Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Writing Projects: Short, Linked, Long, Longhand

These past two weeks have been the kind of exhaustion inducing time that makes me wonder if I'll ever write anything interesting again.  In these times, I sometimes wonder if I notice the creative output of others more--is it because I'm feeling like I have so few scraps of creative time that I envy what others are doing? 

Instead, let me see this time as one that contains inspirations for later, when I, too, will have more time.

"I wanted the stories to feel so entwined that if you were to lose any one of them, the rest would sort of fall apart a little bit," says Anthony Marra on his new collection The Tsar of Love and Techno.

I love the idea of these short stories being so entwined that the loss of one of them would diminish the collection.   He  goes on to talk about the collection of short stories as a mix tape that tells a narrative--and he's made a mix tape (OK, not a tape, but a collection of songs) to go with it, available on Spotify.  You can hear the whole interview here.

I've thought of mix tapes and albums before, but usually in terms of books of poetry (see this post).  It's an interesting approach to short story collections too.

On the other end of the spectrum, from short stories to novels, a Facebook friend noted the art project of Tim Youd, who is typing 100 novels in 10 years.  The photo on the home page of his website shows him typing The Sound and the Fury in front of Faulkner's Oxford house.    So far, he's typed 35 novels--only one by a woman, Virginia Woolf.

I think of nineteenth century rhetoricians who had their students write the works of great Greek and Latin writers.  What might we learn by such a project?  Would the pounding of the typewriter keys imprint the work into our brains in a different way than writing by hand?

Tomorrow I meet with a new group of writing students for the first time.  I won't be making them do this, but I'm always intrigued by the idea.  If I gave them an essay that had gotten an A and had them write it out by hand, what would they learn?

I say I won't do this, but maybe I will think about it.  Hmmm.  I won't use a student essay, for reasons of confidentiality.  What published essay might I use.  Hmmm.

What if I used one of my essays that had been published?  Hmm.  I think this might work.

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