Residency day 3

Lack of sleep is beginning to catch up with me, and I was in a bit of a haze all day. I wasn’t the only one who was lacking sleep though—the first seminar was delayed because Parker overslept for the first time in five years as he claimed.

Our day began with Eli Horowitz, former editor of McSweeney’s. In many ways it was a look at his autobiography, although there were some interesting insights into his editing process.

After our morning workshop and lunch, we then had Karen Russell, who is substituting for Denis Johnson on short notice. Surprisingly, even with this short notice, she was able to prepare a seminar in which we looked at the importance of grounding even (or especially) fantastical narratives. As an exercise, after reading from Kevin Brockmeier’s A Brief History of the Dead, writing our own account of the passage from the living to the dead.

The evening reading was a staged reading of Denis Johnson’s play Psychos Never Dream, a wonderfully funny and coarse work which I wish we had been able to hear all of rather than just the first act. I did find that once again, a staged reading has been less than it can be. Chicago’s Shakespeare Project still remains my gold standard for what a staged reading can and should be.

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