>First up on Wednesday was Lynn Freed’s lecture: On False Starts & Creative Failure: How Not to Begin a Novel When You Don’t Have One to Write. Freed was quite funny. She was telling the story of the writing of what turned out to be her novel The Bungalow. Her second published novel had just come out (her actual second novel had not yet seen daylight) and she was getting some pressure from agents and editors to produce a third within a year. She said she wanted to write a sequel, but people didn’t seem to like that idea. She began with an idea, an image really, and that produced her first paragraph. But she didn’t know where to go with it and began again many times. Ultimately she discovered what it needed to be about, though, and then it flowed.
I attended a craft class on Grace Paley’s story “Mother” in the afternoon. Chris Castellani did a close reading of the story, which is only 421 words, to demonstrate how concision can work for you in fiction.
Then came a reading with Jay Parini, who read some poetry (after making some wonderful political comments with which I whole-heartedly agreed; I felt like I was at a gospelfest and nearly shouted “amen”) followed by something from his new novel. Then Tom Sleigh read his poetry.
There was a presentation by T.R. Hummer from Georgia Review and Hannah Tinti of One Story. Among other things, Hummer restated his opposition to simultaneous submissions. Tinti handed out copies of the magazine.
I had workshop work to do in the evening so I missed the readings by fellow Jess Row and faculty poet Brigit Pegeen Kelly. But I did manage to get to the second reading by the Waiters, which was good.
The conference feels like it is winding down . . .