Stories, Art, Food, Teaching, Travel, and the other Loves of my Life

Stories, Art, Food, Teaching, Travel, and the other Loves of my Life
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do / With your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Writing

Spent yesterday afternoon in a coffee shop with two of my "students," who have published way more than I have, and who are older than my parents.

It was such an awesome time. They were kind enough to read the excerpt of my novel that I'm sending the agent, and they know next to nothing about me, so it was great to hear about what was going through their minds as they were reading.

I have a lot to think about, writing wise. Figuring out the "occasion for the story" is never my strong point, 99 times out of 100, it was because I had a deadline. Now, I don't. And even if I did, that's a shitty occasion. I really have to think about it. Writing is a lot like problem solving, and in my own work, I have a hard time seeing the problems. Once I do, it's usually pretty easy for me to find the solution, and fix it, even if the only feedback I get is abstract (oh, Workshop, did you think I'd forget so soon?!), and along the lines of "putting pressure on the moment," "pushing this further," "peeling this back." Somehow, that jargon makes sense to me, and I can run with it.

But, I've never written a novel before. It's so hard to manage. I'm starting to agree more and more with James' definition of when a short story becomes a novel: when it becomes a "baggy monster."

In other news, my favorite/ brightest/ most eager HS student (not that I have favorites) is starting an independent study with me. We're reading the entire collection of Updike's edition of The Best American Short Stories of the Century and we're hoping to finish by 2011. Wheeeee!!!!


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