Plork = Play + Work
In May, I graduated from the University of Baltimore with an MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts. For the past three years, I've been learning the crafts of writing and book making in a free-spirited, creative environment. No studying, no tests—this degree was all hands-on experiential learning.
The first class MFA students take is called “Creativity: Ways of Seeing." There, we were introduced to the concept of Plork, the idea that creativity is a combination of both work and play. “Creativity" students are encouraged to find their inner child and to embrace a spirit of fun, even in the midst of work. Homework for this class included things like making cut-and-paste collages, keeping dream journals, and coloring. Basically, it was nothing like you might expect from a Masters program.
The Plork Award was born from this spirit of play+work that's engrained in the program. According to the UB website: “The Plork Award honors a graduate student whose work best exemplifies the spirit of the M.F.A. program, exhibiting exceptional creativity, energy and personal achievement in the integration of creative writing and book design." This year, I was honored to be named the 2018 Plork Award Recipient.
I'm going to attribute this award mostly to doodling. See, I've always doodled on my papers in class, but now here I was in an environment where doodling was not only accepted but encouraged by the teachers themselves. These were ideal conditions for me. I continued doodling confidently on everything, up to and including my final thesis project (word to the wise: published doodles are just illustrations).
Receiving the Plork Award is an unexpected honor.
I'll do my best to live up to it.