Saturday, February 11, 2006

Valentines, new blog, anthology, & sundry




















Happy Valentine's Day! e

Y

BCSDFGHJK

Valentine picture: one of Adrienne Segur's illustrations for "The Snow Queen"

The Blog Queen has a new blog: http://grovepalace.blogspot.com/. Hope you can support her by taking a look at her writing there. (Well, there's not any yet, but there will be!) And by dropping in from time to time.

So if anybody else from our group sets up a Palace or Hotel on Boardwalk or a Hovel somewhere, please let us know! You can write the news here or send me a line at that other (older, no doubt shabbier and without the glitz of the new) Palace, http://thepalaceat2.blogspot.com/. Several of you have dropped by there to tell me about your teaching or writing or other news, and I always like to hear and to know how you're doing--particularly when it comes to the baby news, of course. Happy St. Valentine's to you!

Last I heard, the NCCAT anthology was progressing, but I'll have to ask Linda to leave a comment and tell us the if and when...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Writing

Hi everyone,

I hope that you all are doing well and that your year has been going well. I have two things I wanted to let everyone know.

First, I am going to be a grandma again. My youngest, is expecting again, her children will be 18 months apart. The baby is due in June. She is a good teacher's daughter and knows when to plan these things. :)

Also I have been doing some more writing, on a novel I am working on. Please go to this site, http://www.livejournal.com/users/lady_rose_red/ and let me know what you think.

My best to all,

Donna the BQ.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A Few of My Favorite Things

While I'm keenly aware of the transience of things, I also know that we are happiest when we surround ourselves with beauty. Last weekend I went to a Raleigh art fair and acquired my own Timothy C. teapot, today Marly's Little Jordan arrived from Amazon, and tonight Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Journeys fills my home.

Visiting again with Timothy was a pleasure, hearing my students plead to continue their blog--forever, they insist--encourages me when I think I'll never survive eight more years with seventh graders, and knowing that Linda continues on our behalf to see an anthology published gives me hope that I'll soon enjoy reading your short stories.

Marly asked me to write a post about my class blog. The short of the story: it's up and the students are enthusiastic about it. I established a few guidelines and had a user agreement signed by both the students and the parents. So far, we're all pleased--the students, parents, and me. View it if you'd like at
http://www.tenthousandcolors.blogspot.com/

--Connie

Anthology deadline approaches...

I gather that four stories are in so far--Linda told me three, but Timothy sent one last night. I can't open it, but it's there! Please let her know if you're turning one in but need a little time...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Searching for Post Cards

Hello, NCCAT family! I thought I'd try to post a message on our blog to see if anyone is reading this beside the blog queen, Donna and I. I know that school has all of us in constant overdrive. So, I'll make this quick. Please don't forget to send my class a post card. We were making post cards today to go along with a lesson on setting and most of them have never seen or received a postcard except the one I sent them from NCCAT. I sent the school address on my mass email a few weeks ago. We're trying to collect as many NC post cards as possible. And, Marly, we have to have one from Cooperstown! Hope to hear from you soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Shelly is...

pregnant! Go see her note under our anthology post. Donna the B. Q. needs to alert the horde!

Shelly--

Con-grat-u-la-tions! Confetti and hugs for you and champagne for the rest of us!
Go have a nice healthy dessert...


Hugs,
Marly

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thank you--

I made that big-drive-with-children over the past few days, and I want to thank you all for the notes and fair wishes I found at home--and for the ones that you left behind at NCCAT. I hope you'll keep in touch.

And perhaps Connie will let us know how her school blog goes...

--Marly

Monday, August 29, 2005

Our NCCAT Anthology

Donna Pumphrey turned in her story last night--let that be a nudge to the rest of us! She writes: "Keep in touch and thanks for all the tips. I feel like I stepped up my writing a whole notch at NCCAT."

--Marly

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Timothy's teapot!

Yesterday my youngest child and I stopped by NCCAT and saw Linda. The three of us poked around in the garden; I took a picture of my son in the green tunnel crowned with virgin's bower, and we went to visit the koi in the pond. Our week at NCCAT seems very far away, so much has happened since then.

But in the dining room I saw Timothy Cherry's teapot on a pedestal. And Linda says she will send me a picture to post...

Regards to you all,
Marly

Monday, August 08, 2005

Finding a welcome--

If you've just arrived, go to the earliest post and find a welcome. Then ramble as you like--please pause at Linda's questions. And come back often. Note: To add a comment or ask a question, click on the word COMMENTS (below each post, just left of the tiny envelope.) Click; a window will open. You are "other"--sorry! (Ignore the envelope unless you want to send a copy of a post to someone else on line.) THE NEWEST POST WILL ALWAYS BE THE ONE FOLLOWING THIS ONE. NCCAT image credit: see http://www.nccat.org/

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Ready, set--

I've heard several times from John Dufresne, so perhaps we'll have a message from him before the week is out. In the meantime, have a good journey to Cullowhee, or "the valley of lilies."

--Marly

Thursday, August 04, 2005

An unbearably smug moment, with a goodly number of birthday candles

Linda Kinnear (one of the fearless leaders of PPP) and I have been having a wee bit of a dust-up over whether Dufresne is pronounced du-FRES-neh or du-FRAIN. The latter is how the French Canadians around my husband's family home would say the name.

And now I want to tell her that I now have it from the man himself that it is . . . du-FRAIN.

So there!

Do I win something?

In other fearless leader news, today--August 4--is the birthday for Carrie Gates. It has been a big week for birthdays around here. My father turned 80 on August 2nd. I won't say how old Carrie is. I'll keep it to myself.

But since she's a mountain storyteller, she'll probably have some sort of whopper on hand.

Happy Birthday, Carrie Gates!

--Marly

The Size of the Story

Here's a quote from Norman Friedman's essay, "What Makes a Short Story Short?":

To sum up, a story may be short because its action is intrinsically small, or because its action, being large, is reduced in length by means of the devices of selection, scale, and/or point of view. No one can tell in advance that, if a story is short, it is short because it has a certain number of words, or because it has more unity, or because it focuses upon culmination rather than development. All we can do, upon recognizing its shortness, is to ask how and why, keeping balanced simultaneously in our minds the alternative ways of answering these questions and their possible combinations. And then we may win increased understanding and hence appreciation of the specific artistic qualities of this curious and splendid but vastly underrated art.

* * *

While the above is directed to readers, it's suggestive for readers who are also writers. He divides stories into two kinds: those that deal with material "of small compass," and those that cut and shape the material to increase "the artistic effect."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Pint-Size Bottle

What dictates the size of the bottle into which we pour our wine--or vinegar? Certainly not deliberate consideration, for then one would have written nothing but stories of from ten to thirty thousand words . . . The whole thing is a puzzle. Why should one have to write a novel when a certain figure, incident or idea takes possession of the imagination; a short story about a second incident or figure; and a tale of medium length around a third? I cannot answer; but I am convinced that he is in luck to whom the unseen hander-out of bottles offers the pint.

--from John Galsworthy

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Under One's Nose

After much ferrying, I have come to a rest, mind still buzzing... This morning I've been reading Charles Causley's poems and thought I would post something he wrote about finding a subject and about inspiration:

As a small boy, entranced by the written word, I never had the slightest desire to drive a locomotive, pilot an aircraft, captain a ship. The supreme achievement seemed to me to be that of one who had written a book: any kind of book. All through my teenage years I struggled with the short story, the novel, the play, the poem. I was like the man in the story who leapt on his horse and tried to ride off in all directions. Another difficulty lay in finding something to write about. I looked at the circumstance of my small-town rural life and decided, with supreme snobbishness, that it didn't match up to my literary ambitions. Unfailingly, I wrote about worlds I had never known. Poetry--and poetry was becoming my principal interest--was away and somewhere else. Nobody told me that the raw material of poetry, like the raw material of all art, resides quite simply under one's nose. Certainly, this didn't become plain to me until my experience of the Second World War.

Poets are often asked, in a dauntingly high-flown phrase, how and when they are "inspired." For myself, too often at such moments a deeply superstitious Celt, this is a word best avoided. If you ask me why I write, I would say that I write because I must. It's a compulsion, and--with luck--a means of resolving inner conflict. Poetry, for me, has been a particular form of autobiography. The general theme of one's work becomes self-evident, I think, in its early written stages, but the subjects may be many and various. And there's a certain danger in a too-active search for a subject. In my experience, a subject consciously sought is rarely found. It was Samuel Taylor Coleridge who warned us, wisely, that the writer's greatest danger is impatience. "We must be right by nature, says Coleridge, "so that good thoughts may come before us like free children of God and say, Here we are."

--from "What Gift?," an acceptance speech to the 1990 T. S. Eliot Award of The Ingersoll Foundation. The late Charles Causley, a marvelous writer of ballads and lyrics, was the author of more than thirty books of poetry and prose.

Here's a small poem by Charles Causley to accompany that quote invoking his first understanding that subject was near, an idea that came to him as a sailor in WW II:

CONVOY

Draw the blanket of ocean
Over the frozen face.
He lies, his eyes quarried by glittering fish,
Staring through the green freezing sea-glass
At the Northern Lights.

He is now a child in the land of Christmas:
Watching, amazed, the white tumbling bears
And the diving seal.
The iron wind clangs round the ice-caps,
The five-pointed Dog-star
Burns over the silent sea,

And the three ships
Come sailing in.

* * *

In those stray moments--mowing the lawn, folding the fresh laundry--perhaps we can do a little dreaming about the places and subjects that are near.

See you soon!

--Marly

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Ferrywoman

I'll be out ferrying children to camps and elsewhere for a few days--if you're new, just poke around the site and find what you like. Be sure and answer Linda's five questions! --Marly

Marly at home, with a Seagrove chicken

Friday, July 29, 2005

Brian Railsback + Quote for the day!

Here's novelist Brian Railsback, who will be stopping by to talk about publishing and other matters... There's more about him elsewhere in the blog. Quote for the day: "I have been told, both in approval and in accusation, that I seem to love all my characters. What I do in writing of any character is to try to enter into the mind, heart, and skin of a human being who is not myself. Whether this happens to be a man or a woman, old or young, with skin black or white, the primary challenge lies in making the jump itself. It is the act of a writer’s imagination that I set most high." --from Eudora Welty, The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The apple that falls near the tree--Hope Vestergaard

Ingrid has reminded me that one of her daughters, Hope Vestergaard, is the author of children's books. She has a site that includes lots of info of interest to both teachers and writers, http://www.hopevestergaard.com/.

And like our seminar members, she has been both teacher and writer: "I read hundreds of books to babies and toddlers when I was a teacher. I wanted to know what made certain books captivating. Why did kids care about stories I thought were boring? Why weren’t they interested in stories I thought were beautiful? I started wondering if my stories and words could capture young children’s attention too."

Her site tells you about the sources of her stories, gives advice about "getting started" and "getting published." Here are some of her articles:
NEW! Procrastinators R' Us
NEW! Procrastination, part II: Do Try This at Home, Folks!
NEW! Critique Group Dysfunction: What to Do About It
This one, originally published in the 2005 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (Writer's Digest Books), might be especially meaningful to us, as it's a good reminder about what to look for and how to be a useful to others.
KINDA NEW! Rhymes and Misdemeanors
Flipping Pancakes With a Shovel:
Crafting Compelling Books for Young Readers
Get Booked: Creating Promotional Materials
That Stand Out in a Crowd
Counting Chickens: A few Words about Word Counts
Get Real: A Writer's Journey
Great Expectations: A Conference Crib Sheet
An Interview with Literary Agent Steven Malk
Novel Ideas: An Interview with Author Kezi Matthews
Meet the Editor: An Interview with Stephanie Owens Lurie
Meet Novelist Kathleen O'Dell: A Work in Progress

If you want to share any of this information electronically, be sure that you contact Hope by email and include her credit. If you would like to get in touch with her, she has a contact page (http://www.hopevestergaard.com/contact.php). You can see her in a cute knock-kneed pose there as well!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Postscript to the last post! More about Ingrid--

If you want to ask Ingrid Hill anything, feel free to ask in the comments. And if you would like to know more about her books, here are some interesting places to go.

Her site: http://www.ingridhill.com.

Artist of the Month at IMAGE: http://imagejournal.org/aom/hill_ingrid.asp.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A greeting to NCCAT from Ingrid Hill

Hi, everyone. I'm another e-buddy of Marly's dropping in with my shillingsworth. (That's inflation for you: it used to be two cents.) I'm a first-time novelist and I've just returned from my dozen-city book tour, which was a lot like being on a carnival ride that decides to go backward. Dizzying, at the very least.

I thought I'd pick up on a thread from Marjorie's post about the question of how much reality (fact, info) is required in the writing of fiction. I had an interesting question from the audience the other day, at McIntyre's bookstore in Fearrington Village, NC.

A man who happened to be the father of my editor at Penguin showed up, having read my novel (Ursula, Under) and having especially loved the sense of detail in it. Now this has been true with each audience, that SOMEONE will ask about the research, but the particular scene to which he was referring brought up a whole new question.

Earlier audiences asked about historical chapters of the novel, especially one ("The Alchemist's Last Concubine") that introduces a Taoist alchemist in the third century B.C. in what is today Sichuan province, the People's Republic of China. For that chapter I had some background, having studied two years of Chinese in grad school and been three times to China itself. But when I began researching, knowing only that I wanted to use a character who was an alchemist, I really got my socks knocked off. Turned out TAOIST alchemy was not, unlike western alchemy, seeking to produce gold from base metals, but to find the recipe for the elixir of immortality. That was perfect for me, since the novel is about family, in a longitudinal sense: heredity and offspring, another form of "immortality." In the course of that research, when I found that Taoist practice involved, um, eye-rollingly wonderfully named sexual positions that to my western mind sound hilarious and of course un-pictur!e-able, I couldn't pass that up. So that had to be included too, offstage, referred-to but undescribed so that the reader's imagination must kick in. Not like a romance novel, more like comedy at an odd angle.

But my editor's father's question was about a present-day scene that no one else has mentioned. In this scene, a Wal-Mart truck driver, Joe Cimmer, who has left his wife and son when the child was two years old-- doesn't know why, never did, has been anguishing about it and fantasizing that he'll go home but never quite getting up the courage-- is in a Super Wal-Mart in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in the middle of the night, dropping a load. He walks around the store in a daze picking up this item, then that, berating himself about his failed life, and suddenly sees on two dozen screens, an upper and lower bank of televisions, a rescue attempt. A little girl-- who is Joe's grandchild, though he has no idea he HAS a grandchild-- has fallen down a mine shaft in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, just a few hours away. My editor's father went absolutely ecstatic over the detail in that scene, and he asked how I'd researched that. I told him I'd tried to do it straightforwardly, by phoning Wal-Mart and asking to interview someone. Well, duh: who answers the phone, no matter where you call, but someone who is nineteen and afraid to say anything but also unwilling to pass you along to someone who DOES know something, because the phone person thinks he/she might get fired for not knowing. Oh, grief. So nobody, at several different levels, would help me, because there is no "box" for the category "novelist seeking info about Wal-Mart truckers' procedures and lifestyles." Finally (I'm pathologically persistent) I got to a person higher-up-- who got there by NOT being a creative thinker-- who said, "You know, since September eleventh we have to be very careful about terrorists. They could use any information we gave them." Oh, my. So I gave up.

But not really. I asked my muse to arrange something, and so one day when I was driving out Highway Onein Iowa City, passing the Wal-Mart where I shop, a Wal-Mart freight truck was heading in my direction. I felt it calling out to me, like, "Your muse sent me." So I did a quick u-turn and followed the truck to the loading dock. I stood like a nice little schoolgirl smiling up at the trucker, told him my situation, and asked if he'd have a little time to talk with me. Yuuup, he did. I got so much EXCELLENT information that then allowed me to build scene and plot and character development on it that I gave my muse a promotion. Bottom line, the rule is: whatever it takes to get what you need to write what you want, take it to the limit. Just do it.

* * *

About Ingrid Hill

Ingrid is another one of those people I met through words--she read one of my stories in the Raleigh paper and contacted me through an editor there. Something like that is always wonderful, because it means that one writer finds something "kindred" in another. We've been in touch by email for years now.

Her new book is doing well and will continue to do so, I think. Here's a quote from a recent feature/interview with her at bookslut.com: "Author Ingrid Hill speaks in a thoughtful, graceful way that manages to be cerebral yet refreshingly open. One has only to read a few pages of her splendidly complex book, Ursula, Under, to see those qualities at work. The book, about culture, bloodlines, and sometimes surprising connections, is also about poetically precise writing. It was included on the longlist for the Orange Prize, a finalist for Virginia Commonwealth University’s First Novel Prize, a winner of the Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction, on a Washington Post list of Best Books, and is a Christian Century pick, along with Ha Jin’s War Trash and Philip Roth’s Plot Against America." For the rest, jump to http://www.bookslut.com/features/2005_07_005950.php.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

"The Lie That Tells a Truth"

I finished Dufresne this afternoon, well behind some of you. He is a good fit for our class; several of the very specific things I planned long ago might well have been inspired by the book!

At the close, he makes the interesting statement that "I passionately believe in what I'm saying, but I'm wrong about it all."

Did you find that particular ideas, sentences, or exercises were striking or useful? I've received several email notes about the book from seminar members, and a number of people have posted comments already, so I know that it has been well received so far.

Perhaps you liked the book but did not always agree with the author. Dufresne invites you "to disagree with me. Send me a letter and straighten me out." Here's your chance!

Add a comment about what elements you especially liked; add one about what you didn't like...

--Marly

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Freebies


Click HERE to jump to the May archives on my blog, then scroll down until you find May 20th. There you can find out how (no, it's not hard!) to sign up for a chance for a free book (Ingledove, my May 2005 book from FSG.) Nine more days...
--Marly

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

NCCAT Questions & Links, newly updated

Questions from NCCAT teacher-writers

Last year I had a page on my web site (www.marlyyoumans.com) devoted to answering questions from the 2004 NCCAT seminar--these were questions people wrote on cards during the seminar. Since I couldn't answer them all in the week, I answered some later. Some will match with your own questions. If you hop over to my news blog, http://thepalaceat2.blogspot.com/, you can find the complete list of answered questions from 2004 in the Sunday, July 17 post.

Links

Underneath the questions you will find a list of links. These listings are identified by topic and can help you find all sorts of things--information about agents, children's writing, editors, revision checklists, etc. Those of you who have already asked about publishing and agents may find them of particular interest. I have not tried to link to everything under the sun, because that would be too much, and many of the general book blogs on the list already have comprehensive lists.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Thinking about what we might be--

For a few very special days, we can have what almost nobody who wants to write ever gets--time to write, talk, and dream inside the shelter of a community of other writers. That's a fertile place to be. It's a haven where you don't have to explain what you do or why you do it.

This isn't an NCCAT seminar where we make a solar car or study for boards. A lot of what we'll do is about intangibles--ones that we'll try to grasp and not let slip through our fingers. That means that the week will be, in great part, what you make of the opportunity given.

We're working to have a tight structure to the days and lots of fun and learning, it will have to be you with the pencil and the piece of paper. Or the computer screen and the flying fingers!

-Marly

Monday, July 18, 2005

A welcome from Ron Rash


Hello, all.

As a former high school teacher myself, I look forward to meeting all of you and discussing short stories. I'm sure it will be a great time for us all.

--Ron Rash

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Corey Mesler talks to NCCAT about that little matter of dialogue


Writers meet in funny ways. I "met" Corey Mesler after he wrote a review of one of my books, and I wrote him a thank you note.

He is a fascinating character who does two huge and nigh-impossible things: he runs a well-known independent bookstore in this age of chains and internet sales; he writes novels and poetry.

I asked him to write something about dialogue for us.

--Corey, will you write something about dialogue for us?
--Well.
--After all, you wrote a book entirely in dialogue.
--
--Please?
--I don't know how to do this.
--Pleeeease?
--Here it is, but I still don't know how to do this.

Thanks, Corey!
Marly

And here it really is--

* * * * * * * * * *

Talk about Talk


--Your novel did well.
--If you mean by doing well that it was published.
--Yes, but it got some nice reviews.
--It did, from friends.
--What else could you want?
--Nothing, nothing. I’m not ungrateful.
--It sure had a lot of sex in it.
--
--Are you working on a sequel?
--No, not really. Except in the sense that you are now in it.
--Meaning.
--Meaning is drained of meaning. Though she feels as if she’s in a play she is anyway.
--More postmodern tricks.
--No tricks. Nothing up my dust jacket.
--More autobiographical libidinous reflection and refraction.
--I am not Jim.
--Right, and I am not the product of your self-referential imagination.


COREY MESLER once wrote a novel called : A Novel in Dialogue. It is entirely in dialogue. Some people liked it. Few people bought it. Nevertheless he still tries to limn the infinite, or at least take a potshot at the lengthy. He now has a 2nd novel due in December 2005, a hippie amalgam called We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon. He hopes the same nobodies who didn’t buy his first book will not line up to not buy his second. With his lovely and more centered wife he owns Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN, one of the oldest independent bookstores (1875) in the known universe.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Ready, set--

Getting ready for NCCAT is going to be different for each one of us.

I'm still reading Dufresne and planning out segments of the seminar--and trying to keep up with this pre-seminar blog. Meanwhile I'm ferrying my three children here and yon and making sure they're having a good summer. (Last night the nearest ball team beat the Batavia Muck Dogs! Yankees. Go figure.) Here and there are long ferrying-to-camp trips. Or to the orthodontist. I seem to be very big on the orthodontist. Then there's life's other little drudgeries (laundry for five and other fascinating enterprises) and errands. I'm wanting to do my own work, though I haven't been doing as well as usual on that one. Children don't really need a writer in the house.

You're probably still reading Dufresne as well. And I hope you're reading a bit of fiction.

Meanwhile Donna has already posted two exercises, including one that's a sort of puzzle box containing a fiction inside a fiction, where one of the characters fictionalizes reality. In the process of doing so, she finds out that truth really is stranger than fiction--truth fictionalized yields big truths.

Please pop over to her site and give a quick response and encouragement; don't worry about saying anything profound. Just jump in!

And feel free to post something as well.

Again, each person's preparation for NCCAT will be different, and that's fine. What I'd like to see is movement toward a community of writers, so that we're all ready to go full tilt when we meet on that Monday afternoon.

If you've just found your way here, go down to the first entry and find a welcome!

--Marly

Friday, July 15, 2005

Dufresne & exercises

Were you interested in the exercises? Want more to read?
http://www.du.edu/~bkiteley/exercises.html

You can try out The Bunny Planet exercise, play with Phone Tag, or experience Synesthesia.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Philip Lee Williams responds to a question

This post is in reply to a question Linda asked Phil in the comments section below his earlier contribution. After seeing it, I felt that we should put the response as a separate entry instead of in the comments because it's lengthy and thoughtful and will be of interest to NCCAT teachers.

If you look at the note about Phil under his original post, you'll see that he's a busy fellow, so I'm very glad he took the time to reply in full.

Phil has lots of interesting things happening with his books. He has a goodly number of paperback reprints of novels coming out, including a revival of his very first book. His twelfth book, a nonfiction book about "morning," was just accepted. And he didn't mention that winning The Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction for A Distant Flame is something that just happened. That's a national award sponsored by the United States Civil War Center at Louisiana State University. The presentation ceremony moves to a new region of the country each year, and Phil accepted his in Boston less than a month ago. Congratulations!

--Marly

* * * * * * * * * * *


Hi, Linda--

Getting students to focus on their work is always hard. Last spring semester, I had seven graduating seniors out of 15 students in an advanced creative writing class at the University of Georgia, and keeping them on target was hard.

In general, I think it's a matter of the teacher's genuine love of the material and the students--something that can't be faked. Brother, have I had bad days when I was miserable at it. But most of the time, they aren't going to be any better than I am, so I wildly over-prepare--have backup plans if they are half asleep. I meet with all my students individually at least once during the semester and encourage them to come by during office hours. I also send them two or three e-mails a week as a group to encourage camaraderie.

I'm also pretty scrupulous about not letting workshop get rough--I encourage constructive criticism but will cut off nasty comments instantly--if it's personal, it won't be tolerated.

If I see a student who's struggling, I'll ask her or him to stay after class, and I'll listen or talk. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to talk to women students who have just broken up with boyfriends and are quitting everything. Just listening gets them back on track most of the time--and letting them know I care.

My general advice is to make each class period as intense as everyone can stand. Don't be afraid to be rapturous about texts or to follow the flow of a conversation as long as it reasonably has something to do with the subject.

Hope this helps!

Phil Williams

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New posts & a place for posting sketches and stories

We're growing. . .

Please check out and respond to new posts from Jennifer, Shelly, Miriam, Donna, and Vanessa.

Donna has put a link to her livejournal site in the comments, and she has posted several new sketches there. Please take a look and comment! I'll add the link again here. Her site is http://www.livejournal.com/users/lady_rose_red/.

If you'd like to post some writing in response to the exercises in Dufresne's book or anything else you're working on now, feel free to post a piece in the comments below this entry.

I've added a message from Marjorie Hudson below this post--she's an interesting writer living in Chatham County.

And now I need to go read more Dufresne and work on the seminar!

--Marly