There’s a savage soul in each of these wonderfully constructed tales. Brock Clarke wields his wit like a sword. In this new collection of stories, bursting with absurdist plot twists and laced with trenchant wit, Brock Clarke offers personal writers bite-sized morsels of his trademark social satire. These stories will have readers laughing, and perhaps shifting uncomfortably in their seats.
The Price of the Haircut is now available for pre-order. Brock Clarke is the author of four novels — The Happiest People in the World, Exley, An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England and The Ordinary White Boy, along with three collections of short stories—including his most recent book The Price of the Haircut. Whatever they are called, they are essentially essays which are written in response to a question or questions on a graduate or professional school application form which asks for some sort of sustained response. Some applications ask more specific questions than others. There is no set formula to follow in shaping your response, only choices for you to make, such as whether you should write an essay that is more autobiographically focused or one that is more professionally focused. From application to application, requested personal statements also vary widely in length, ranging from a couple of paragraphs to a series of essays of a page or so each.
Personal statements are most important when you are applying to an extremely competitive program, where all the applicants have high test scores and GPA’s, and when you are a marginal candidate and need the essay to compensate for low test scores or a low GPA. It’s most likely that your personal statement will be read by professors who serve on an admissions committee in the department to which you are applying. It is important in developing your personal statement to carefully consider this audience. What are the areas of specialty of this department, and what might it be looking for in a graduate student? Additionally, since personal statements will most often be read as part of your «package,» they offer an opportunity to show aspects of yourself that will not be developed in other areas of your application. Obviously, it is important that personal statements are not simply prose formulations of material contained elsewhere in the application.
It may be helpful to think of the statement as the single opportunity in your package to allow the admissions committee to hear your voice. Often times, committees are sorting through large numbers of applications and essays, perhaps doing an initial quick sort to find the best applicants and then later reading some of the personal statements more thoroughly. Write out a 2-3 sentence response to each question. Revise your essay for form and content. Ask someone else — preferably a faculty member in your area — to read your essay and make suggestions for further revision. What attracts you to your chosen career? What do you expect to get out of it?