And I haven’t even posted about it yet! This spring ’17 semester I’m taking another workshop class, this time on Tuesdays. It’s a small class with just six students. The only student I’ve had another class with is a guy who went through Fiction Techniques with me back in Spring 2015. Yeah, that guy.
Since the class is so small, we’re not jumping straight into workshops. Instead we’re reading short stories and covering all the usual bases: characterization, plot, setting, etc. At this point, I find it a little boring, but I understand why we’re going over all this again. Because the program is so small, beginners and advanced students can’t be broken out into their own workshops. So two of the students in our class are going through their first workshops. Others their second. This is my third. And I’m impatient to get down to the biz–because I’ve been writing like a motherfucker.
Motivation issues? Out the window. I’m halfway through chapter 5 and have worked out an exquisite chapter 6. 96 pages and 34,000 words! It’s a good sign when I’m texting Amanda in the middle of the night asking what types of birds would work at the post office or what are good bird cop names for an exasperated captain who’s reached his wits’ end to shout in anger.
“Anyway, they gave the car back to me a few days ago, and they finally finished picking Club Shasta apart. They got a lot of DNA, but nothing more than what I already told them. Oh, and they took the case from me.”
“Who’d they give it to?”
“Finchenzi and Ploverou.”
Shofe chuckled. “Those two? They couldn’t solve a granola hogie if their mamas puked it into their mouths for them.”
Another great thing about the new semester and the reading assignments is that I’ve discovered a new favorite writer: Ted Chiang. We’re reading his short story, “The Great Silence,” for class tonight. At the beginning of the semester I went ahead and picked up his short story collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, thinking “The Great Silence” was in there. It wasn’t, but what was there blew me away. “The Story of Your Life,” which Arrival is based on, was incredible. I’m desperate to see the movie now. Also, this will be book 9 of my 52 Books project.
Here are the other stories we’ve read so far for class.
- Karissa Chen, “Pomengranate”
- Nur Nasreen Ibrahim, “Noon”
- Ravi Mangla, “Greenly, Everett, and Marion, 1878 – 1902”
- Caitlin Horrocks, “70 Sentences that Duolingo.com Believes…”
- Michael Kimball/Andy Devine, “This Apartment for One…”
- Chimimanda Adichie, “Apollo”
- Carys Davies, “Jubilee”
- Ted Chiang, “The Great Silence”
- Aimee Bender, “Debbieland”