Well, Tin House was amazing! I met so many exceptional writers and made some awesome connections, including with other writers of magical realism. I’m glad I took a risk and went, never mind that I was one of the few not in an MFA program or with much background in creative writing in a college environment. Steve Almond was a fantastic instructor and I would definitely do a workshop with him again. I learned a lot, particularly about having a protagonist with skin in the game, having a strong, independent narrator, and ensuring that the importance of something shows in the amount of space it occupies on the page. I also bought his book, the delightfully pocket-sized and self-published, This Won’t Take But a Minute, Honey. The other authors were also great and I definitely exhausted myself going to as many lectures as I could! I particularly liked Sarah Manguso’s on The Art of Omission and Rebecca Makai’s Closing Time: Chronological Shifts at the Story’s End, which I thought was well-organized and accessible. The dance party on the last day of workshop was a blast and seeing Sharon Olds dance to Nelly’s “[It’s Getting] Hot in Here” was one of the highlights of my life. And Reed College? It’s a shame they only offer undergrad programs! The only thing I did not like about the TH experience was the ridiculously cold weather.
So, I’ve been recovering for the last two weeks since the workshop ended. I’ve managed to get awful tan lines as a result of gardening, and, also as a result, a lot of blackberry and stinging nettle scratches. But on the plus side, I’ve eaten my fill of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries for the year and spent a lot of great time with my family. Tomorrow, I fly back to Saigon and start work up soon.
I cannot convey how much I miss my wife and dog!
Because I also already miss being in a writing community, I’ve enrolled in two online workshops for this fall: Lakeside Circus‘ Carrie Cuinn is offering “Writing/Editing Microfiction and Flash” this September, and then in October, Kathy Fish, formerly of Smokelong Quarterly, is offering her “Fast Flash” Workshop. Why am I pursuing so much flash fiction? I enjoy its brevity and I am really trying to learn how to tell a story as efficiently as possible–without sacrificing the beauty of language. This is part of my ongoing interest in syntax and its affect on storytelling.
Now, off to my last supper here.