Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stories to get oneself fired

Finished the Mississsippi Review's magazine about Literary Magazines (Volume 36, Number 3) and found a great deal of the information in there to be useful to me as a short story writer. I also finished Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates and loved, loved, loved it. His dark themes and his writing style are right up my alley. If you're a writer, order that lit mag; it'll be worth the investment. The editors who talk up in the magazine also recommend some new writers and I found them all disturbingly inspiring. I'm not a critic, just a writer and a reader--so order it for yourself and decide.

Well, it's vacation time--time to catch up on the writing and make some resolutions:
1. Get in better shape--the back problem is, for the most part, resolved, so it's time to work on the legs and the arms. They got a little flabby this year. Personally, though, I think it's pre-menopausal stuff, to be honest, because I stayed pretty active even with a bad back.
2. Well, it's time to start thinking about a novel. I have an idea for one--As Lewis Buzbee said to me once, "Don't write a novel unless you've got an idea for one." But what happens to me is I start out to write a novel and it ALWAYS turns into a short story. That may just be who I am.
3. Which, by the way, leads me to another resolution and that is to order a new copy of Lewis's book Steinbeck's Ghost and read it. I had just started it, took it to school to show off to my students, and it came up missing. An avid high school reader, perhaps? Anyway, I can't wait to get it again and read it.
4. Read some long fiction: I'm thinking Toni Morrison's new book Mercy sounds good. Any suggestions? I like to read books that I could also share with high school students, so nothing too obscure. It works best if it's something that will get published later on in paperback.
5. Read some short story collections: Ron Carlson, Charles D'Ambrosio? Any suggestions there? I read Haruki Mirakami's collection this past summer. How about a woman writer? Nona Casper's collection was also right up my alley (IoWa, IOwa, IOWA).
6. Write some short stories about my teaching experiences, if they won't get me fired. As always, thought, that might not be such a bad thing.

27 comments:

Jean Womack said...

"Teacher Man" by McCourt
"Up The Down Staircase," by Belle Kaufman

You could write as well as they do. Maybe after you retire. Don't take any chances. Good luck.

Jean

Jean Womack said...

One of the principals of the San Francisco high schools looks like Toni Morrison. They didn't tell HER to stop writing. Why did they tell me to stop writing? Just more competition for a job, probably. A veteran counselor told me, don't write referrals on an official form, just write them on a piece of lined paper, when the other teachers at THAT school told me to stop writing. She wanted to know what was going on.

Jean

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