Friday, March 16, 2012

VCCA: Random, #1

Someone left behind a piece of paper thumbtacked to the wall of my studio (the cozy little corncrib, for those of you who have been to VCCA) with some quotations about characterization.  Here’s the one that’s speaking to me right now:

“You are not your characters, but they are you.”
~John Cheever


And how come no one ever insisted that I read the stories of Wallace Stegner before?  Seriously.  I’ve only read three so far, but they are AMAZING.  I knew he was noted for his way of capturing the landscape, but seriously:

“There had been a wind during the night, and all the loneliness of the world had swept up out of the southwest.  The boy had heard it wailing through the screens of the sleeping porch where he lay, and he had heard the washtub bang loose from the outside wall and roll down toward the coulee, and the slam of the screen doors, and his mother’s padding feet after she rose to fasten things down.  Through one half-open eye he had peered up from his pillow to see the moon skimming windily in a luminous sky; in his mind he had seen the prairie outside with its woolly grass and cactus white under the moon, and the wind, whining across that endless oceanic land, sang in the screens, and sang him back to sleep.” ~from “Buglesong”


The dinners have been amazing, and so healthful that I’m embarrassed that I don’t make quinoa at home because I’m not sure where to find it in the grocery store.  There’s this green sauce the chef makes that is so yummy, I could happily eat grass clippings if drenched in it.


Meanwhile, back in the real world, Shenandoah editor R.T. Smith wrote this wonderful piece about what he looks for as an editor, if he could have one idyllic week of reading submissions:

Day 1
Funk, something hybrid and loamy, misbehaving
like a snake that’s twined a wild vine
scabbed bark and lush blossoms
flagrant, ghastly
rumpled surface, tightly wrought structure and texture
crow-cawking, naughty (but dodging the obscene)
or something wholly serendipity and green


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.