Stories!

Okay. We’re going to continue our mini vacation, (our “staycation,” if you will) from non-fiction paper style writing with some stories! This weekend you’re going to read stories and then write one for the blog. I’m excited. I’m going to give you a healthy choice of stories to choose from. You have to read at least one of them. You are free to read all of them of course.

The School by Donald Barthelme
A & P by John Updike
Dimension by Alice Munro
The Nose by Nikolai Gogol
Stillwater by Molly Laich
The Red Dress by Kevin Canty
Last Night by James Salter (Audio file.)

For your weekend blog assignment, I want you to read stories, think about storytelling, and then write your own stories. Think about imagery. Think about what details to include and what can remain unsaid. Think about the psychology of your characters. What do they want? I know you all have varying degrees of interest in writing fiction, but give it a shot. Try to keep the stories pretty brief. Think about what a manageable blog length is. If you start working on something that seems like it’s going to be longer, I suggest posting some of it, and then if you want me to read the rest, bring in a hard copy. I’d be happy to look closely at anybody’s work upon request, being the expert that I am.

In addition to the story, talk a little at the beginning or the end about which story you read and/or which stories most influenced the writing of your own piece. You can choose to do a strict imitation of one story, or go more on your own. Link to whatever stories you talk about.

Try to get these up by Sunday night this weekend. I want to have time to read them and to pick a couple for us to look at together in class on Monday. Be prepared to read your work aloud and/or elect me to read it out loud for you. Courage, men.

We will start actual revision work a little bit on Monday with your life/place essays, and then we’ll move into that full time after thanksgiving break. Until then, Viva la literature.

Oh, and here’s links to some of the stuff we may or may not have consumed in class today.

Bluebird – by Charles Bukowski
So you Want to be a Writer – by Charles Bukowski
Dinosauria, We – by Charles Bukowski
What’s He Building? – by Tom Waits
Reunion – by John Cheever

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