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


Daniel said...

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

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