Life After Goucher
By the time David Spencer graduated in May 2003, his first novel had been published and he had written another. Now he’s in the process of researching his third book -- and considering a career in teaching as well.
Spencer finished his first novel, “How I Became a Fisherman Named Pete,” at the end of his first year at Goucher (after transferring from Essex Community College, where he started it). That book netted him a contract with Baskerville Publishers by the end of his second year, and he completed a second novel, “Tar-Blood in Berry,” and won a grant supporting research for a third.
As a student of Goucher’s Kratz Center for Creative Writing, Spencer worked closely with Madison Smartt Bell, English professor, Kratz Center director, and acclaimed author of the National Book Award finalist All Souls’ Rising. Spencer also developed his writing in workshops with Kratz Center writers-in-residence Richard Bausch and Susan Shreve, and between these experiences and the intensive editing process for “Pete,” he says he feels as though he received the equivalent of a graduate-school education as an undergraduate.
“I think Goucher’s creative writing program is on par with any graduate school,” he says. “It’s the perfect place for a young writer. It’s not for the passive writer -- if you’re not into it, if this isn’t what you really want to do, don’t waste the teachers’ time, the other students’ time, or your time. But if anyone is serious about fiction writing, I will always steer them here.”
Spencer spent the summer after graduation giving readings to support “Pete,” traveling to prisons to research his third novel, and speaking to young writers. He hopes to eventually teach creative writing at the high school level, imparting lessons he wishes he’d been taught earlier in his career.
“I want to get to young writers as they’re developing and say, ‘These are the basic tools you need,’” he says. “And then I want to send them on to a place like Goucher.”