Emily Vieweg, MFA is a poet and playwright originally from St. Louis, Missouri. Her work has been published in Foliate Oak, The Voices Project, Northern Eclecta, Red Weather Literary Magazine, Soundings Review, Art Young's Good Morning, and more.

Her one-act play Atomic Lounge was performed in Chicago at The 25th Annual Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Theatre Festival in 2013.

Emily's debut chapbook Look Where She Points is available from Plan B Press.

Emily's second chapbook, Conversations with Beethoven and Bach, is available through

She lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she is a mother of two, pet parent, data processor and adjunct English instructor.

Friday, June 26, 2015


I have completed my MFA Thesis, it has been accepted and my MFA degree is now complete.
My degree will post to my official record as of June 30, 2015, and as such, my new signature will be:

Emily Vieweg, MFA

Today I don't have many words of my own, I am over the moon with excitement and joy, so thrilled to have completed this journey, and now ready for a couple months rest before tackling the next big challenge:  Teaching my teenager to drive!!!

Thank you to my family and friends who have supported me through this journey, for sacrificing time and energy, for poking me with a stick when I really deserved a cattle-prod, and for hugging me when I didn't want one but needed it.

Here's to the future, to following my dream and earning a degree that will allow me to teach students how to love the creative word.

Friday, June 19, 2015

End of the Road? or just the beginning?

Well, we’re approaching our final week with our portfolios and eagerly awaiting decisions. I, for one, am thrilled to have submitted my thesis collection before the due-date, because minimal editing can be churned out in an afternoon or weekend. That said, if it does happen that my portfolio isn’t quite finished, then I will take the extra time to focus on the problem areas and find how to fix them.
This journey toward my MFA started about eight years ago when I started a program at MN State University Moorhead - but life interfered and I had to take a step back. When I was ready to return, the MFA program was being closed down so I chose the online route.
It took a long time for me to adjust to the online format, life happened and interfered every quarter for that first year - but then I realized that I wanted this, dammit, and I was going to achieve it. So I came back and persevered, walked at Commencement and finished my thesis.
I wish there had been a week-long intensive residency on campus, or something like that, so we could really dive in and be surrounded for a week with our work, with feedback and learning one-on-one with instructors and each other, I think that would have helped me maintain my focus in that first year where I was just lost and randomly hopping from idea to idea, goal to goal, journey to journey. Perhaps had there been a required one-week summer intensive, which would have helped me dive in with both feet the first time, instead of tickling the water’s edge with my toes.
Thank you to all the instructors who challenged me, to my comrades for encouraging me, and especially to Eve Jones for teaching me how to critique like a maniac. Dr. Rankovic, thank you for helping me find my CNF voice, delving deeper into my memories and passions and helping me see that I need to express my imperfections in order to be taken seriously as an expert. As you once said, "nobody’s perfect, and that is coming across as almost saintly."
Thank you, to my family and friends for sticking with me through this journey to realize that this is who I am. This is what I love to do. I love to create works that say something, not just on the surface, but pieces that make people think about the darkness within themselves, and hopefully see a little bit of light inside as well. It’s there, we just have to want to see it (that’s the optimist in me).
All the best to my colleagues, classmates and instructors.
Here’s to good writing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Waiting Game

Last night, around 9:30pm or so, I emailed the final draft of my MFA Thesis to my adviser for final feedback. I believe the collection of work I have produced will show the world the type of writer I am, as well as the type of thinker I am.
I feel that I have something important to say, and hopefully that came across in my introduction, and in my creative works.

I received an email from my adviser this morning, stating that she will get back to me with an acceptance or with a list of required edits by 6/26. So that means I must wait up to ten days for a decision to be made. In that time I will focus the rest of my energy on completing the assignments for my Manuscript Preparation course, and then my MFA will be complete.

I just have a little bit left to go, and then I will have my Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. I will be able to teach at the college level and also update my business cards at work.

I am excited to announce that I have been accepted into a Graduate Certificate program for teaching English Language Learners. I feel that if I am going to teach, I would like to learn how to teach before attacking that particular position. I realize that I do not need an education degree to teach at the college level, but I feel in order to be fully present and helpful to my future students, I not only need to know what I am talking about (i.e., English Composition), I also need to know how to communicate it.

There are professors out there who are brilliant in their knowledge of a subject but are dumber than a box of rocks when it comes to communicating that information to students. I do not want to be a box of rocks, so until I feel more comfortable in my teaching skin, I will take a class here and there to get my feet wet and learn how to teach what I love to do.

Once this degree is complete I will take time off from school. At least two months I will take off, playing with my kids, reconnecting with my husband, and finding something else to do with my evenings.

Can't wait.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Say Yes

Say Yes

Today I made a decision. Not a deep, meaningful decision in a “this will change everyone’s life” sort of way, but a decision that did make me think a little longer than usual after this type of outing. I have a very curious two-year old. When she is told “no” she will sit and bury her face in the floor. It doesn’t matter where we are, if our answer resembles a hint of “no” or even “Well…” she will sense our hesitation in saying an automatic and exuberant “YES” and will gently stop, turn into Jell-O and melt her way into the ground. This has happened at the mall (on tile and carpet), at the bus station, on walks, in the garage and in the parking lot of our apartment building. She tried it once on the grass, but she said it was “ouchy.” Smelly and slimy is healthy for the complexion, I suppose?
Lately Tink (we call her Tink) has been wanting to sit backwards in her car seat. She’s forward-facing now because she was having such a hard time sitting backwards. I understand, why would we always want to keep looking back, instead of forward? We’ve already been down that road, show us the future! So we’ve been struggling with getting Tink strapped into the car seat without much hassle. There have been tears and tantrums, especially if a cookie is not immediately available. Of course, by the time a cookie arrives the tantrum is in full swing so the floor gets the cookie, squashed from tail to trunk. Of course now that she is forward-seating, she wants to play with the stroller in the back-back of the SUV. Can we ever win?
This morning, after milk and pretzels and a few too many episodes of The Wiggles (all of the songs I can sing now, by the way), it was time to go.  I gathered my purse, backpack and Tink’s diaper bag and headed to the door. 
“Let’s go, Boo!” 
“Do you want to walk to the car or do you want Mommy to carry you?”
“Wakk, wakk!”
“Okay, hold my hand, please.”
She held my hand and on the way to the garage I remembered, her daycare provider needed diapers. Yikes. Decision time. I knew Tink would have a difficult time getting settled in the carseat, she wanted to do what she wanted to do and there would be a battle of wits. I would win, not due to wits, but due to strength and size. Today she had multiple pacifiers so getting settled in the car was not a huge battle, and once she was strapped in she said, “Kaay!”
As we drove down the street I thought about my options. I could stop at the grocery to pick up diapers, bring Tink along with me and ask for a battle just to get back into the car, or I could take Tink to daycare first, turn around, go back to buy diapers, turn back around, drop them off at daycare, and then head to work. I decided to brave the grocery store. I said “Yes” to the situation. “Yes, I will take Tink into the store with me, and yes, we will get diapers and yes, I will try to smile and realize that she is two and she will touch things that don’t belong to her, and as long as nothing breaks, an orange can be handled by a toddler, and she will put it back because she likes to put things away. Yes. We are going to the grocery store.”
I pulled in to the parking lot and said, “Okay, we have to get diapers for Holly’s house, ready?”  “Essss.”
“Okay, let’s go!”
 “Kaaay!” I carried her through the busy convenience store, past the Powerades, “Dada! Dada!” 
“Yes, those are daddy’s drinks. Let’s leave them alone. We need diapers.”
We picked up the 84-count diaper package and a diet coke. “Mama! Mama’s!”
“Yes, that’s mommy’s drink.”
“Okay, you can get down but you need to hold my hand, please.”
“Mmmnoooooo.” And she giggled. “Hahaha!”
“You silly goose. Stay close, please, Mommy needs to pay for these.” She was less than five feet from me, and since it was before 7:30 in the morning, I was not worried about foot-traffic in this particular store. Some moms oo’d and aah’d. Others said, “I don’t miss those days!” Which at first didn’t bother me. I played along, “Oh, well, she’s two and she has a sixteen year old brother at home, too. I have a teenager and a toddler!” 
“Oh well, I’m glad I don’t have that anymore, my kids are grown!” one woman said, face caked with makeup and lipstick just a tad too dark for my taste.
I looked at Tink and saw her happy toothy grin and light blond curls and thought, this is my baby girl. She’s two already. She’s toddling along and starting to sing along with The Wiggles every morning. She doesn’t just ask for Twinkle Twinkle anymore, she is starting to sing the words.
I paid for the diapers and soda and went to hold Tink’s hand. “Okay, we’re done, let’s go, Boo.”
“Kaay.” She mumbled through her pacifier.
I maneuvered out the door and muttered a quick “oh thank you” to the woman holding the door, who had just mentioned she had her tubes tied a year ago and boy will I be ready for a break when she goes to school in a few years.
Tink held my hand as we got to the car and then she started. She didn’t want to be confined to the straight-jacket in the back seat, she wanted to explore that parking lot, darnit!
I said yes. I decided to play with my daughter. Five minutes of fun, silly tickles and turning upside down before heading to daycare wouldn’t be a big deal. Five minutes of silly tickles and kisses and “Uh Moh” upside down time.
I don’t think it even lasted five full minutes. I didn’t set a timer, I just tickled my kiddo and told her how silly she was. She wanted to go upside down again? Goodness, what a silly girl!  Silly girl kisses!  Ppppffbbbt on the neck!  Silly goofy! Silly goose! Kisses! Silly! Laughing baby goose!
I hope someone saw me. I hope someone saw me playing with my daughter, not worrying about whether or not I got to work on time, but saw me enjoying a few moments really PLAYING with her. Instead of battling the seatbelt-straight-jacket-scream-from-death, Tink wriggled a little but said, “Suck-oo?”
“Yes, you want your sucker?”
“Ready to go see Holly?”
“Let’s put your seatbelt on.”
“Saht butt.”
“Yes, sweetie. Saht-Butt.”

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Week Eight - Edit, Edit, Edit


I am sitting at my desk wondering where the last eight weeks have gone. Have I done enough? How many pages have I written? How many new pieces have I produced? When will I know for sure if this is what I am meant to do?

Of course writing is what I am meant to do. If I were paralyzed from the nose down and had to communicate by typing with my eyelashes, I would make it happen. I have something to say, and whether or not someone likes it, I am going to say it.


When I was a kid our family took summer vacations to my dad's side of the family in Massachusetts. I loved Gramma and Grampa Vieweg because we were always loved. This family cherished its members, we never had to worry about disappointing anyone (although Grampa yelled at me once when I was twelve - I wasn't embarrassed at what I did, only that he yelled. Dad scolded him after I ran upstairs). I hated being the center of attention, I didn't like eyes being on me, expected to perform at the drop of a hat (at piano lessons, even). I was very shy and very meek... but so loved.

Gramma and Grampa have been gone for several years now, but I still remember that house - my sister and I in the yellow bedroom with the fan in the window (no air conditioning), we yearned for the swimming pool and loved the drive up to Keene, New Hampshire. I remember there were lots of little yellow worms floating in the air like newborn spiders, looking for a new home. They were gross, but it's a memory I cannot escape. Teeny tiny worms - strange the things we remember.

We didn't go in the cellar without a grown-up, even into our teens. I still don't know why - the house used to be the Carriage House in the 1700s, so the cellar was rock and dirt - what was the kitchen had once been the hay loft, I think.

I am remembering Gramma and Grampa today because my Uncle Frank passed away suddenly this week. Frank was my dad's brother-in-law, and he was always fun. I didn't realize that he was drunk most of the time, because Mom and Dad shielded us from that information. Looking back, I don't think I ever saw him without a beer in his hand and a cigarette gently dangling from his bottom lip.  Thin as a rail, he was. I remember his voice - strong, stern, loving to us - perhaps I painted his memory in a way that I paint most - with the prettiest colors and most flattering angles - because remember people should be pleasant, not difficult.

Uncle Frank was the fun uncle, Justin and Aaron are my cousins, they're closest in age to myself and my sister, so maybe that's why I felt so close to them growing up - I don't know. I haven't see that side of the family since my cousin Clayton's wedding, I feel like I've missed out on so much - and now I can't go to say goodbye.

So I'll remember the laughs and smiling times, the voice that said, "Do ya know what we saw outta that window?  A Moose!" with that wicked-smaht Massachusetts accent. Wicked Smaht...