Friday, April 30, 2010

From Dreamland

This morning I had a dream in which my wife and I were architects. We were discussing how one handles criticism, and I deliberately tried to come up with a line to make her laugh. Here's what I said:

If you're lucky, you've got 140 stories of poured concrete howling, "Je suis! Je suis!" into the teeth of the winds of time.
Sounds like literature, don't it?  (And by the way, it did make her laugh -- but I had to wait until she woke up to tell her about it.)

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Character and Writers' Conferences

Poet laureate Kay Ryan writes about attending the monster writer's conference put on annually by Associated Writing Programs (AWP) in 2005:

I have a weak character. I am very susceptible to other people's
enthusiasms, at times actually courting them. I like to sit among people
who feel strongly about a basketball team, say, and get excited with
them. I love to love ouzo with ouzo lovers. These are, of course, innocent
examples. But this weakness concerns me in going to AWP. If I'm
exposed to the enthusiasms of others, I know that I am capable of
betraying my deepest convictions, laughing in the face of a lifetime of
hostility to instruction, horror at groupthink. The only way I've ever
gotten along in this world is by staying away from it; I have had only
enough character to keep myself out of situations that require character.
Now here I am, going to AWP. HOW am I going to remember:
these people are THE SPAWN OF THE DEVIL? They will seem like
individuals, not deadly white threads of the great creative writing
From Kay Ryan's "I Go to AWP," from Poetry, 2005.

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