Archives for the month of: January, 2011

Hi everyone.  No real homework for now.  Just please go back to the first post and finish listening to the story “Last Night” by James Salter via the New Yorker Fiction podcast.  In class we left off exactly at 18:58.  Here’s a fun tip:  If you go to Itunes and search for “new yorker fiction podcast” you can download the episode and listen to it on your mobile devices.  It’s a really wonderful podcast full of some of the best short stories around.  They’re great to listen to when you’re walking around campus, doing other things, etc.  Listening to a story is a whole new kind of exhilarating experience, in my opinion.

Also, educate yourself on narrative modes whynot.  Narrative Modes.

And here’s an “extra credit”, only if you feel like it, sexy, smutty story called “Inner Geographies” by Roxane Gay.  Incidentally, it is authored by the woman who rejected my 2nd person turned 3rd person narration piece, the one I told you about in class.  (“You feel trapped.”  No I don’t!)  If you choose to read it go ahead and leave a comment telling me what you thought.

Should I always expect you to be so peppy on Monday morning?  I should make energy drinks/coffee a mandatory component of the class.  There’s probably an ethical violation in that somewhere…


Hello class. A thousand apologies – I meant to get this up friday afternoon. I was working on a story all day yesterday and it’s making me a little funny in the head.  Anyway, on with the show!

For the weekend, please read the stories I gave you: they are Tattooizm, by Kevin Moffett, and Dogs, by Kevin Canty.  Once upon a time there were two Kevins… if you weren’t in class today, oh   no. I would recommend trying to find hard copies in the library. They are not available on the Internet.  Here’s a review I found on the Moffett story, completely optional.

I want you to give these close readings and come prepared to discuss them on Monday.  Please also consider this  question and leave a short response here with your thoughts by Monday before class.

Question: Think about the nature of the “Olive” tattoo in the story. How does it change throughout, and what is its function? This is literature, remember, so a cigar is never just a cigar, a tattoo is never just a tattoo.  There is no right or wrong answer here, just give me your general impressions.

And here is information on the reading on Sunday that I told you about, copied and pasted from an email.

Please join us this SUNDAY, January 30, for an evening of prose and poetry with Alice Bolin and Kevin Canty!

What: Second Wind is a reading series that pairs second-year students in the University of Montana’s Creative Writing MFA program with established community or faculty writers.
Who: Alice Bolin, poet, and Kevin Canty, fiction writer
When: Sunday, January 30, 6:30 PM
Where: The Top Hat, 134 W. Front Street, Missoula

Check out our BLOG for schedule and updates!

If you choose to go, just bring me a short little write up with your impressions of what you saw, or you can email me. You don’t need to type these.

I am very much looking forward to reading your first writing assignments.  I have an extremely busy weekend ahead of me so I might be able to get them back until Wednesday, but trust, they will be consumed.  Have a great weekend, everyone!



Writing Assignment #1:

Use these pictures to inspire your own flash fiction pieces.  Think about what you’ve learned about the genre from the few examples we read in class.  A flash fiction piece can be a complete, traditional story with a beginning, middle, and end, it can be more impressionistic or poem like, or it can be used to convey a philosophical idea, concept, etc.  The idea is that they are short.  With these pieces, you can let the pictures do some of the writing for you.  The picture is part of the composition so there’s no need to overly describe what we’re looking at.  Tell the story behind/around/under/next to/between the picture.

For Friday, please bring in 1-3 of your best flash fiction pieces.  Make sure you designate which photo you are talking about , either by the [numbers] I have helpfully provided, or just copy and paste the photo into your document.  Type these, please.  You are free to include and turn in the free write we did in class with the toe picture, or not.

Also due on Friday:

email me your people portfolio information and bring in your “what I like to read” submission for class.  See the first blog post for more info on this I’m not trying to explain it all day.

Get to writing, my cherubs.

Go here for more photos by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp.




© Nick Myers



© Nick Myers


© Molly Laich


© Lindsay Townes












© Vanessa Winship





I’ve heard rumor that my university email address isn’t working, which is just… shocking.  I am shocked.  Until I get it worked out you can contact me via gmail:

mollylaich (at) gmail (dot) com

Also this:

Creative Writing Teacher Announces Plan To Sit On Edge Of Desk

Welcome to fiction 210 with Molly!  I can’t tell you how excited I am to have you all here.  This class will function more like a club than anything else.  I’ll be using this blog to communicate with you throughout the semester, to connect you to various readings, and to discuss reading and writing via comments.

Today we’ll be going over the syllabus and course requirements.  If there’s time we’ll listen to this short story by James Salter called “Last Night” via the New Yorker Fiction Podcast. Otherwise we’ll listen to it first thing on Wednesday.

For Wednesday:

Read the following stories by Wednesday.  I want you to tell me which story you liked the best and a brief explanation of why (around 200 words, less if you prefer) and leave this as a comment on the blog.  Please get these up before you go to bed on Tuesday night. (I won’t always expect such a fast turn around for responding, but bear in mind: these stories are very short.) I will leave my own response this afternoon that you can use as a model.

Dracula, by Stanley Donwood

5 Stories, by Lydia Davis

Worst Times #6, #25, and #17, by Brandi Wells

Act Like You Mean It, by Jason DeYoung


Start thinking now about your assignment for Friday:

I’d like you to bring in a page-long excerpt from something you like to read.  Choose something that has inspired you to write in the past, is indicative of the writing you want to do, or just has always resonated with you for whatever reason.  In addition, please bring 250-500 words, typed, explaining why you’ve brought in the particular piece and what it means to you.  Be prepared to present your sample to the rest of the class.  Do not worry at all about whether or not the content is “academic” enough.  If it’s a graphic novel, fine.  Science fiction, fine. Smallville fan fiction?  Fine.  I just want to see what you’re interested in reading, and so does everyone else.

Also by Friday:

Please email me a picture of you with basic profile information for the “people” section of the blog.  You can attach a .jpg or give me a weblink to an existing photo.  Include the following:

Your preferred email address

Your home town.  A few likes.  A few dislikes.  Any other short biographical material you’d like to include.  See the “people” section linked here for my shining example.