Monday, June 17, 2013

Avoid Writers' Workshops?

I picked up an issue of Vice at the American Apparel on 29th and 7th in Manhattan. It was The Fiction Issue, and the first article I read was A TEACHER AND HER STUDENT by Thessaly La Force. 

I assumed that the article was about a teacher-student affair, but it's about when Marilynne Robinson, the author of Gilead, was Thessaly's: "[...] fourth and final workshop instructor at the Iowa Writers' Workshop."

Despite the fact that Thessaly attended a prestigious writers' workshop and was a student of an author who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,  Thessaly confirmed my suspicion about the effectiveness of writers' workshops. She wrote: 
"After receiving my MFA this May, I left Iowa believing that there's no good way to be taught how to write, to tell a story."
Thus, it appears that Jon Winokur's tweet was accurate where it was advised to writers:
"You will learn...more...from reading good literature than you will ever acquire from workshops and how-to books…”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Creative Project, Friends, or Sleep

According to a New York magazine article, former Stuyvesant principal Teitel used to tell incoming freshmen, "Grades [i.e. any creative project.], friends, and sleep—choose two." 

Proust, Royal and I would say, "Choose one."

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I'm almost done reading Henri Murger's The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter  (The ebook can be downloaded for free from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.) and I was fortunate to find a copy of Les Bohos (1926) on YouTubeLes Bohos was "suggested" by The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter. They are both based on the lives of poor artists who struggle together to succeed in Paris. 

Here are some screenshots from the opening of the movie:

Radolph, The Playwright

Marcel, The Painter

One of my favorite characters in the novel is Gustave Colline who:

 "... was a philosopher by profession, and got his living giving lessons in rhetoric, mathematics ...What little money he picked up by this profession was spent in buying books. His hazel-colored coat was known to all the stall-keepers on the quay from the Pont de la Concorde to th Pont Saint Michel...when he came home at night without bringing a musty quarto with him, he would repeat the saying of Titus, 'I have lost a day.'"

Gustave's hazel-colored overcoat was "... thread-bare and rough as a grater; from its yawning pockets peeped bundles of manuscripts and pamphlets  The enjoyment of his sour-crout ... did not prevent him from continuing to read an old book open before him, in which he made marginal notes from time to time with a pencil that he carried behind his ear."

If you are an artist and are in need any inspiration, I would recommend Les Bohos and The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter.