Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Week Two

This week on campus:

There's an article in the student newspaper about how blogs are "the end of writing as we know it" partly because "it's impossible to have an original voice." Seems to me, though, that, given how new blogging is, there are greater opportunities for original voices in blogs than in any other literary medium. Nevertheless, I feel accused.

On Wednesday I taught my first workhsop, accompanied by the usual feeling that I've had pig's blood poured on my head and the entire room is laughing at me. My students are sweet and polite, though, and would never do such a thing. They're also excellent writers. We did the exercise where I call out 6 random words -- 1 per minute -- and they have to use them in the same scene. They read these scenes aloud, and I was very impressed by their imaginations, clarity and range of voices.

Among other texts, we're reading a chapter from Charles Baxter's *The Feast of Love* for next week, and also the first couple chapters of Francine Prose's wonderful *Reading Like A Writer.* Then, the week after, the actual workshopping begins.

I spent some time with my parents at the house where I grew up, also known as the Land of a Thousand Sadnesses. My mother had a bad reaction to her most recent medication, and spent most of Saturday night in tears and intense stomach pain. I spent the rest of my days there dealing with doctors and pharmacists and doing internet research and hearing stories about all my parents' friends who are dying. At the same time, I started reading Robert Ferro's novel The Family of Max Desir, which was recommended to me. It's beautifully written, but turns out it's about a gay Italian guy and his sick mother, so I've set it aside. Not sure if I'll ever be able to read it.

I've also done some writing when possible, and, after five sessions, I have 4600 new words. That's huge production for me, so, for that, I'm grateful.

-Christopher Castellani





3 comments:

Daniel said...

Everyone bashes blogs & then laud the book Jamestown – written in blog form (with some online chat). Seriously people?

bbridges@bcmn.com said...

I invite you to my house on the beach in Maine. Have a retreat!!

Chateau Mer enjoys facilities which will make your experience creative, relaxing and productive. http://www.bridgescreate.com/
Come and share my wonderful, creative and inspiring cottage.
The cottage has a beautiful hand made tile fireplace with plenty of wood and a 16 foot pine table for large group dining, discussions and meetings. There is a nature trail with cross country skiing in the winter and, of course, our 2-mile long Sandy Point Beach. The cottage has a studio with fiber (4 harness and back strap looms), sculpture - found/mosaics/tiles/wood, painting, drawing and general supplies for creative team building activities.
We also have access to the Sandy Point Community Hall for large space activities such as dancing, movement, performances, yoga, writing. or theater. The Sandy Point Community Hall was founded in 1823 and is within walking distance of the cottage. The Inn at French’s Point may be rented for more formal events you might plan. http://www.rfpmaine.com/splash.php
This property is located in Sandy Point, Maine, a town of 50 people, at the mouth of Penobscot Bay. You will have your own private cove on a mile long sandy beach with screen house and postmodern found furniture and fire pit. It is 30 miles from both Bar Harbor (Acadia National Park), and Camden (home of the tall ships schooner fleet). It is very unique property built by an artist/professor and engineer; including a Brazilian granite counter in the kitchen, a nine piece light sculpture in the great room, a handmade tile grotto bathroom and fireplace in great room and Mexican suite full of objets d'art found on travels throughout Latin America. There are two decks and the entire water side of the house has ocean views.

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