well, i think i saved the friendship, touch and go
i like mary g - she so different, so intense - lesson learned
about blogging w/o restraint
i do so love to comment on literary matters and literary folk but .....
its is too often a betrayal of confidence - once read somewhere that writers
betray family/friends as a professional obligation
but friends dont come easy to me at this age
went to bob gates retirement party yesterday, we got to musing on friendship
time the only judge i guess
alex yates introduced me to his parents as a recluse, arthur a recluse,
once this novel done i will have more discretionary time - i swear
caught up in the spirit, i went to the grad grad party, there i
was way past my bedtime, trying a jello shot (awful)
enjoyed myself but didnt stay but about an hour, it was past my bedtime
these grad intros are supposed to intro our thesis students but i always use the op to fortify them
for the road ahead, literary world a rough row to hoe - you got to believe
stuck that wayward child of saraswati on vins at the last moment, i figured her parents would appreciate
that one, made a big hit when her mothers name turned out to be lakshi (sp)
okay rick, lets get busy, im kinda scared but i always am at the start of a woodshed
its like okay, this time we will prove once and for all that i just dont have a novel in me
but who cares, im going to write thru that, aint nothing stopping this dog and pony show
all my love
I did a post recently on my blog about students making the cut. Some folk interpreted it as a lack of faith on facultys part and that was not the case. Want to clarify that.
Some students responded to my post with dismay and crises of confidence, some responded with the proper literary response – which is forget you sucker, i will show you, i will show you all, this is the proper literary response to everything, victories, defeats and setbacks - renewed commitment, work harder, work smarter. If you cant do it for yourself do it for us. Because you are our legacy and at this stage in the game your success is as important to us as our own.
This question of who will make the cut is a preoccupation if not an obsession with mfa faculty cause day and night we pondering how to get as many of you through as possible. The brutal truth is that most mfa students dont become writers. And if we haven’t made that clear to you weve been remiss.
most folk just give up at some point, a couple of years out the program, some rejection, life constantly
saying you dont have time for that dream, folk start falling by the wayside - oh they still calling themselves writers, they still working more or less, but that ruthless focus, that ruthless determination, that daily grind of production, they gradually let that fall away.
Point of that post was do not go out there half stepping. The literary world will eat you alive. If the odds scare you you dont need to be in this business. Got to be a bulldog you want to make it in this world.
Buddy of mine once told me every dog has its day but its the bulldog get the weekend.
Alex Yates is a bulldog. Alex Yates so serious about this he scare me. Alex Yates is a professional, got the vision, got the craft, got the commitment, a writer so powerful he makes it look easy and we know its not. Alex like to work out there on the cutting edge, thats where he find his groove, not many writers could pull of wise cracking fighting roosters and earthquake prone diplomats with such a fine tuned sense of whats real, Alex Yates is fearless, Alex Yates is not afraid to take chances with his work, but they are chances that are precisely calibrated and done so with an impeccable authority, I have grown in my interaction with Alex Yates and I can give no greater compliment. More than a student I consider him a colleague, I consider him a friend. I hate to see him go, I really really do.
I got mad love in my heart for Alex Yates and what he does. Feel almost guilty unleashing him on an unsuspecting world. But not on you. Show some love. Cause. Bulldog Yates is in the house.
Let me give a quick out shout out to Mary Cap. It means so much to us to have Mary come through. Mary Cap’s nurturement of this cohort remind us why this program so special.
Every year we get about 300 fiction applicants from which we choose 6, me and george we always looking for that little extra something that say this one special, this one got something to say, got a unique way of saying it
That little extra something something that is in many ways indefinable. That little extra something something that makes literature literature. When you choosing 6 out of 300, all our folk special, all of them contenders. But Vin. Vin something else. Vin like some kind of archtypic storyteller. Vini is in the most sacred sense of the word, a storyteller born.
From gathering the tribe around the sacred fire to the nobel prize, in our mythic heart of hearts, writers are storytellers. Masters of the narrative, custodians of the human condition. Stories are one of humanitys most fundamental way of making life mean something.
There is an art to telling stories that stories that matter, stories that count. They dont come easy. They cost you. So many mfa writers come out talented technicians but they got no heart. They write exercises.
Other day Vin tells me she has had a creative breakthrough, Im not going to be so eloquent she tells me. Yeah right. Not gon happen. I know where she coming from, sometimes her words run away with the story. Vin love words and language as only a master craftswoman can. They are her servants, her lovers, her children, her creations, magical confabulatory edifices that will exalt your soul and break your heart in the space of a sentence. In the space of that precisely chosen word at that precisely chosen moment. Not be eloquent? ask the sun not to shine, ask the rain not to fall, but dont ask Vin not to be eloquent.
Vin like to play. Play with words, play with the border between whats real and whats fiction. But Vins curse, Vins blessing, is she like to play with souls. Vin not happy unless she in the danger zone.
Vins work got heart. Vins characters reek of heart, often broken with loss, often losing body parts piece by piece, disappearing on the page, but as they lose their bodies their essence appears. Vins stories engage the human condition at its most essential. Vin tell stories like they meant to be told.
Not easy being a writer. Ive been taught that literature is a sacred calling, that writers are Gods assistants on the planet. That this power we wield is a major responsibility. That in many ways the human race the human condition, depends on us.
o life say the druidic james joyce, I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul, the uncreated conscious of my race.
Thats what Vin do. Storyteller. Capital S. Forging visions from the raw matter of her soul. This wayward child of Saraswati
Ive never read anything by Vin that wasnt unique, that wasnt special. Vins stories are always a revelation. Vins work reminds us that its a rough world out there and humanity will always need stories. To help them make sense of this thing life. This immensity. Humanity will always depend on stories that come out of the sacred responsibility real writers bear.
And as long as we got storytellers like Vini coming out of this program, we will always be something special. Its been an honor working with her. Been a revelation. Thats my girl, love her fiercely.
This is always a bittersweet day. But introducing Vin make me feel so good I feel love in my heart for everybody today.
May the Gods of Literature be good to her. May the Gods of Literature. Be good to us all.