Have you read Gordon Lish’s short short story "I’m Wide"? It’s my favorite of his. It starts like this:
"My wife and small son were away for the week, having removed themselves from the day-to-day predicament for a brief travel to a place of better weather."
In my writing class I stress the importance of nouns and verbs, the usefulness of repetition (no matter what teachers have said before about ‘variety’), the reader-friendly use of nouns over pronouns (so that the reader need not hunt for the antecedent), high and low diction, and the effect of mixing it up. (Of course, pronouns can be used with smashing results. When the body is reduced to it, for example.) We play the editing game: If I can say in three words what took you ten, I win. Finally, composition of one unimpeachable sentence in work of any length should be considered a victory.Christine Schutt (via mttbll)
If you’re looking for a journal to read, I’d suggest the new issue of Denver Quarterly, which is awesome as always. They were kind enough to include a piece of my flash fiction in there, too. Or maybe it’s poetry. I’m not too sure anymore.
I like most how it keeps calling me back to my original writing impulse, which was to try and reach, through writing, deep into the world and deep into the self (which holds the world and is held by it), which is to say deep into mystery. The glittering world is always calling me, and all of us, away from mystery. It’s awfully handsome, awfully hard to resist. The glittering world I mean. I want the whole world to swallow me.Laird Hunt (via mttbll)
Lish on Writing
"If anybody can see your sentence better than you can see your sentence, you do not own it—they own it."
If you’re like me and you wish you had the chance to take Gordon Lish’s master class, then you’ll enjoy reading through these notes transcribed from one of his classes in 1990. Great stuff.
Dave Madden on Authenticity
"Every diorama is an illusion. Every illusion requires fakery. It’s a kind of faith we sign on for. We know the drool that hangs infantilely from the lips of the big bull buffalo is fake, made of a clear acrylic; we know that the zebra and antelope grazing in the distance from the pride of lions are made of pigment on plaster; we know the lions themselves are fake, seeing nothing, never again hungry for flesh. We know it and we don’t want to know it, and we don’t want to know that we know it. We look and try to see something real, and it never happens…"
—from The Authentic Animal
So I’m moving back to the Texas Hill Country. In about three weeks, my family and I will be living in San Marcos, on a hill near a lake and a river. See you there?