Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Small fish

When "Clockworks" appears in the April/May issue of Asimov's, it will be surrounded by works from some impressive folks, as you can see here. What grand company!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Out of curiosity . . .

. . . which Canadian just visited here this evening to check out "Close"? My old student-filmmaker contact?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The failures of U.S. colleges

Per the blog Inside Higher Ed:

"If the purpose of a college education is for students to learn, academe is failing, according toAcademically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, a book being released today by University of Chicago Press."

See the rest of the article here.

We certainly expect more from the students at my high school (and at our middle school) than it seems is expected at some U.S. colleges.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Woodrell's writing; my writing

Along with books I'm reading with my students—The Plague and The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald makes the most surprising choices when it comes to adjectives; you have to dwell on them)—I'm moving happily through Winter's Bone, by Daniel Woodrell. Recently adapted into a film, it comes to me, however, as an unknown entity; I knew nothing of the story or writer before picking it up, but the film had received strong reviews by people constructing "year's-best" lists, and a glance at the author's credentials told me I should read this fellow.

The work reminds me of Robert Olmstead's writing. I read his Far Bright Star last year. There's that same dense style, an insistence on not giving way to weak verbs, the decision to write a fragment when an independent clause might force you into expected syntax, and the use of words in ways they haven't been used before. This means you must absolutely read each sentence; each is cut from a separate chunk of granite, so there's not always the kind of flow that just tugs you through a narrative. This isn't a criticism, but an observation. It's beautiful writing, yet it doesn't overwhelm the people we've met so far, who are all vividly set forth and alive.

My own writing:

I put in work today on the first section ("Collapse") of "Unearthed," my next prequel in the "Old Man" sequence. One piece of it remains incompletely thought through, but I'm satisfied with the shape this has taken, though a lot of reading (of books and papers) for school will keep me from accomplishing much more any time. Any progress, though, is progress. I'd like to have the opening smoothed out so that I can read it, along with the opening to "Clockworks," when I'm interviewed by the guys at The Book Cave. They interviewed me last year about "Helping Them Take the Old Man Down," though the interview came after the story had been out for a while, and so the print Asimov's was gone from the shelves. This time, I'll send them the story before it sees print, and the interview will come out prior to publication. Subscribers will see the April/May Asimov's starting mid-February; everybody else will see it a few weeks later. The interview should air in early February. I'll be sure to mention it here.