C.F. Lindsey is full-time writer and part-time fly fishing guide pursuing his MFA in Fiction at the University of Central Arkansas. After shirking a promising law career, C.F. hopped a train before landing on a riverbank where he began writing fiction. His works have been featured in The Wilderness House Literary Review, The Wagon Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, Nebo: A Literary Journal, and other online and print publications. He resides in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains with his wife and two dogs.
Rachel Hoge: As a first-year candidate, why did you decide to pursue your MFA? What did you find most appealing about our program?
C.F. Lindsay: Pursuing my MFA has been a dream of mine for several years. Ever since deciding to follow my path as a writer, I knew I wanted to continue my education past my BFA to allow me time to develop myself and my skill sets as a writer. One semester into my MA at Northern Michigan, I knew that while I was grateful for the opportunity provided, I wasn’t where I wanted to be academically or creatively. To add on to that, Alyssa and I were ready to move back to a more temperate climate. The Arkansas Writers MFA allowed me the chance to pursue the degree I truly wanted, as well as get us back closer to home and our families.
RH: Tell us about your creative work and writing process—do you have a preferred genre or aesthetic? Are there forms you’re excited to try?
C.F.: I work mostly in the realm of literary fiction; however, I do enjoy writing more formal poetry as my mentor in undergrad was a champion of the beauty found within form and meter. As far as a particular aesthetic goes, most of my writing is based around the natural settings of the rivers and woods that make up the mountainous regions of the Ozarks. I feel a deep connection to scenery within my work, and try to shape my characters’ surroundings into a life of their own, influencing and inspiring said characters, instead of portraying this beautiful landscape as a pretty backdrop. There are certainly forms that I am excited to try, and have already been exposed to during my first semester here. For example, I recently completed the first draft of my novel, the longest piece of fiction I have yet attempted. I don’t think that this would have happened without the efforts and tutelage of Dr. John Vanderslice, for whom’s Novel Writing class the book was written. It’s quite an amazing feeling, and I look forward to seeing what my time here will allow me to explore when it comes to my craft.
RH: In what ways do you hope your writing will be further developed and challenged by our program’s faculty and students? Do you have any artistic goals you hope to accomplish?
C.F.:The exposure of my work and abounding opportunities for feedback, from faculty and students alike, is what truly excites me. The collaboration that comes with being apart of a program such as this is worth more than gold to those honing their craft. This alone is critical to my development as a writer, and I’m ecstatic to be provided these opportunities and proud to do the same for my fellow writers here. My goals while here are to take advantage of every opportunity offered me as an artist and academic. I’d like to find my newborn novel a home before my time is up, or at least begin to search out one for it. Also, I have several projects in mind that I am itching to begin working and receiving feedback on from faculty and my fellow MFA candidates. There’s quite a bit I want to accomplish while I’m here, and I’m thankful for the time to see them into fruition.
RH: Why would you recommend the Arkansas Writers Program to an MFA applicant?
C.F.: Time. As artists, we all must find time to set aside our hectic lives and schedules to allow ourselves to create. The Arkansas Writers MFA is built for just that and is an ideal environment for nurturing these pursuits under the guidance of some wonderful writers and academics. The faculty here understands the struggles that we are going through at this stage in our careers, and they are more than willing to help us along the way. Besides, for someone like myself, I couldn’t imagine a more picturesque environment to develop my craft. As I stated before, my writing is anchored heavily in the natural beauty of Arkansas’s scenic landscapes. Not only can I write about it, but I am surrounded by it.
Visit our blog again soon to meet another graduate student from the Arkansas Writers Program.