Residency day 7

We began the day with Josip Novakovich’s talk on negative motivation in fiction. Again, the large size of the group tended to work against it being a proper seminar. I’m also seeing Josip being fond of using exercises as part of his writing instruction. For me the problem is that these sorts of exercises address problems that I don’t have. Beginning a story is an easy thing for me. I have notebooks full of wonderful opening lines, paragraphs, even pages. The trick is being able to bring this to a complete work. I wonder how there could be an in-class exercise in things like conclusions or revisions.

In the afternoon workshop, we had another large group for the genre workshop. I found the analyses we did of openings to be in some ways helpful, although was a bit embarrassed by the fact that I was familiar with 3/4 of the pieces including the relatively obscure Heliodorus piece.

The afternoon seminar was ”Print Matters” where we visited the University of Tampa Book Arts studio. I mostly spent time with the Intertype operator, and had the opportunity to actually do a bit of keyboarding work on the Intertype. The keyboard of that is a fussier object than I had imagined and it takes a light touch to keep from deploying multiple mats with each keystroke.

The evening reading was Jeff Parker and Arthur Flowers. Parker was the sacrificial lamb who had to be part of a reading with Flowers whose reading was as much performance as reading, with no printed manuscript to work from. Instead, he told/preached/sang his stories. One African-American girl in the audience asked where he got what he did from, and I kept thinking, girl, don’t you go to church? Flowers didn’t acknowledge it, and it might be a case of parallel development of traditions, but what he was doing felt very much a part of the African-American preaching tradition, even if he substituted Yoruba words for the usually Christian terminology.

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