Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, I feel more free to share the rest of my week with you, the well-informed reader. As you can imagine, winter residency (and summer, too, for that matter) is an intense week of workshops, lectures, and writing with little time for sleeping or resting. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, however, our benevolent leader did schedule a bit of a break for us on Wednesday that was much appreciated (especially by the 8 months pregnant lady with puffy feet!) Wednesday night I did return to school for a screening of the film, New York in the 50's, a documentary based on Dan Wakefield's book by the same name. Though the film did have the misfortune of being shown in the scorchingly overheated Hartness Auditorium, it managed to rise above the steamy circumstances to entertain and charm. The only downside was that Mr. Wakefield was ill and unable to be at the screening. So we're all saving our questions for the summer residency when we hope to see him again.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday went by in a haze of workshops, lectures, and vain attempts to find a comfortable chair and a place to prop up my feet. There were a few standouts, however. R.T. Smith's (yes, he's my mentor!) lecture on place in short fiction was amazing. Who else could read their lecture and still be so interesting and enlightening? Plus, he brought his Edgar Allen Poe action figure! Albert Goldbarth also made a last minute appearance in both a reading and lecture. On Thursday night he read with the always brilliant (and funny) Susan Tekulve, who read an essay on Scottish food and beverage. I also picked up a copy of her new book, Savage Pilgrims, which I can't wait to read. Albert Goldbarth's reading and lecture were both mind-blowing (and as always, entertaining.) My only regret was that the reading had to be held in Cleveland Hall, which managed to be both cold and uncomfortable. At least I got to sit next to the charming Peter Meinke and his wife during the reading. I can't remember the last time I met two kinder or more friendly people. (He's an amazing poet, too.) I can't wait to go to his reading at Converse at the end of the month (January 26.)
So, now it's all over. It's just me and my computer and a UPS guy loaded down with a massive book order. I have two deadlines before the baby gets here (let's hope she's not an early bird, which doesn't seem too likely considering her parents), not to mention the deadlines and work I'll have to do after she gets here. Here's hoping the muse does not forsake me. I've certainly been given more than enough practical advice and inspiring speeches to carry me through. I guess, now, it's up to me.
For those interested, here is a list of the books I purchased during Winter Residency and also my Reading List for the semester. Feel free to read along with any of these and let me know what you think!
Books I purchased:
Savage Pilgrims, Susan Tekulve (fiction)
Uke Rivers Delivers and The Calaboose Epistles, RT Smith (fiction)
To Be Read in 500 Years, Albert Goldbarth (poetry)
Winter 2010 Reading List:
Fiction 100 (anthology)
Lie That Tells The Truth, John Dufresne (craft book)
On Writing, Eudora Welty (craft book) *
Naming The World, Bret Anthony Johnston (craft book/exercises)
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner (fiction)
The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers (fiction)
The Optimist's Daughter, Eudora Welty (fiction) *
I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down, William Gay (short fiction)
The Art of Fiction, John Gardner (craft book)
* It's like Rod read my mind! I was so wanting to reading some Eudora Welty this term. I mean, I did go Flannery O'Connor mad last term, so it's only fair.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
- RT Smith, editor of Shenandoah (and my mentor this semester!) gave a reading of his new fiction on Saturday night, including a Southern re-telling of Rumplestiltskin.
- Sarah Kennedy's lecture on the prosy poem. I will now think of her at every poetry reading I attend, wondering if the next poem will "outstrip" me or simply take me along for the ride. Here's hoping for the former rather than the latter.
- Leslie Pietrzyk's (my fantastic former mentor) lecture on finding the story in your novel or short story. I love the practical way in which Leslie approaches writing. She always has such amazing tips and tricks to suggest, and it's so comforting to know that a writer of her caliber has to work hard and use tips and tricks, too.
- Having a 3 hour gab session with my favorite fellow student at Jason's Deli. I think we solved the problems of the world and completely dissembled each other's workshop pieces. Good times!
- Peter Meinke's reading of his poem about the undercover poetry reader.
- Tim McKee's (editor of Sun Magazine) lecture on "Surfacing Pearls" where he actually gave us lists of what he looks for as an editor and what not to do in your stories. Way to be the first editor/speaker we've had that was willing to be that specific!
- C. Michael Curtis' reading of some of the crazy cover letters he's received as editor of the Atlantic Monthly.
- Looking at really, really old issues of Concept while taking a workshop break in the Coker Room.
Today, I enjoyed a bit of a lie-in and a little blogging time, and this afternoon I have lots of writing to do after my weekly doctor's appointment. Here's hoping I'm able to write my re-imagining of "Hills Like White Elephants" and my point-of-view switch exercises before heading to the movie. Tomorrow it's back to the insanity, and Friday I get workshopped. I better start psyching myself up now.