Thursday, July 20, 2006

Jim Shepard

I was fortunate enough to study with Jim Shepard at the recent Tin House Summer Workshop. And now I am reading and re-reading his short stories.

Jim runs his workshop in a manner both respectful and hilarious, and the outpouring of laughter enables him to go deep into the text. This method is disarming, enlightening, and instructional. Oh, and did I mention profoundly funny?

He starts each session by reading a poem aloud. We heard Thomas Lux The Black Swan, Lawrence Raab Attack of the Crab Monsters, Louise Gluck Youth, Richard Wilbur Love Calls Us to the Things of This World, Adrienne Rich Fantasia for ? (dead mountain climber, sorry, cannot read own handwriting!), William Stafford You Reading This, Be Ready.

Here are some of my notes:
"The great sentences instruct us...Your intuition is a greater genius than you are. Follow your intuition...Plug into your preoccupations...Write for the best reader you have ever had...Look for the weirdness in the story; there is the clue to the story's heart...In hard-boiled fiction the man does something he is ashamed of, therefore the woman must die...Great literature is interested in human agency and responsibility."

I am particularly fond of the title story, and the oddly compelling The Creature From the Black Lagoon, which is hilarious and disturbing and sad.

Labels: , , ,


At 9:13 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Linera, it was great to meet you in person!

I really liked the feeling of our workshop. It was really supportive. :)

And I love the title story in Love and Hydrogen too!

At 2:12 PM, Blogger katrina said...

Great notes, Linera! Thanks for sharing and I'm so glad to have met you in person.



Post a Comment

<< Home