By SCOTT QUEEN
Michael DeVault’s life is like his writing. It’s in chapters. And oftentimes his zeal to finish a chapter is driven by the unquenchable desire to begin the next one.
DeVault’s next chapter begins this month as he receives his MFA in Writing. It will also be the first time he steps on campus in St. Charles—he in an online student from Monroe, Louisiana. He will also be a student speaker during Lindenwood’s first-ever December graduation ceremony.
“I’m already a proud Lion,” DeVault said. “And even though I am coming to St. Charles for the first time, I have a feeling I’ll be back. I’ve been an online student, but I feel very connected.”
DeVault is a novelist—he’s in the middle of writing “The Devil That Brung You” right now. His “The Patriot Joe Morton,” was the first runner up for the 2010 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society gold medal in novella. Previous novels include “Anything But Ordinary” and “A Glimpse of Tuscany.”
When he’s not writing books, he’s writing magazine articles. DeVault is a contributing writer at BayouLife Magazine, a community magazine in Louisiana featuring Louisiana culture and local and national celebrities and newsmakers. He’s met and interviewed the stars of television and screen and political and social luminaries—including the Dalai Lama.
But that’s not all. DeVault also teaches four classes at Louisiana Delta Community College.
“I do have to prioritize and manage my time,” he said. “I still go to concerts occasionally, spend time at Starbucks, and listen to my daughter sing. But I have to budget my time. Work hard, play hard.”
DeVault found the MFA program at Lindenwood in a simple way—Google.
“I had never heard of Lindenwood before I started searching for an MFA program,” he said. “I was looking for an online MFA because I have commitments here and I didn’t want to leave the area. I knew I wouldn’t be going the traditional route of a three-year on ground MFA program.”
“Lindenwood came up in a Google search, so I checked it out.”
He said he found an accomplished faculty with impressive credentials. He applied, spent some time on the phone with faculty member Beth Mead, and waited for his acceptance letter. He was jubilant when it arrived. But he was anxious to write the next chapter.
“I dove in,” DeVault said. “I approached it like a job. But the payment wasn’t money, it was the grade. You get back what you put in.”
DeVault said Lindenwood’s faculty and staff treated him “like a regular student who was right in St. Charles. I feel like any other proud alum right now. But it is because of the way the online program nurtured me like any other student living in a dorm.”
DeVault said the faculty was accessible and engaged, as well as the financial aid office, business office and anyone else at Lindenwood.
“They knew me and they treated me well,” he said. “It didn’t make any difference being online. We built relationships . . . just the same was as I did when I got my bachelor’s degree.”
So now that the MFA is behind him, what’s next? “Maybe teaching at a four-year liberal arts college,” he said. “That’s the end game. This lifestyle is a huge time commitment.”
He’s just anxious to get started on the next chapter.