Back to Work

Below, page 1 of a very, very old work-in-progress. Self was clearing her closets when she stumbled across the hard copy yesterday.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, DEAR DEPARTED DAD.

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Philip II of Spain, Habsburg

The man after whom self’s native country is named is Philip II.

She’s been writing a story about him for the past couple of years. It begins with a physical description and all of a sudden, self itches to see actual portraits (You’d think she’d have done this first thing, but noooo, self always has to do things the hard way)

So, here he is, dear blog readers: Philip II, King of Spain and Portugal, King of Naples, Ruler of the Spanish Netherlands, and Duke of Milan:

Born in Valladolid, 16 January 1556, died in Madrid on 13 September 1598. He was 71.

Stay tuned.

The Writing Life, from Deborah Levy

  • The writing life is mostly about stamina. To get to the finishing line requires the writing to become more interesting than everyday life . . .

The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography, p. 36

Preparing, OSSW Day One

Drove up to Mendocino, which as the crow flies is only 200 miles from Redwood City, but always takes self at least FIVE HOURS.

On the way, she stopped by Yorkville Market and had lunch:

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And then she mulled over the writing exercises she should start tomorrow with.

Should she have the students practice writing one very, very, very long, run-on sentence? With points to whoever can come up with the most run-on sentence?

Or, for fun, should she have them write a piece that’s all bad grammar and deliberately wrong spelling? Hamberder, anyone? Smocking guns?

Should she have them write a piece that’s all dialogue?

Should she ask them to capture every nuance of a piece of reality . . . in one sentence?

Should she have them practice writing a conversation that grows from an association of ideas (like a Harold Pinter play?)

Should she have them practice delaying the outcome for as long as possible?

She can’t decide. She’ll have to sleep on it.

BTW, this is one of the plays being presented by the Mendocino Theatre Company in 2019:

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Mendocino Theatre Company, 2019 Season

Stay tuned.

CHARLIE CHAN IS DEAD, Vol. 1

For the workshop this weekend, re-reading some old stories to show different ways of writing memoir. In particular, thinking of a story called Lenox Hill, December 1991, which Jessica Hagedorn included in the anthology Charlie Chan is Dead.

When Jessica contacted self to solicit a piece, self had nothing, nothing, nothing.

Her sister had died just the month before. She did keep a diary, though.

The diary became the story. The first story in what later become a cycle of grief stories: Mayor of the Roses (Miami University Press)

For a while, a course called Ethics in Medicine, taught at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, included the story in their syllabus.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Some of Self’s Publications, For Students Who Ask

Teaching ONE STORY, SIX WAYS at Mendocino Art Center (Feb. 8 – 10, 2019)

A deep examination of process.

A workshop that is as much about reflection as it is about writing.

A workshop about doing it over. And over. Until you get it right.

ONE STORY, SIX WAYS: Feb. 8 – 10, 2019

Instructor: Marianne Villanueva

Mendocino Art Center

42500 Little Lake Street

Mendocino, CA

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Black and White: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Must be on a roll! Participated in two Fun Foto Challenges in one week!

The theme of this one is BLACK AND WHITE. Self took these pictures just a few minutes ago. Thanks to Cee Neuner for the always-wonderful prompts!

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Self is teaching a three-day writing workshop in Mendocino in February. Here are some of the materials from the last time she taught this class, in 2016:

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Poetry Tuesday: Dorianne Laux in PRAIRIE SCHOONER (Vol. 92, Issue No. 4)

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An Excerpt from Snow

by Dorianne Laux

It wasn’t snowing, and then it was,
like death, like my sister’s texts
that just stopped: I’m in the hospital
then a phone call: We did everything
we could: endocarditis, valve leakage,
her heart on heroin. She wasn’t addicted

and then she was, on and off, for years
her and her daughter, my niece, living
on the streets, every few weeks, a phone call:

Amazing issue.

Kudos, Prairie Schooner.

 

 

The Proustian Sentence

from the Introduction to the Lydia Davis translation of Swann’s Way:

One friend, though surely exaggerating, reported that Proust would arrive in the evening, wake him up, begin talking, and deliver one long sentence that did not come to an end until the middle of the night.

 

 

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