Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Good News (other than Ernest Hemmingway) - Rob Williams

So a Texas commercial real estate developer has won Florida's annual Ernest Hemingway look-alike competition. This during the "26th Hemingway Days Festival, which ended on Sunday with an arm-wrestling contest in Key West at the tip of the Florida Keys,[and] celebrated the July 21 birthday of the Nobel Prize-winner, born 107 years ago."

What fun! I want to go the Hemingway Days Festival. It sounds like a hoot.

What's that saying, "When one door closes... another one opens?"

I recently got some really swell news: hot on the heels of my rejection (not getting the full time job at the college where I teach) I DID get a letter on Friday from a writers residency with the Djerassi Resident Artists Program (in Northern California) who said that my "application was ranked very high by our panel of professionals from your field, and you have been placed on alternate status for 2007."

Hooray! I'm actually very thrilled and honored to be even considered for alternate status. i had started to lose my faith in the whole writers residency thing-- having never gotten one, and having been rejected by several of them over the past 5-6 years. But this totally renews my faith.

Now I just hope someone decides to drop out! the residency, which is a 4-5 week stay, would not be until spring-summer of 2007, but that's great-- gives me enough time to finish the current book and get my stuff together for the 2nd book.

Cross your fingers for me.

Ok, back to planning my Fall Creative Writing Class--I'm sort of making my own reader-- I'm xeroxing a bunch of handouts, anyway. As soon as I'm done i'll post my final reading list (made up of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry) soon, but below are a few of my potentials. In fact, if anyone has suggestions for great SHORT nonfiction essays, short fiction, and poetry let me know. I emphasize SHORT-- meaning they should be an average of 5 pages (at least for the nonfiction); I know, that's short but it's because the class is HUGE and in addition to these short texts students have to read each others' work--AND because the class is so HUGE I'm encouraging the writing of SHORT short pieces; there is just not enough time to read 20, 30 page stories, novel chapters, or novelas. And anyway, it is just an Into to creative writing. I'm currently gathering all of The New Yorker Talk of the Town and other short pieces that I have.

So far I'm considering:


Rick Moody, "Twister," from Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven

John Cheever, "The Reunion," from The Stories of John Cheever (Believe me, if we could read the whole book I would assign it)

Jamaica Kincaid, "Girl"

Helen Schulman, "Pushing the Point," from Not a Free Show

Judy Budnitz, "Art Lesson," from Flying Leap

Manuel Munoz, "The Wooden Boat," from Zigzagger

Ann Beattie, "Janus"

Brady Udall, "The Wig" (If you haven't read this-- it is fricken amazing)

John Dufresne, "Lemonade and Paris Buns," from Johnny Too Bad (a heartbreaker of a story)


Jonathan Franzen, "Countdown" (from The NewYorker)

Mary Gordon "Pilgrimage" (from The NewYorker)

Nicole Krauss "My Summer in Poland" (from The NewYorker)


Shit, so many I want to use! Whitman, Plath, Mark Doty, etc. etc.

Suggestions for any of the genres are certainly welcome! (And, even better, if you're one of my writer friends who has a great short story, essay or poem published out there somewhere that you think would be great for me to teach in my class, let me know).

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