short stories

School started. September was gone, and now the first week of October is also a sort of smeared memory. I thought the summer was busy. Who was I kidding? Right now I'm taking Intro to the Short Story, Restoration Drama, Theory of Style and Rhetoric, a seminar on the Western, and History 100. I like Short Story the best.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - Reading Nine Stories again, trying to figure out Salinger's method, his program. He sets up these supremely real, full-fleshed characters, develops their idiosyncrasies, but when it comes time for the story to drop, these real people are merely pawns in service of Salinger's "point". I mean, the stories are good--of course they're good--but in a way, Salinger seems blind to his own people, and clumsy. (Their development does not carry the story. Dumb blind life smashes in, thematically.) In another way, Salinger is as ruthless as life. And a genius.

We discuss this kind of thing in class, and I feel lucky to have designated time to dissect what is still for me a very new writing form. I read my first Stephen King during the second week of the semester and was stunned by his gratifying ability to follow through. Where a literary short story would trail off, "Dolan's Cadillac" kept figuring out what happened next. Becoming more and more aware that, in Herbert Gold's words, "the storyteller must have a story to tell, not merely some sweet prose to take for a walk." 

Thinking of all this in terms of screenwriting as well, since I'm taking FAVA's Video Kitchen class on Saturdays and will be writing and directing another short film before Christmas. Incidentally, it's inspired by a Salinger story, and I'm calling it ESME-ESQUE for a working title. Video Kitchen is more interesting and applicable than most of what I am doing in university. Dylan's a good teacher. Lately I'm thinking constantly about how to tell this little story--on Monday I missed the first 90 minutes of my seminar class because I was outlining the screenplay. I'm finally learning aspect ratio, f-stops, focal length, 1080i vs. 1080p.

Meanwhile, I've written three articles (and photographed one)  which will be coming out within the month. Forty Below Volume 2, the anthology of writing on Alberta winters which includes my poem "grip", is also coming out this month--I get to go pick up my physical copies on Saturday, which is extremely exciting. My friend Theo, the new writer in residence for Latitude 53, a local art gallery, interviewed me last week re: my thoughts on zines. If you'd like, you can read the interview here.

In other news, on October 1, they turned on the heat in this old building. I light the woodstove when I go in to work at the cafe in the mornings. I feel I'm not reading enough--still finishing Virginia Woolf's Writer's Diary. Sundays, I hold an open apartment from 2-5. Drop by and I'll make you tea and popcorn.