Monday, December 1, 2008

Annotated Bibliography G4/Goddard

  1. Zamyatin, Yevgeny. We. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.
      Zamyatin's dystopia offers a grim representation of a world to come where people are desperately building a space ship to search for beings on other worlds to relieve them of the primitive system called freedom. Zamyatin's use of color in descriptions of the main character D-503 is striking. The notion of color perception by a character as he gains consciousness crept into my thought as I wrote early drafts of my creative thesis.
  2. Faulkner, William. "That Evening Sun." 50 Great Short Stories. Ed. Milton Crane. New York: Bantam Books, 1952. 352-367.
    Faulkner's short story “That Evening Sun” is a great lesson in dialog attribution. Everything revealed is discovered through the voices of the characters. Often times there are upwards of five characters speaking at one time and several conversations going on at once, making the important lesson of dialog attribution apt in this story. In studying this story, the importance of attribution is crucial in helping the reader to understand who is speaking.
  3. Carver, Raymond. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Stories. New York: Vintage Books, 1982.
    Carver's collection, especially the title story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” is another lesson in dialog and attribution. Throughout this story, there is generally only one character speaking at once, their individual voices are strong enough that there is little question of who speaks. As a juxtaposition Carver's dialog attribution is hypnotic with its repetition, whereas Faulkner's becomes cumbersome.
  4. Conroy, Frank. Stop-Time. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
    Conroy's memoir Stop-Time is his account of his early years through adolescence. Thematically the final chapters of Conroy's book are similar to my manuscript. Reading these final chapters of a young narrator in a student exchange program was valuable in the formation of some of my thoughts as I placed my narrator in a similar situation. In descriptions of distant events, Conroy uses the past tense for the majority of the narrative, and when the description needs urgency he uses the present tense. The tense shift serves to draw attention to the poignancy of individual scenes.
  5. Kosinski, Jerzy. The Painted Bird. New York: Grove Press, 1995.
Kosinski's unnamed narrator moves through the Polish countryside between 1937 and 1946. This narrator is dark skinned, either Jew or Gypsy, neither being safe during the Nazi occupation. As the narrator moves through one village to the next he is either turned away or accepted. The narrator's growth comes through his adversity. This novel was the basis for my long critical paper on literature about Poland during the Second World War.
  1. Colette. "The Other Wife." Trans. Matthew Ward. Sudden Fiction International. Ed. Robert Shapard and James Thomas. New York: WW Norton, 1989. 67-70.
    In this compact story Colette's development of character is potent in the scant action and dialog. The husband, Marc, emerges quickly as a believable and well-drawn character. In this short space, character development happens so quickly that it gave insight to the possibility of adding the secondary character, Ian, in my manuscript. The description of body language and instant conflict produces a well executed character in this short space.
  2. Bowles, Paul. The Stories of Paul Bowles. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, INC, 2001.
    Often set in Morrocco, the stories of Paul Bowles have an instantly mystic quality. The Moroccans are typically Moslem, the French are Catholic, and the differences between the city people and the country folk are the beginnings of conflict. In one noteworthy short story, “Midnight Mass,” Bowles celebrates the diversity with humor: “Three Moslems, one Hindu and one atheist, all running off to Midnight Mass? Ridiculous, no?” (Bowles 425) Using the juxtaposition of different people was of interest to my manuscript, where there are Germans, Americans, Irish and Africans living together.
  3. Alameddine, Rabih. I, the Divine. WW Norton: New York, 2001.
    Alameddine's I, the Divine is a novel written entirely in the first chapter. The narrator, Sarah, is writing her memoir, and cannot get past the first chapter. Amazingly enough, reading the various starts and stops of each new first chapter, the novel almost has a linear approach. Nonetheless, the novel is written in an episodic fashion.
  4. Schulz, Bruno. The Street of Crocodiles. New York: Viking Penguin, 1977.
    Schulz uses mythological archetypes to describe his family members during his early life in Drogobych, Poland. I used The Street of Crocodiles, as one of three main sources in my long critical paper. The real pleasure in The Street of Crocodiles is the tragedy of its author. Bruno Schulz's contribution to literature (and his life) was cut short when he was killed by Nazi bullets during Black Thursday.
  5. Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. Bantam: New York,1974.
I assigned A Separate Peace by John Knowles to the students in my teaching practicum workshop. In the course of the Tea Room Writer's Workshops we covered memory and biography, characterization, writing dialog, and development of setting. A Separate Peace was a fantastic example on all fronts. Lastly, as a group we read this novel, and I considered it critical as a tool for better fiction writing.

  1. Yates, Richard. The Easter Parade. Picador: New York, 1976.
    The Easter Parade follows the lives of three women Emily and Sarah Grimes, and their mother Pookie, over several years. Richard Yates alludes in the opening paragraph that their lives are destined to be bad because of their parents divorce. Although the novel covers Emily Grimes the most of the three, there is a whole cast of secondary characters who push the plot of her life along. The secondary characters are not nearly as developed, but they help to develop the Emily character. Her father, Walter Grimes, the life-partners: Jack Flanders, and Howard Dunninger are the three principle secondary characters who develop Emily for the reader.
  2. Miller, Henry. Quiet Days in Clichy. New York: Grove Press, INC, 1965.
    As clichéd as it may be, Henry Miller's Quiet Days in Clichy cannot be judged by its title, because days filled with sex and prostitutes, booze and crowded cafes hardly qualify as quiet. In the opening pages of the novel Miller makes beautiful the squalid conditions of his Paris. Since Miller was living in New York during the writing of this novel, the richness of his Paris comes from the comparison of the two cities. Similarly, the main character in my creative thesis is also living between two cities, Oakland, CA and Ansbach, Germany, and he often compares the two cities.
  3. Kotzwinkle, William. Elephant Bangs Train. Clinton, Massachusetts: The Colonial Press, 1971.
    William Kotzwinkle's Elephant Bangs Train is a collection of short stories, three of which were the basis of my second short critical paper. “A Most Incredible Meal,” “Elephant's Graveyard,” and the title story, “Elephant Bangs Train” all included elephants as a major theme or motif. Kotzwinkle's elephant stories develop more meaning and imagination than the myths on which they are based.
  4. Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley. New York: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 1992.
    The effective use of Highsmith's third-person narration separates the reader from the inner most of Tom Ripley's emotional intentions and makes his actions the plot itself. The plot is action from Tom Ripley's early attempts at IRS fraud to the covering up of murder. The well executed third-person narration makes the novel more exciting than it would have been if written from a first-person point of view. Having written my thesis in the first person, I heavily considered changing the perspective after reading The Talented Mr. Ripley.
  5. Bellow, Saul. Seize the Day. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1966.
    The entire action of Saul Bellow's Seize the Day covers the course of just one day. Bellow's use of exposition is brilliant, as Tommy Wilhelm's entire life, and all of his failings are made clear from his ride in an elevator before breakfast to the last scene at a funeral shortly after lunch. The limited time-line of the story is astonishing when superimposed on the amount of history Bellow uses to develop the Tommy character. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Process Paper G4-3/Goddard

Contents:
The General Bibliography revision
The Annotated Bibliography revision
Course Equivalents revision
Student Evaluation


Dear John,

I don't know where to begin. I can hardly believe this is my last process letter. As I sit down to it on this cold November morning, I'm at a loss for something to say. It's Veteran's Day. In the past I've taken Veteran's Day off from work to drink beer at the American Legion, but today it's different. Although I have never enjoyed drinking beer, I have always enjoyed talking to the salty old timers at the legion hall. Rather than swapping war stories, the conversation generally shifts to the shrinking members. Here's the conflict: yes, the American Legion and the VFW are great organizations, but the members are combat soldiers. As far as I'm concerned, my only wish is that both organizations dwindle to nothing as old soldiers die and there is no more war in the world to perpetuate such clubs. It's funny that I can tell you I enjoyed the Army and the war immensely, but I would gladly deny the experience to others. And today for the first time in years, I didn't request the night off from work. In a strange way, I'm actually looking forward to hustling tables tonight.

I trust the election went well for you. I was pleased that Colorado fell to the blue in the national election. Most of our state representatives are democratic, as well with most of Denver's city council. I think this is the first election I voted for the democrats solely. Incidentally, Obama is the first presidential candidate to receive both my vote and win the election. More importantly than the politicians, we had some terrifying ballot issues here in Colorado. The worst one was an amendment defining personhood at conception. Thank goodness that one didn't pass, can you imagine? Oh, Colorado, how we love to change the State Constitution. Fortunately, the local stuff all worked out for the best, I think.

My house has come off the market. I will be staying here a little longer than I really wanted to, but such is the way of things. I suppose the world will still be waiting for me when I get around to it. In the meantime, I cannot begin to explain my gratitude for a place to live and a job to fulfill. I've been reading these dystopias for so long now, I think daily life begins to border on the absurd. And speaking of dystopias, I've been living a true brave new world as of late. Huxley, as you may know, thought that all people by the end of the 20th century would all be on drugs to make them feel a certain way. Well, I started taking Chantix recently. It's a drug to stop smoking. Several people I know have taken it, and when my cousin started, I started with her. I must admit I was very conflicted about it. I'll be damned if it isn't working. I never thought I'd do it, but it's been an interesting experience so far.

Well, let me tell you about packet five. I made some of the suggested revisions and a few revisions of my own. Additionally, I have enclosed my student evaluation. I believe I've sent all the required work. It's staggering the amount of loose ends there are during the final semester.

Thank you for the kind words on the returned manuscript. I did not notice you took longer than the allotted amount of time. In fact, had you not mentioned it, I would not have noticed. If I've learned anything about myself during this program, I am very careful to meet the deadline. I do not care about the timeliness of the response. Perhaps I should have told you about that last year... At any rate, I am grateful for all your energy and diligence with my work. Believe me when I tell you I have valued our relationship and I have learned a great deal. Incidentally, I expect an annotation assignment when I arrive at Goddard in January.


Thanks again John. Be well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Process Letter G4-4/Goddard

Dear John and Jeanne,

I hope all is well with the both of you. As the autumn here in Denver is already ending and the cold weather approaches, it seems like so long ago that I sent off the first copy to you. It has been an interesting process this for me this fall, as I'm just getting an idea of the logistics of the protocol of the reading of students' manuscripts. It seems crazy how short of a time the readers have with students' work. As I think about it, I can't help thinking about my cohort Rob Bass, who told me last summer that his manuscript is already 600 pages. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I would never endeavor to read such a long book, much less write one. In short, I thank you both for the consideration on the first read of From Ansbach to Color, as well as a thanks for this second read.

To be honest, John, I don't remember where the title came from, or why the order of Ansbach and Color changed. I had a working title of 'Oma', but that proved to be so boring. Oma is not, nor has she ever been a big part of the story. I think I used Oma for the title during the first semester due to the chapter “So Etwas” because that was where I began writing the story. The title as it is emerged around the time I read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. Although my manuscript and his novel have so very little in common, I can imagine one similarity. He uses color to describe the terrible state of the world in his dystopia where things are gray or white. But as his main character D-503 meets his mate I-330, Zamyatin describes their world with more color. Color for these characters emerge with their enlightenment and love. I was taken by his descriptions, as I was conceiving ideas like this of my own, I don't think it was outright imitation. The chapter “987” for instant, is all about color. It's the playful manner in which Aisling sees the world, defining the color of the world with numbers found on paint swatches. There is a little autobiographical note here, I spent a year in the custom framing business. I worked with a woman who would often describe to me the color of a sunset, or autumn leaves on trees with matting numbers. As I think about it, there was a Crescent Acid Free mat called 1025a which was a lilac color she often referred to when telling me about a mountain sunset. So, when it comes to the title of the book, I don't remember the particulars of how it came about, or why, but I like.

There have been some rather obvious changes in the manuscript. I took Jeanne's advice in the opening chapter “In Lieu” by cutting that down to about two pages. I realized that it went on way too long. This chapter was one of the last I wrote, and it really didn't do much for the story. In the early conception of this chapter, all I wanted out of it was the death of Frau Gernhert. That was easily conveyed in a much shorter space. “Lightning in the Upstairs Room,” although fun to write, was another chapter that got cut outright. After reading some of your notes I realized that it was a chapter that did nothing for the overall plot. Some of the less obvious places where trimming occurred are sprinkled throughout the story. The first few weeks of the revision, I'm afraid, was the process of removing unimportant material. I find it amazing how easy it was to cut so much, an activity akin to what I do with the shrubs and trees in my garden. Needless to say, I removed almost twenty pages during this process, and that accounts for about ten percent of the manuscript you read back in August. I am happy with the change.

Thematically, I thought heavily about some questions John had about Carmichael and his past. Questions about how he got to Germany, was he missed at home, is he a runaway, etc. The addition of a rather obvious exposition was needed, for sure, but I didn't want to lose the flavor of the episodic nature of the story. These elements needed careful placement. For instance, cousin Joseph is often times on Carmichael's mind, but what happened to him? During the McDonald's scene with Frau Gernhert, as Carmichael reminisces about hamburgers and fries, I found the ideal time to give the account of cousin Joseph's death. As an activity in exposition, I'm pleased with what happened: a juxtaposition between a fast food apple pie and death.

I did not differ in the overall feeling that the chapters with dramatic conflict were the more successful chapters in the manuscript. The addition of conflict came in very small packages throughout the piece. Like the exposition of cousin Joseph's death, I added some more back story to Carmichael. He, of course, would have needed help escaping Oakland and Social Services. His help came in the form of Principal Siemens, a character new to you during this read. Although I had trepidation about adding a new character this late in the process, I think it was needed. Principal Siemens doesn't have too much page time, but he was the catalyst to Carmichael's German adventure. I must admit, the Principal Siemens character was a well needed element. It's funny how one small change can produce so much more work. Although he is an authority figure, I wanted to make him benevolent like many of the male figures in the story. I think I was successful with it. While this character's function was to fill in the gaps of Carmichael's logistical existence in Germany, I found it to help push the plot as well.

I have not talked with any of my classmates about their experience with the G4 schedule of packets. I found the amount of time given to be sufficient. I believe the amount of time between the return of packet one and the sending of packet four is appropriate. Although I'm satisfied with my work, I think I could go on and on with this manuscript. Even now, I can think of at least a dozen things I could do with it, and perhaps once this semester is finished, I will continue work on it. However, any changes I may make when not strapped with deadlines will be more organic. In the meantime, I believe in the process this semester has taken, and I'm pleased to give the manuscript to you now.

Thanks for your time and consideration.



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Process Letter G4-3

Contents:
Annotation 7: The Member of the Wedding
Annotation 8: The Bear
The General Bibliography
The Annotated Bibliography
Course Equivalents


Dear John,

I find it amazing how the subconscious can juxtapose the damnedest things. I spent last night at my girlfriend's place, and although this happens a few times a week, I always have the strangest dreams. She lives on the fifth floor of a high rise above 13th Ave which is a busy one street going into downtown. She leaves the door open at night, so the ambient sounds of the city come in. This is pleasant at night, but the morning traffic is so invasive, that I wonder how healthy it is? By comparison, my house is in a quiet residential neighborhood, and when here, we wake up to the sounds of birds and crickets. Anyhow, while still asleep, the sound of traffic was invading my dream in an odd way. The dream was the worst kind. Occasionally, I dream I'm in the military again. Although I reflect on my experience with a sort of bitter-sweet fondness, these military dreams are horrifying. It's like I'm the man I am today and I'm stuck being in the Army, and the fear of this is simply that I don't want to be there. So, in this Army dream, the dorms at Goddard where like military barracks, and you and our advising group were a squad on our way to graduation. I was panicked because I was not prepared for whatever it was we were supposed to do. The panic worsened as I was shuffling through papers trying to find what it was I needed to do. The sound of the shuffling papers was so loud that I was getting more and more stressed about the activity. As I woke up in a freight, the sound of the traffic five floors down proved to be the same sound as the shuffling of papers. I realize that so much of the horror of a dream is lost in the telling that the recount here seems silly. Janice was in the kitchen, nearly ready to leave for work when I charged through looking for my notebook. I had this horrible fear that I missed a deadline- the deadline for this packet. Needless to say, it's already been an intense day. As I write this letter, the sense of urgency has subsided somewhat, but I'm still feeling kind of funny.

Life in Denver is getting more and more frustrating. If I let my mind wander outside of Denver, I realize life everywhere is frustrating. Can you believe the climate of the country right now? These last few weeks have been unbelievable, haven't they? The political, economic and well-being of the country, as crazy as it sounds, has been on my mind in recent weeks. Business has slowed down somewhat, my house still hasn't sold, nor do I think it will any time soon. And the looks on people's faces as I wander the streets of Denver are dreadful. Last Sunday night I went to the PS Lounge, a Greek bar on East Colfax, for a drink. Knowing my tendency with gin, I opted to bring only ten dollars which is a rough translation of two gins and a tip. The bar was empty, there were two Russians in a booth shouting at one another in their own tongue. At the bar, Pete, the old Greek who owns the place was talking to the bartender. I've never seen the place with an equal number of patrons to workers. I waved to Pete when I sat down. “Hello Thin man,” he said. He calls me this because of the years I ran a bar called the Thinman. As I settled into the first G & T he came over to sit with me. We talked about the good times. He recounted the forty years of the PS Lounge. He kept buying me drinks. The Russians were behind us, their conversation reaching fortissimo. I kept wondering, how are things going to continue here in town? Economic ruin is one thing, loss of morale is something else, but why does it have to happen in the Autumn? Things are so much more grim as the threat of winter approaches. And that's when it occurred to me, it's time to dig-in for wintertime. An economic winter, what a thought, right? Well, as midnight approached the PS Lounge, I left. The cool walk home through the neighborhoods, city park and the golf course would be a quiet and welcomed treat. There were no cars on the street, no people walking, and I didn't see a single prostitute on Colfax. The sheer abandonment of town was something I'd never seen before, not even during the wild snow storms of March. Has the mood here changed that drastically, or is it my perception of things? Well, John, what do you think? Are you noticing similar things in Norfolk?

In other Denver news, I've stayed quite busy. I'm going to be interviewing filmmakers, and audience members at the second annual G.I. Joe film festival on October 9th. This film festival is so weird. It's stop-motion animation with those little G.I. Joe dolls. Check it out at www.gijoefest.com, you'll agree, it's weird. I know the producers of the festival, and it is a great honor to work with them. I guess the interviews are part of a documentary to help them promote the festival. I got a sneak peak last weekend, and it is exciting. Oh, and Saturday I got a hard copy of “The Speer Bridge” which was a short (7 minutes) film I acted in last May. If you're interested in seeing it, I'll figure out a way to put it on the Internet. “The Speer Bridge” is the third film I've been in, and I can say the finished product is much more interesting than the process. It's probably an ego thing with me, I like to see the finished product, but I think the work is so boring. During this project, I wasn't even close to being off book when I showed up for the first shoot. The scenes are done again and again and again and again, well, you get the idea- it's boring. This short is pretty cool, the director did a good job.

Well, down to business, I send you packet three with great excitement. All these odds and ends were pretty easy to accomplish once I got started. The bibliographies, as I stated in my Process Paper, would have been more beneficial had I done them at the end of each semester. Likewise, the same is true for the course equivalents. I am grateful to have these things as a requirement for the program. Having these finished at the end of the program, it really gives me a sense of accomplishment which is something I value. Additionally, I have the last two annotations included. There isn't much I want to say about them.

Work on my manuscript is going well. I did look up Aisling, you were right, I had that misspelled. Aisling means dream, which I knew, but what I didn't know is that it is a relatively new name. You and Jeanne differed on one major point. Your thoughts on Aisling were very different than those of Jeanne's. Jeanne thinks the major relationship in the story is that between Carmichael and Frau Gernhert, rather than the Carmichael and Aisling. Needless to say, that has been a difficult thing to think about. I'm starting to think more about Frau Gernhert, and those thoughts are helping me out. I'm pleased with the focus on her character and that relationship. I've had a great mode of work too. I realized today after the fear of the dream was wearing off that I have only three weeks left to work on this before submission. What a thought that is. I'm pleased with my work habits, and I'm pleased with the project too. I suppose if I'm honest, I'm pleased that it is almost complete, and my, how fast the time goes.


Well, until next time John, be well. I look forward to your response. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Process Letter G4-2/Goddard

Contents:

Annotation 2: “Kneller's Happy Campers”
Annotation 3: Things that Hang from Trees
Annotation 4: The Fox
Annotation 5: The Easter Parade
Annotation 6: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Process Paper


Dear John,

Thank you for the prompt return of packet one. For some reason I thought the manuscript didn't come back until the third packet. In a way, I'm glad this was my misunderstanding. While I was planning the semester, I made sure everything else was finished early so I could focus on the revisions. So, I am grateful indeed to be able to focus so heavily on my manuscript.

I find it funny at how small this packet feels. Not counting this process letter, I only have 30 pages written, which makes this the shortest packet to date. I've already got all my work finished for packet number three, and that packet is almost half the size of this one. Again, more time to work on my manuscript.

Things are settling down here in Denver. The DNC was unbelievable. I thought about you so often during the daily events. It's unfortunate you couldn't have been here for it. The crowds of people were astonishing for the relatively peaceful streets of Denver. As an aside, I've seen crowds of people in my time, hell, I lived in Mexico City. I've known a crowd. These crowds were different. The marching protests ran the gamut. Of course, anytime there is a group of twenty people, the Jesus-folks always show up. Their banners and chants reminded me of those cyclops men in The City of Lost Children. The preachy ones always baffle me, I mean, really, what do they do in their everyday lives? The anti-war folks made me happy, I'm glad they still exist. Even the silly signs “make love, not war” made me giddy. I suppose I have always believed as much, but rather than saying such things myself, I'm generally busy making love, or trying to. There was even a group of people trying to stop bird porn. Yes, that's right, bird porn. Apparently, looking at birds causes sexual arousal. Now taking that one step further, John McCain is an avid bird watcher. The people on the streets were such a treat to see.
The mood of the entire convention was positive. People were happy, excited, and a feeling of hope pervaded. During the nightly speeches, every restaurant, every store, and everyone with a radio downtown had every word blasting. People were cheering in the streets. It reminded me of all the ticker-tape parades of LIFE photographs of times gone past. And above all, we were making some serious money. I've been in the service industry for a long time, and I have made great money, and this convention reminded me of the olden days when people had money, and people went out. I suppose that was a time before fear rose and the economy fell. For the first time in many, many months, my optimism has grown. I don't believe the next DNC will have the same mood that this one had, but sometime in your life, promise me you'll see one. I suppose the GOP would be something to see too, if you like police, bullets, gas, and one anger mob.

Other news in Denver, autumn is near, and my house hasn't sold yet.

The packet work was pretty easy for me to do this go around. My annotations were fun, mostly I enjoyed the reading. Etgar Keret's novella was more stunning the second time I read it. I'll get into that more in a minute. I enjoyed reading The Fox more than I liked annotating it. I think of all the books and annotations I've been through, this is the first time for that. I'm sure there are entire courses out there on this little book. By contrast, I loved annotating Mark Haddon's book. Funny thing too, it was one of the worst books I've ever read. If you should meet Mark Haddon at a party, please don't tell him, and heaven forbid he should read anything of mine. Incidentally, the biggest treat of the entire semester's reading list was The Easter Parade by Richard Yates. I grateful to have read it, and I can honestly say I've never read anything like it. I chose to write my annotation on the secondary characters, but there was something much more striking about the novel on a personal level. The year in the opening of the book is 1930, and it opens with divorce. As I thought about the lives of the Grimes sisters, the dates of the novel's events became more interesting. Yates wrote the book in 1976. I was born in 1972, making me the tail end of Generation X. My parents, like so many of my generation were divorced when I was young. I know parents are still divorcing today, but not like it was in the 1970s. I think his book was popular in its day because of this pandemic of divorce, parenting and childhood. I'm sure this statement would have to have plenty of research, so I'm leaving you with a thank you for the recommendation, the novel meant something to me.

Back to Etgar Keret. I could loosely place this book into the dystopia genre. I've become very interested in the dystopia during my time at Goddard. Shortly before I started at Goddard, I reread Orwell's 1984, and Huxley's Brave New World. My first semester, I happened to chance upon Zamyatin's WE, which absolutely blew my mind. In the same fashion, Keret's “Kneller's Happy Camper's” was similar to the others. There was a society slight off from regular life, there was a girl, and a quest. What struck me was ideal in Keret's story was how cool and hip they were, and how simple the desires of the characters were. I doubt Keret's book will go down in history as one of the great dystopia's of the 21st century, but it is worth the read.

Since I have already written all the annotations I need to, my reading has taken a different turn. I recently read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and it has replaced Wuthering Heights as my favorite novel. Shelley had a bit of the taste of the dystopia, but that's not why I loved it so much. I'm still puzzling over who the narrator really was, was it Mrs Saville who received letters from Robert Walton who retold the story told by Victor Frankenstein himself? Brilliant. I followed up Shelley's novel with a curious little science fiction novel by Pierre Boulle. Neither one of the 2001 or the 1968 film adaptations could give Boulle's Planet of the Apes the justice it deserved. Boulle's views on animal testing are very clear, and the human race in his story get their just rewards. The next book on the docket is the grandfather of dystopia: Utopia by Thomas More. I guess when it comes down to this dystopian interest of mine, these books can never exist unless there was once a utopia. And I don't believe any of these books can come true for us, as we have never had utopia. We live in a mis-topia, I suppose, but the satyr in these novels are stimulating.

Well, enough of this droning on, at least for now. Thanks again for the quick reply on my manuscript. I have looked over your notes, and I tend to agree with most of what you've said. As far as the comma splices at the end of the dialogue in the story, I was completely unconscious of it. I see the errors of my way now, and I assure you these are the first items to be corrected. I look forward to the work with excitement.

Thanks for all your hard work, patience and diligence, I appreciate working with you.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Final Process Paper G4/Goddard

The Process
During my first residency I must have heard “trust the process” at least a hundred times. As allusive as that statement seemed to me, it still got me thinking. Trust the process, I thought, I so seldom trust anything. However, during the months to ensue, I began to see the process. At first, I thought why don't these people tell me to simply see the process? After the first semester, and after seeing the process, I thought, well, I should be working the process. There are so many processes to be worked after all, the process of putting each packet in order for deadlines, and within each packet, a process letter. Then there was the process of getting to the residencies, getting a study plan together, the process of all the paperwork, and I suppose, the process of the program as a whole. Meanwhile, there was the process of learning how to work, and a process of thinking about the work. As cliché as it might seem, the process of reflecting on this experience is what's happening as I'm now finishing the program.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Process Letter G4-1/Goddard

Dear John and Jeanne,

Well, I hope your summer has gone well, filled with all sorts of summer activities, and vacations. I'm settling in fine here in Denver after a very long and hot summer. They say it's been the hottest summer since 1903, and I can only imagine how miserable 1903 must have been. We have had a bit of a reprieve in recent days which has been great. During these cooler days I've been able to venture outside and strip the peaches and plums from the trees in the back yard. Needless to say, I've had my fill of fruit for now. My house is still on the market, it's been about 9 weeks, and I've had 21 showings so far. This is important because should the house sell, I will be moving. When the time comes I will send both of you the updated addresses.

The universe has been working with me these late weeks. Fortunately, I've been able to work on my manuscript a great deal, and I've been able to accomplish most of the other tasks required of me during this last semester. In short, I've finished all the requirements, and I send this first packet with great relief and excitement. Directly after the residency when I got home, I took care to be organized and spent my time wisely. I believe the greatest asset I've acquired during my time at Goddard is wise time management. Of course, there were (and still are) several unknowns I face this last semester, namely the sale of my house. Additionally, the Democratic National Convention will be starting this weekend here in Denver. I'm still working in a restaurant downtown and we are very convention dependent. Honestly, I look forward to this next week with a certain amount of dread. I hope is all goes over well with a minimum amount of problems. I don't particularly care to work long hours, but there is such a possibility for money, something I can't pass up.

Sending From Color to Ansbach is such a relief to me. Some of my challenges have included making a flow of plot events, enhancing some of the smaller conflicts for greater resolution for the Carmichael character, and the spelling of German words. The over all plot makes better sense to me now, and I believe this understanding has developed because I directed my annotations and reading ambitions to the study of plot. I cannot begin to explain the impact John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, especially the plotting chapter, has done for me.

Jeanne- From Color to Ansbach is a coming of age story about a young American in an exchange program in Germany. Being a seventeen year old boy, recently orphaned, he comes to Germany to avoid being placed in foster homes in the United States. The main character, Carmichael, is learning many things, how to live in Germany, how to be a student, and most importantly, how to live life. The story is episodic in nature, partly due to the lack of continuity of a young narrator's life and point of view, and partly due to the way the story was written. Although I felt some success during many periods of the writing of this story, there were many troubling times too. In recent months I've spent my time working out the roughness of the troubling points. After amassing several chapters, I've tried to make all parts of the story flow.
Lastly, John was gracious enough to read the first draft last April or May, and I took all of his suggestions and critiques seriously, and even conceded to a few.

John- I do believe this draft is the best incarnation of FCTA yet. Close readings of a few novellas early this summer (“Things that Hang from Trees,” and “Kneller's Happy Campers”) have helped me realize that episodic writing is okay when tightly written. I don't think I've been able to revise the Brautigan feel out of the story too much, as there still is a dreamy quality remaining. I was able to control some of the looser parts for a better feeling of continuity.

In the meantime, I hope the manuscript is a pleasure to read. I'm eager to understand the process from this point. Unlike every other packet, I realize I won't be seeing this packet returned for a few months. I will included two address labels, one for my current address, and the second being my new address. As I said earlier I will have to email you with which address to use, as soon as I can.


I look forward to working with both of you during this process. Be well.   

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Altering Personality in The Member of the Wedding (Annotation G4-7/Goddard)

A major theme of Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding is the concept of belonging. Frankie Addams, the main character, struggle is acceptance. As she grows in the short time in the story she fights to find belonging in an adult world. As she searches for her niche, she alters her personality by the changing of her name.
The first meeting of this character she is Frankie. During the summer at age twelve, Frankie “belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world,” (McCullers 1). During part one, Frankie is hurtful and jealous of those who are a member of something. Along with Bernice, the housekeeper and her cousin John Henry, it appears she belongs somewhere, at least to her family. Her main struggle during the opening of the story is her desire to belong to something outside of herself and her family. When the wedding of her brother Jarvis develops, Frankie's ardent desire is to leave her town and travel the world with him and his bride.
Enter F. Jasmine, who apparently tries to gain acceptance simply by the name. Her rationale behind the name is simple enough: brother Jarvis, bride Janice and now Jasmine. She finds identity simply because the initials are the same. Interestingly enough, as F. Jasmine wanders her town the day before the wedding she has a completely different approach to life. Since she believes she will be leaving town forever and traveling the world, she has an air of resignation. During the day's adventures she tells all the strangers of her town that she'll be leaving soon, and eventually she wanders into a bar. When she meets the soldier, she meets him with the new personality of F. Jasmine. During that last day she tries hard to alienate Bernice and John Henry. This second personality is one of danger and daring. F. Jasmine's reign in the story concludes late on the last night before the wedding when she meets the soldier again. In his room, she hits the young man as he tries to advance on her. F. Jasmine escapes, returns home with perhaps a little more humility.
The last incarnation is that of Frances. Frances accompanies the family to Winter Hill for the wedding. During the wedding she tries to leave with Jarvis and his bride, but to no avail. During this last transition she realizes that she cannot belong to the young married couple. Upon returning home, Frances runs away to find her own way in life. If her entire struggle is to find acceptance and a role for herself, the act of running away seems to negate that. During her time away Frances is alone. Being physically alone as Frances, is a manifestation of how Frankie, or F. Jasmine felt wandering through an adult world where she wants so badly to be a member of something. Ultimately when she returns home as Frances, the family moves into the suburbs where she ultimately finds a niche. Still not being a member she befriends Mary Littlejohn. The two girls find a little solace in one another and make their plans for the future.
In the three parts of the novel with the associated three parts of the young miss Addams, there is a definite personality shift. The patterns of what it means to be a member are treated a little differently each time, by Frankie, F. Jasmine and Frances.



McCullers, Carson. The Member of the Wedding. Bantam Books: New York, 1973. 

Monday, July 28, 2008

Coming of Age in William Faulkner's The Bear

Faulkner's The Bear begins as a hunting expedition told from the young boy Issac (Ike) McCaslin's point of view. The first three parts of the narrative can be summed up with the interactions of the hunting party and Old Ben, an mystically ancient bear. At the end of the third part, the bear meets his end, as do two other major characters: Sam Fathers, a descendant of an African slave mixed with a Chickasaw, and a wild dog named Lion. In part four when Ike is 21 years old, Faulkner paints an almost biblical account of heritage marks Ike's lineage. This retreat into Ike's heritage is the only part of the novel outside of the hunting camp. In the final part of the novel, Ike, as a man returns to the camp, many years later, after the land has been sold to a lumber company. A coming of age story generally includes a traumatic event which moves a character from their youth to adulthood. The same is true here, the conquer of Old Ben, the bear is the event for both Ike, and society.
After the deaths of the bear, Lion, and Sam Fathers, the rest of the hunting party lays their fallen heroes in graves in the forest. The deaths represent a few aspects of this coming of age story. For Ike, directly after the deaths, he has a long dialog with his cousin Cass, which is the entire fourth part. In this part, he is well aware of the curse on the south as he learns the truth about his grandfather's personality as a slave owner. For Ike, the knowledge of his ancestry is a haunting account of what 1865 means in his modern day. Perhaps the awakening is as haunting as it is because of Ike's relationship with Sam Fathers, who even after his death has Ike thinking more like an Indian. Ike's early beliefs are of the earth being communal, and yet as he ages, after the death of the bear, he understands the importance of maintaining the plantation. Even Faulkner describes the plantation as man's need to slowly chip away at the wilderness to tame it, and plant something that eventually can be translated into money.
As the bear represents the wilderness, the killing of the bear, in essence, is the killing of wilderness. However, the death of the wilderness is less poetic in the final part of the novel. “He went back to the camp one more time before the lumber company moved in and began to cut the timber,” (Faulkner 301). As Ike moves through the wilderness, the descriptions of the lumber company's rails, and creosote soaked ties, and rust is an unnatural addition to the woods which are doomed to vanish. Using the death of Old Ben, Sam Fathers, and Lion as the traumatic event, perhaps the hunting party had accomplished what they needed to, and after the death of the bear, there was nothing more in the wilderness for them.
On a macro level, The Bear is set not long after the civil war, and as a coming of age story, the Ike character is analogous to American life. The death of the bear, as the death of the wilderness, is symbolic only as humans move forever into the wild simply to tame it. Feeling the weight of ancestry, the guilt of work, and the responsibility of land ownership, the coming of age for the wilderness is the act of destroying it and the development of farms.


Faulker, William. The Bear. The Famous Short Novels. Vintage Books: New York, 1966.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Portraits of the Male in The Fox (Annotation G4-4/Goddard)

In D.H. Lawrence's short novel, The Fox, the overt themes of gender are obvious among the women. Banford and March are the two single, childless woman who work their farm. The two have eliminated all the animals in the barnyard save the chickens, all of which are female. One night March finds a fox and admiringly follows it into the woods. The fox is the first of two male figures in the story. When the soldier arrives, under the guise of a homecoming, he is the second male figure. The portrait of the young man follows the metaphor of the fox.
Interestingly, the young soldier spends most of his time wandering the forest with his rifle. The importance of his wanderings is evident in two ways. The first facet is the loner attitudes he seems to adopt when out on hunting excursions, and the rifle is representing the phallus. While the women are back on the farm tending to various chores, he is out alone with the rifle. The second facet is the direct comparison between the man and the fox. While the fox is sly and tormenting the chickens in their house, the same might be said of the man as he is in the main house with the women.
The insidious happening between the man and the fox happen as the young man has worn his welcome thin with Banford while courting the second woman, March. As the women sleep, he is outside with his rifle, and eventually shoots the fox. The importance of the event is the death of as foreshadowing of the death of Banford.
The questions of gender and sexuality in the novel may have more applications than a short account of various relationships. The idea of childless, single women working in such an environment so overtly female raise questions of gender roles. The male aspect of the story, as stifling as it is the comparison of a young man and a fox.



Lawrence, D.H. The Fox. Bantam: New York, 1968.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Horror of Setting in T.A. Louis's Things that Hang from Trees (Annotation G4-3/Goddard)

Sense of place in Things that Hang from Trees begins with a description of the oldest city in the country. T.A. Louis describes the streets of this Florida town so well that no road map or virtual tour could compete. The horror of the setting is accented in the lot behind Millie's diner where the oak tree stands.
Given the title of the novel, as well its setting in Florida during the 1960s, any number of things could hang from this tree. The presence of the tree itself in the dirt lot behind Coquina Plaza is slightly suspect. The tree collects all manners of trash. “As a final touch, the tree was heavily decorated with multi-colored balls of lint from the laundry mat dyers” (Louis 4). Even Millie in an attempt to make the tree more pleasant hangs aluminum soda pop cans to attract birds, but to no avail.
The ominous presence of the tree throughout the story becomes a horror to those around it. It is a place where the bullying boy Bear, terrorizes the main character Tommy, an asthmatic son of the living mannequin Connie Mae. Ump, the town drunk pulls up residence sharing the lot with the old tree. The town and her characters all have a relationship with the tree.
Initially, Juan Lopez de Mendoza Grajales (cook/dishwasher/poet) writes:
The live oak is a Florida evergree:
an often-roots-exposed-tree,
a dogged tree, a rugged tree,
a tree with scars and knots,
a carve-your-name-in-deep tree,
a climbing tree, a hiding tree
a tree of Spanish moss. (Louis i)

Ultimately, as the book ends and the reader finally discovers what has in fact been hidden in the tree.
The morning after the fourth of July celebration, which is a clever Floridian mix of the USA and the Spanish, Ump, Millie, and the bully Bear have made their discovery in the tree. Waiting for Tommy to return to diner, Millie and Ump have conflicting opinions about the tree:
Ump looked at the oak. 'someone should clean up that tree,' ump said.
'Or cut it down,' Millie said.
'No, ain't a bad tree.'” (Louis 78).

Aside from being a central focus of the story, this Florida Oak makes the setting of town as it is such a crucial part of the latter action.

Louis, T.A. Things that Hang from Trees. Alto: New York, 2002.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Secondary Characters of The Easter Parade (Annotation G4-5/Goddard)

In The Easter Parade, the three primary characters are the Grimes sisters, Emily and Sarah and their mother Pookie. Their portraits over the course of several years is astonishing for such a short novel, especially the girls from childhood through old age. The Emily character consumes most of the pages, and of the three she is the most interesting. The development of her character throughout her life is augmented by her relationships with some of the secondary characters. In three different stages of her life, three of these secondary characters: Walter Grimes, Jack Flanders, and Howard Dunninger help develop her character and plot.
Considering her father, Walter Grimes as a secondary character is apt for Emily's story. It's painfully clear, even early on that sister Sarah has the closer relationship to their father. As Emily matures and readies herself for University, Walter is excited for her. During their conversation, Emily discovers that her father never finished university as she had once thought. Later in life, when Walter dies, Emily discovers that Walter has been seeing women. Although her relationship with her father is not overtly negative one, she never really knew who her father was. And perhaps the aloofness with her father sets the trend with all of her relationships with men.
Jack Flanders, although not her first relationship, is the first relationship Richard Yates explains in detail. During her tenure in Iowa with Jack, Emily still remains somewhat distant from him. Some of this relationship highlights are a romantic rendez-vous under an oak tree and a visit to Europe, but two never seem to connect fully. Jack, although somewhat pathetic man when it comes to confidence and emotions, is ready to commit to Emily. Ultimately, Emily doesn't feel she's able to continue with Jack, and leaves him to return to New York. The relationship is telling of Emily's ability to maintain love. She opts to remain alone rather than settle. Jack remains one of these secondary characters due to the lack of his development even after years of living with Emily.
The last of these men, Howard Dunninger is similar to Emily. The two meet one another in a professional situation, and their relationship ensues almost organically. Although tender toward her, Howard is unavailable emotionally. Different from the first two examples, Emily seems able to commit to this last man. The kind Howard supports Emily emotionally by visiting her family, and offering to support her financially. However, Howard has never gotten over his estranged wife. Emily, now in her late thirties, doesn't seem to mind playing second chair to Linda. Although she expresses minor annoyances when Howard mentions Linda's name, she remains with him. Only later as Howard tells her he will be leaving to repair his relationship with his wife, Emily has a complete breakdown.
In light of these three men, these secondary characters, Yates has elegantly developed Emily's character by showing her reactions rather than simply stating her personality traits. These secondary characters pepper the entire story, and without the dozens of them, a story of the three women over the course of their lives would be flat as their interactions with each other are limited.


Yates, Richard. The Easter Parade. Picador: New York, 1976.

The Secondary Characters of The Easter Parade (Annotation G4-5/Goddard)

In The Easter Parade, the three primary characters are the Grimes sisters, Emily and Sarah and their mother Pookie. Their portraits over the course of several years is astonishing for such a short novel, especially the girls from childhood through old age. The Emily character consumes most of the pages, and of the three she is the most interesting. The development of her character throughout her life is augmented by her relationships with some of the secondary characters. In three different stages of her life, three of these secondary characters: Walter Grimes, Jack Flanders, and Howard Dunninger help develop her character and plot.
Considering her father, Walter Grimes as a secondary character is apt for Emily's story. It's painfully clear, even early on that sister Sarah has the closer relationship to their father. As Emily matures and readies herself for University, Walter is excited for her. During their conversation, Emily discovers that her father never finished university as she had once thought. Later in life, when Walter dies, Emily discovers that Walter has been seeing women. Although her relationship with her father is not overtly negative one, she never really knew who her father was. And perhaps the aloofness with her father sets the trend with all of her relationships with men.
Jack Flanders, although not her first relationship, is the first relationship Richard Yates explains in detail. During her tenure in Iowa with Jack, Emily still remains somewhat distant from him. Some of this relationship highlights are a romantic rendez-vous under an oak tree and a visit to Europe, but two never seem to connect fully. Jack, although somewhat pathetic man when it comes to confidence and emotions, is ready to commit to Emily. Ultimately, Emily doesn't feel she's able to continue with Jack, and leaves him to return to New York. The relationship is telling of Emily's ability to maintain love. She opts to remain alone rather than settle. Jack remains one of these secondary characters due to the lack of his development even after years of living with Emily.
The last of these men, Howard Dunninger is similar to Emily. The two meet one another in a professional situation, and their relationship ensues almost organically. Although tender toward her, Howard is unavailable emotionally. Different from the first two examples, Emily seems able to commit to this last man. The kind Howard supports Emily emotionally by visiting her family, and offering to support her financially. However, Howard has never gotten over his estranged wife. Emily, now in her late thirties, doesn't seem to mind playing second chair to Linda. Although she expresses minor annoyances when Howard mentions Linda's name, she remains with him. Only later as Howard tells her he will be leaving to repair his relationship with his wife, Emily has a complete breakdown.
In light of these three men, these secondary characters, Yates has elegantly developed Emily's character by showing her reactions rather than simply stating her personality traits. These secondary characters pepper the entire story, and without the dozens of them, a story of the three women over the course of their lives would be flat as their interactions with each other are limited.


Yates, Richard. The Easter Parade. Picador: New York, 1976.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Hero Quest of “Kneller's Happy Campers” (Annotation G4-2/Goddard)

In Etgar Keret's novella “Kneller's Happy Campers” a grim afterlife for suicides is the setting of Mordy's quest. The story begins with Mordy, a youth who finds a job and a hardcore bar. As he tells his story, the first person narrative begins: “Two days after I killed myself,” (Keret 93). Mordy also explains his suicide is because of Desiree. As the reader discovers, this place is just like life, only a little worse. As Mordy gets moving in his afterlife, he comes to discover that Desiree has also killed herself. Knowing that all suicides come to this place, Mordy and his pal Uzi go on a quest to find Desiree.
As Mordy leaves his job at Kamikaze pizza, and Uzi leaves his family (all of whom have offed themselves) they tour the country looking for Desiree. As a hero quest, the actions of Mordy are clear enough, he wants to find the girl. Uzi has different motivations, namely the first beer of the morning and sex. Mordy is the consummate romantic letting his intuition lead the way, Mordy needs Uzi not only for company but for his car. The seriousness of his quest is met by the hedonistic tendencies of his mate. While on the road the two pick up a girl, Lihi and the three continue on into the country of suicides. Like Mordy, Lihi has a quest too, she believes she doesn't belong in this place, claiming her death was not a suicide.
Knowing the motivations of the three main characters, and their individual quests need to achieve results. Through their travels, the three find Desiree. For Mordy, suicide and the adventure has changed him. As his quest comes to an end, she is not the girl she had been. Desiree has joined a suicide cult, and is in the process of committing suicide again. To further thwart Mordy's efforts, he has become involved emotionally with Lihi. Lihi's quest comes to an end when the PIC, or people in charge, break up the suicide cult's mass suicide. After a conversation with the PIC, Lihi gets to return to life.
As Uzi and Mordy remain, Uzi has some choice ideas for Mordy. Telling him simply that he gets stuck on girls he can never have. As the quest ends, Mordy returns to Kamikaze pizza. Although his hero quest doesn't yield the desired results, he has changed.


Keret, Etgar. “Kneller's Happy Camper.” Trans. Miriam Shlesinger. The Bus Driver who Wanted to Be God. London: The Toby Press, 2004.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Fictional Pointillism (Annotation G4-1/Goddard)

In chapter seven of John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, William Gass is specifically cited as masterfully telling a story in snippets or “crots.” Telling a story in this manner may lend itself to a discussion of style rather than plot. The plotting of the story using crots may not have the flow of traditional story telling, but delivers just as much plot information. The definition of fictional pointillism is ever poignant in William Gass's “In the Heart of the Heart of the Country.”
According to Gardner, fictional pointillism is “moving as if at random from one point to another, gradually amassing the elements, literal and symbolic, of a quasi-energeic action,” (Gardner 184). Gass's crots, do seem random as the story begins, paragraph titles such as Weather, My House, or Wires, seem random enough until the titles repeat rhetorically: the same titles with different messages. In two crots under the Politics title Gass gives some back story to the consciousness of the Midwest. Initially, “Like a man grown fat in everything but heart, we overlabor; our outlook never really urban, never rural either, we enlarge and linger at the same time, as Alice both changed and remained in her story,” (Gass 313). Under this idea of politics Gass gives the reader the idea that over time in the Midwest things change and remain the same. Using the metaphor of a man getting fat in everything but heart there is an overall plot of an entire people that suggests growth of little substance.
Examining plot in two other crots furthers this idea that there are infinitely changeless happenings. He gives an account of education in 1833 in which an itinerant preacher paints a picture of the whole populace being less than ignorant. Gass rebukes simply enough: “Things have changed since then, but in none of the respects mentioned,” (Gass 307). Finally, in his last crot of Politics Gass states, “sports, politics and religion are the three passions of the badly educated,” (Gass 320). The understanding here is simple: these are the things most widely talked about in his town of B., Indiana.
It is difficult to disagree with John Gardner on the point of telling a story using Fictional Pointillism, “No rule governs the organization of such a work but that the writer be a prose-poet of genius,” (Gardner 182). Gass has arranged the crots in a methodical order, simply because he has told a story using this style. As each point is made in each crot, the story is clearly articulated.

Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction. Vintage Books: New York, 1983.

Gass, William. "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country." The Granta Book of the American Short Story. Richard Ford, ed. London: Penguin, 1992.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Tea Room Writer's Workshop (whole curriculum)

Where: The Tea Room
The Holiday Chalet
1820 E. Colfax AVE
Denver, CO 80218

When: Monday nights 5:30-8:00
January 28-March 17, 2008

Contact: Anthony Ilacqua
(303)550-9843
anthony.ilacqua@goddard.edu


Schedule:

January 28: Flash Fiction. An exploration of fiction beginning with the very short.  If it can be said, say it briefly.

 February 4: The pitfalls of memory.  Suffering from “sometimers” disease?  Making connections of memory and biography into crafted story telling.

 February 11: Characterization. A scapegoat is born every minute.  Realization of characters to develop pages of personalities.

 February 18: “Just say it,” she said.  “Oh, I will,” he said.  Dialogue in narration, getting to know characters though their own voices.

 February 25: Putting it into place. Development of a sense of place, space, and locality.

 March 3:  Publishing? How to get it off your desk and onto someone else's.  A thumbnail guide to publication.

 March 17: Closing time.  Reaching the logical conclusion.

Writing time is provided at all workshops through guided exercises, please come prepared to write.

Session #1 Flash Fiction Workshop
An introduction to the Tea Room Writer's Workshop focusing on types of fiction, recommended reading, and writing exercises end in the exploration of a Flash Fiction project.

1. Opening Exercise: The “Why Read Quiz.”
2. Discussion: recommended reading list including Noble prize, and Pulitzer Prize winning novels.
3. Writing Exercise: The Haiku
4. Discussion: Basho and Haibun
5. Writing Exercise: The Haibun
6. Discssion: Flash Fiction defined
7. Reading: “The Colonial” and “Crossing into Poland”

Bibliography:
1. Babel, Isaac. “Crossing into Poland”
2. Basho. “The Mountain Temple,” “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”
3. Forche, Carolyn. “The Colonial”
4. Kerouac, John. “Desolation Angels”

Homework:

Write a piece of flash fiction (under 1000 words) beginning with one of these sentences:
1. Days and Months are travelers of eternity...
2. Meanwhile the sunsets are mad orange fools...
3. Silence overcame all...
4. While the poinsettias were bathing...
Include:
1. a protagonist
2. conflict
3. climax of action
4. plot points: a beginning, a middle and an end


Session #2: Pitfalls of Memory
The use of memory and biography as a springboard to the writing process in creating developed storytelling.

1. Opening Exercise: Exquisite Corpse
2. Recap of Flash Fiction project readings:
1. Gio: “Operation Linebacker II”
2. Micheal: “Poinsettias”
3. Gregory: “The 15” a Haibun
4. Janice: “The Pinto Bean Capital Kidnappers”
3. Discussion: The Fictean Curve for crafting plot.  (Using Micheal's “Poinsettias” as an example)
4. Discussion: Memory, what do you remember?
Exercise: “The Room”
5. Reading: Richard Brautigan's “The Weather in San Fransisco,” and Edward Hopper's painting “The Hotel Room.”
6. Discussion: Esposition in storytelling, when to use back story.
7. Exercise: The anecdote: write and anecdote that is not your own.
8. Homework: Continue work on the Flash Fiction piece making it into a short story (2,000-7,500 words).  Make use of either (or both) of the memory exercises.

Bibliography:
1. Brautigan, Richard. “The Weather in San Fransisco,” Revenge of the Lawn.
2. Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction.
3. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Sketches from Memory.”

Additional Reading:
1. Conroy, Frank. Stop-Time.
2. Maugham, W. Somerset. The Razor's Edge.
3. O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried.
4. Ondaatje, Michael. Coming Through Slaugter.


Session #3: Characterization
The development of personalities from conception to page, this workshop builds characters using literary examples, Jungian archetypes and writing exercises.

1. The opening exercise: “He'd be a good guy if...”
2. Rehash of session two:
1. revisit types of fiction
2. current development of the short story
3. the goal of the workshop (a sovereign piece of well crafted fiction)
4. Plotting, part II: revisiting John Gardner
3. Reading: “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid
4. Discussion: archetypes
5. Writing Exercise: “opposite me”
6. Reading John Tait;s “Reasons Concerning Monica Garza”
7. Discussion: The Character Dossier

Bibliography:
1. Kincaid, Jamaica.  “Girl” Sudden Fiction International. Ed. Thomas and Shapard. WW Norton: New York, 1989.
2. Tait, John. “Reasons Concerning Monica Garza” Crazyhorse.

Additional Reading:
1. Cain, James M. The Postman Always Rings Twice.
2. Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley.
3. Thompson, Jim. The Killer Inside Me and The Grifters.

Archetypal Study:
1. Aesop's Fables
2. Book of Ruth
3. Estes, Clarrisa Pinkola, PHD. Women Who Run with Wolves.
4. Perrault, Charles. Collected Folktales.
5. Grimm's Folktales

Setting and time placement:
1. Hunt, Irene. No Promises in the Wind.
2. Steinbeck, John. Burning Bright.

MISC.
1. Homes, Amy M. The End of Alice.
2. Selby, Hurbert. Requiem for a Dream.

Project for session #4: Further work on the short story including character development.


Session #4: Dialogue
The use of dialogue in story telling to describe characters, and locations through vernacular and dialects, the workshop begins with examples, and lead to exercises.

1. Opening exercise: Exquisite Corpse
2. Reading: William Faulkner's “That Evening Sun”
3. Discussion: The use of vernacular in Faulkner's piece to gain an understanding of characters and time
4. Discussion: Dr Tami Silver's Talking through one another
5. Exercise: Talking through one another.  Pick one:
1. in a car with a maniac behind the wheel
2. the last date, for one involved
3. at a robbery, something has gone terribly wrong
6. Reading: Raymond Carver's “What We Talk About When We Talk about Love”
7. Discussion: Faulkner's dialogue VS. Carver's
8. Reading Colette's “The Other Wife”
9. Discussion: Importance of dialogue, putting it together
10. Exercise: Mr. Kyle Bass's Putting it together:
Step one: Choose three of the following:
1. a foreigner
2. an alien (from outer space)
3. a child
4. someone with memory loss
Step Two:  They have a common everyday object and do not know what it is, they try to figure out what its purpose could be
Step Three: Begin in the middle of the conflict

Homework:
1. Submissions Via email
2. short email evaluation
3. your story with incorporated dialogue

Bibliography:
1. Carver, Raymond. “What We Talk about When We talk about Love,” Vintage Contemporaries: New York, 1989.
2. Colette. “The Other Wife,” Sudden Fiction International Ed. Thomas and Shapard.  WW Norton: New York, 1989.
3. Faulkner, William.  “That Evening Sun.”

Additional Reading:

1. Eliot, T.S. “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
2. Rosetti, Christina. “Goblin Market”


Session #5: Location
This Workshop makes use of space, place, and locality to develop mood and context in fiction writing with an analysis of literary examples.

1. Opening exercise: Exquisite Corpse
2. Reading: Introduction to John Steinbeck's Cannery Row
3. Discussion: Location of Steinbeck's novel
4. Exercise: “My Favorite Place.”
5. Reading: Thomas Pynchon's descriptions of Southern California in The Crying of Lot 49.
6. Exercise: “My Least Favorite Place.”
7. Discussion: Juxtaposition and putting together two seemingly different things.
8. Reading: Introduction to Henry Miller's Quiet Days in Clichy.
9. Exercise: Juxtaposition: Location, relationship, event, and an occupation

Bibliography:
1. Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. “In Golden Gate Park that Day”
2. Knolwes, John. A Separate Peace.
3. Miller, Henry. Quiet Days in Clichy.
4. Pynchon, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49.
5. Steinbeck, John. Cannery Row.

Additional Reading

1. Burgess, Anthony. The Wanting Seed
2. Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaiden's Tale
3. Asimov, Isaac. Caves of Steel
4. Shulz, Bruno. The Street of Crocodiles

Homework:
1. Write a juxtaposition piece heavy on the location
2. Read A Separate Peace by John Knolwes


Session #6: Publication
This workshop attempts to make sense of the publication process from literary journals to novels, finding markets, and turning a manuscript into the correct format.

1. Opening exercise: Exquisite Corpse
2. Discussion:
1. workshops, grad schools, residencies
2. resources
3. markets
4. query letters
3. Exercise: “My Bad Day...”
4. Discussion: A Separate Peace
5. Discussion: Critical writing to develop critical reading
6. Discussion: The Final Portfolio Project
7. End with Annie Dillard's “Write till You Drop”

Homework:
1. Finish Reading John Knowles
2. Write a short critical piece on A Separate Peace
3. Assembly of the final portfolio