Friday, December 16, 2005



The quarter is, and has been, over. I've spent the last week doing nothing but reading books and watching movies, and occasionally going to the gym.
I read In Cold Blood, and then I started reading The Heaven of Mercury by Brad Watson, who's teaching our workshop next quarter. I liked the book, but felt like moving on to something bigger, so I stopped after 40 pages or so. I read some essays recently about MFA programs, and the habit of feeding students contemporary authors as opposed to established works of literature. Well, leaving the concept of the "cannon" aside, who decides it and why, I think there's some merit to not reading too much contemporary stuff. It's fine, but I'm starting to feel guilty reading that stuff as opposed to other things.
So I moved to 100 Years of Solitude and though I'm enjoying it (I've read about 175 pages of it) I can't say I really want to finish it. So I guess I won't. I'm at a point where I like to get introduced into a writer's world, but most often I don't really want to stay there. I can choose to read on, just to see what happens, or just move onto something else. Maybe that's how I'm reading now and I should just go with it, I don't know.

Movies: I watched Fellini's Roma, which was great, and also Juliet of the Spirits, which was not so great. And then Midnight Cowboy, in preparation to watch Brokeback Mountain which should be out locally here in the OC this weekend. I read the Ann Proulx story this weekend and I liked it a lot, though her writing style at times was kinda self-conscious and annoyed me, but when it didn't get it its own way it worked.
I went to see Chronicles of Narnia last night because I just needed a Hollywood movie experience and that did the job, and then I snuck into the last half-hour of King Kong, which I didn't choose to begin with because it was three hours of Hollywood and that I couldn’t take. But the last half-hour was just the right length, I recommend to anyone seeing another movie to sneak in and watch the end of Kong, you'll get the point while saving yourself a ticket.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


End of the Quarter

So Wednesday's workshop got a little crazy. There's a student who doesn't get along well with the teacher. They had some words outside of class before this week. So at the end, three people were supposed to hand out stories for workshop next week--mine being one of them--and we all only get two. The student didn't want the teacher to read his last work. So he tells the teacher, in front of the class, that he'll take whatever "grade" he gets because of it. Then he wants to give the work to the rest of the class, but not the teacher. They kind of yelled at each other in front of everyone. Weirdly, the last workshop, this week, will be at the teacher's house in LA. So I'm not sure if that student is even going to go. It'll all very uncomfortable and weird.

But I'm excited about my workshop. One of my cohorts call me to tell me how much they liked my submission and "couldn't put it down." That was nice. I'm hoping it goes well, because I think I might continue to work on it as a novel. I wrote a lot for it-- over 40 pages--and so I handed in about 25. I'll already have my next submission mostly done, just need to do tweaking and editing for it. Which will be interesting because one, I'll hand it in first, so it will be fresh in people's minds, and also, we'll have a new teacher, Brad Watson, so I'll be able to get a completely different view of the next section of the same piece.

As for teaching--I spent all day Thursday and Friday doing conferences with my student over their last final research paper. That's horrible, and draining, and made me want to die by the end of it. But it's almost over. Wednesday their final drafts are due and I have until Monday to slap a grade on them, which won't take that long really.