F. Terrified of being exposed as the fraud you know you really are (i.e. you can answer “yes” to one or all of the above options).

You’ve answered “F”. Congratulations! You are fit for entry into an MFA program! I’ll add you to the listserv now!