Adam Reger | Freelance Writer

Pittsburgh-based fiction writer

New MFA Week

I just updated my “Non-Fiction” page to include a cache of newly discovered blog posts over at Hot Metal Bridge, the online lit mag of the University of Pittsburgh’s MFA writing program.

In doing so, I re-discovered the fruit of one of my more inspired moments as an editor: “New MFA Week.” Being a mighty third-year at the end of the summer, I thought it would be cool to have various people contribute tips and advice to students who were at that moment finding apartments, registering for courses, and making travel arrangements to get to wherever they were starting their new lives as Masters students.

Some of the entries, like this dispatch on Pittsburgh’s vibrant food scene, are Pittsburgh-specific.

Other installments include how to go about locking down funding for your grad-school education; how to go about submitting your work to literary magazines; and some more general ruminations here and here (that one’s mine).

I feel most of the advice holds up, and should be of interest to non-Pitt soon-to-be-MFAs. (And the food stuff should certainly be of interest to non-MFA Pittsburgh people.) I wish we’d gotten to go a little more in depth, and there are people who I think could have contributed useful insights who I ended up not asking. But, you know: regrets, I’ve had a few / But then again, too few to mention, etc.

Typo Hunt

These grammar-loving travelers are my kind of people. And here is their blog, chronicling their adventures correcting typos (or, less charitably, spelling and grammatical errors).

I am minimally famous

. . . for having won last week’s “Hang up and Listen” (a sports-themed podcast done by Slate writers and editors) trivia contest. I was all aflutter over it late last week, after posting (what I and others believed to be) the correct answer on the HuaL Facebook page. I simmered down over the weekend, but felt a surge of pride and embarrassment at just now hearing my name read out on the podcast. I briefly considered writing to prompt them on the pronunciation of my name (which is Reger as in beggar; unfortunately I haven’t been able to think of a better illustrative rhyme) but didn’t and am glad, because although they got it wrong (Reger as in eager) I find I don’t mind so much.

For posterity, here’s the trivia question: “What do Sparky Anderson, Shawn Kemp, and Dick McGuire have in common?”

My winning answer: “All have nicknames that are Dustin Hoffman character names: ‘Captain Hook’ (Anderson), ‘Reign [Rain] Man’ (Kemp), and ‘Mumbles’ [from Dick Tracy–nice] (McGuire).”

Josh Levin, Slate‘s sports editor and host of the podcast, rightly complimented Mike Pesca, the trivia guru, for an inventive and difficult question. Pesca said that he thought this was his favorite question so far, and I definitely agree.

Update: Perhaps I spoke too soon in my fawning, appreciative remarks about the shout-out I received during the podcast: during the end (or “Cocktail Chatter” or, in this one, “Riggins’s Rigs”) segment, Pesca mentions being impressed by my getting the trivia answer (good), then checking out my Facebook page (worrying), and concludes that I am a furrie (bad, very bad).

He uses this to springboard into a funny, non-Adam-related bit, but still. Let me correct the record right now. Thinking I am a furrie is understandable, given that my photo has me at Anthrocon, grasping the detachable tail of a giant gecko. But readers will note that I am dressed as an ordinary citizen, and for good reason: I am one. To reiterate: I AM NOT A FURRIE.

Thank you for your time.

Later Update: It occurred to me that Mike Pesca’s explanation of how he came up with this trivia question is noteworthy for an extra reason, which is that, by apparent coincidence, he came to the topic of Dustin Hoffman character names a week before the man’s birthday. More synchronicitously, this meant that the podcast appeared the day after Hoffman’s birthday (which is August 8). I saw that while running down the answer: I came to Dustin Hoffman’s Wikipedia page to confirm the names of his characters, and noticed the birth date. “Clever, clever Mr. Pesca,” I thought at the time. Apparently, though, it was mostly dumb luck. Go figure.