Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Too big for Twitter

"It's such a loved picture--the alienated, isolated, individual writer, beleagured but fiercely alone. A loved picture, but a truly lethal one. Because if we buy it completely, it keeps us single, weak, disconnected, vulnerable." --Toni Morrison, "For a Heroic Writers Movement"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm back, I guess

So I know you've all been thinking I spent my summer watching "Mad Men" and punking my fellow faculty, but I didn't. I don't even like "Mad Men." (I know, that is surprising, isn't it? I was surprised.) People sometimes complain writing is invisible work, but I like it that way. If the folks at the coffee shop start to recognize me, I switch coffee shops. Really I'd prefer not to talk much about my writing or even necessarily my reading. But I do it for you, because I feel like talking about my process is part of what I signed on for when I became that semi-public figure known as a writing professor. So even if I was invisible for the summer, you should know, I wasn't doing nothing. Not most of the time anyway. Naturally I read quite a bit (including David Copperfield and the first two volumes of Proust, who I am in love love love with), I have a short-short coming out in Pank magazine, and an essay coming out in Creative Nonfiction, and I have seven stories in various states of dress. They all have openings at least and so here, for the time being anyway, are seven first sentences. Just so you know I'm still here.

"In the last years of the nineteenth century, the third strongest man in the world was said to be a Turk named Yusuf Ismail, known in his homeland as Yusuf the Great, or Yusuf the Large, and known everywhere else as the Terrible Turk, the first of a line of legendary, savage, monstrously large wrestlers all called, one after the other, the Terrible Turk."

"There were nearly 6,000 speeches given to 700,000 people."

"While we waited we were visited by the ghosts of the girls who had already died, those who were closest to the explosion, in the kitchen sneaking butter and bread when the gas ignited, the ones who died immediately, in a sense without injury, the girls who died explosively."

"It was the age of automatons and already there was a fly made of brass, a mechanical tiger, a peacock, a swan, an eight foot elephant, and a duck that swallowed a piece of grain and excreted a small pellet."

"His eyes were frequently inflamed and he feared going blind."

"Soon there will be a girl who will not eat."

"Most nights, Isabel could see, through the bedroom window of her Istanbul apartment, the writer James Baldwin at work at his kitchen table in his own apartment across the road."

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I have decided to take ten of my older short stories, previously available only in hard copies of various hard-to-find literary magazines, and make them available as an e-book on Lulu. For a mere $5.99, you could have your very own download: https://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/things-to-do/12091953.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Recommended Reading

I am really really liking this story by (admittedly one of my dear mentors) Melissa Pritchard: "Pelagia, Holy Fool".