Archives for the month of: April, 2011

Here are the two extra credit stories I told you about. The first is called “Quiet Please,” by Aimee Bender.  I will warn you it’s pretty dirty, but excellent. I just read it and liked it a lot.

The other is an excerpt from Jennifer Egan’s recently pulitzer prize winning novel The Visit From the Good Squad, and this story is called “Ask Me if I Care.” I’ve only read part of this one so far but it seems good as well.

If you are wanting to read something fun or to get “extra credit” I recommend you read one or both of these stories, and leave a thoughtful comment/analysis/critique of the work as a comment. Try to quote from the text and tell me something meaningful about the work and how it might relate to your own writing.

For Monday and Wednesday of next week:

I want to do in class conferences with you, so that means I’ll be pulling you up individually and talking to you about your portfolios. I’ll look at your work with you and answer any questions you have. So please, it’s important you bring your work with you to class and come prepared to talk about it.

People I plan to conference with on Monday are those of you who’s stories I’ve already returned. Everyone else will get their stories back Monday so it’s important you come to class to get it. If I’ve forgotten someone, assume you will also conference with me on monday. You are:

Breanna, Bill, Erika, Tori, Sofi, Stephanie, Mike, Angela… 

Everyone else will be on Wednesday, and then remember that the portfolios are due on Friday of next week.

We are almost done, friends.


Bullet in the Brain – Tobias Wolff

the link is a pdf file, it should download onto your computer. don’t be alarmed. If you have any problems with it, just do a google search for the story. It should be around on the web. read and absorb. think about storytelling.

Please do not forget also that we’re workshopping Breanna’s story.

Hello cherubs.

I lectured all the wrong people on attendance in class yesterday, so let me restate briefly here the importance of coming to class. Remember what I said when we met in the beginning: a writing class is like a club, or if you prefer a more bellicose example, a war. It’s all about the man in the mud next to you. The writing is fine. Everyone is turning in great stuff and I’m looking forward to reading your final portfolios and I know that they will be excellent. But workshopping is an equal component of the class and I don’t want to see people start to slack off on this. Recall the thing I said about mud.

For the next couple of weeks that we have left together, I want you to make a commitment to be in class when your fellow students are being workshopped. If you missed any of your group workshops last week, read the stories you missed and get written comments to both them and me by the end of next week.

And finally, in an unrelated gesture, here are the three, count them, three stories we’ll read and workshop as a class tomorrow. make sure you bring a copy for the author. You can write them written comments on the page. I don’t need to see a copy of these if you are in class. Have a great weekend!

Erika – Bottle and a Gun

Breanna – The Dissonant Sound

Bill – Same Difference

P.S. It is my birthday. I’m 29. timeless elegance.

Two new announcements:

1. When you comment on this story, please don’t forget to reference examples from the text. Direct quotations to support your argument, at least once, please.

2. Did I say rough drafts are due this Friday? Let’s change that to Monday and make them less rough, eh?


Apologies for not getting this post up sooner. I forgot to hit “publish” yesterday afternoon. Woops! Please read “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, and think about plot, narration, foreshadowing, setting, and how all of those things contribute to the overall effect of this piece. I pulled these questions from this study guide I found online that you might enjoy looking through.

Respond in the comments by answering one of these questions. Be sure to cite specific examples from the text to back up your claims and write a good healthy paragraph on it. I’d like these responses to be excellent since this is likely the last published story we’ll read as a class.  Try to get these up by Wednesday before class, Friday at the latest, and make sure that you have read the story by wednesday and are ready to discuss it.

1. If the old woman had kept her mouth shut, not revealing that she recognized The Misfit, would Bailey, his mother, his wife, and the children be alive at the end of the story? Or did The Misfit intend to kill all the family members when he pulled up alongside their wrecked car? Keep in mind that he and his companions exited their car with guns.
2. Does The Misfit’s conversation with Bailey’s mother alter his viewpoints in any way?
3. The Misfit says he kills for pleasure. Does he also kill to get even for what he perceives as society’s unjust treatment of him?
4. Analyze the psyche of Bailey’s mother or The Misfit.