glimmer train etc January 21, 2012

hi guys. ok, the month’s almost gone by and i haven’t heard much from you, but i’m posting in case anyone is still interested in the project. three things i want to share with you:

firstly, check out this website. looks like a great journal and they have writing contests that award publication and cash *every month*. not shabby at all. i might submit the story i’m working on to them.

secondly, i have been revising my story and think it’s almost done. it could use a reader. any volunteers? in exchange, i will, of course, read your story.

thirdly, this is a book review from tomorrow’s _times_ that raises that age-old question of style versus substance. what do you think matters most in good writing, a beautifully wrought sentence or the sweeping arcs of meaning through the story or novel? an interesting discussion, no?

hope you are all enjoying snow, january, life, and everything. be in touch if you wish to be in touch.


Portfolio 3 due 21 December! December 12, 2011

I asked for the due date for Portfolio 3 to be 14 December, and I am changing it to the week after, final exam week, so I can comment one more time on your stories before you put your portfolio together. I will have commented on everyone’s work by this Wednesday, the 14th.

Good luck on your work!

let’s get published! December 8, 2011

ok, continuing Creative Writers–let’s do this!

First, I think we need to change the format of this blog, however. Rather than have this site be the hub for your individual blogs, let’s please all post our notes, etc. on this site. I have to add each of you as “author” to this blog, and for that I need your active qc email addresses. Please send me that as a comment to this post. We can help each other revise our work on the individual blogs, but should collect our publishing info on a centralized site, I think.

Once you’re added as an author, please post telling us what piece(s) you’re trying to place, whether you’ve been published before (and when and where), and any ideas you have for how to go about this process.

Here are some ideas I have to get things started:

1) I got a story published in my favorite literary journal last spring. It was not a coincidence that I got published there. I read it religiously, admired all the work therein, and was no doubt influenced in my writing by what I read there. If you’re interested, here’s a link to the journal’s site:  So, find journals that are publishing the kind of work you like and read them. St. Mark’s Bookstore has a great selection of literary journals, as does the reading room on the second floor of the NYPL main branch.

2) Similarly, look at collections of stories, poems, and non-fiction–the “Year’s Best” series being a good place to start, to see where these people are being published.

3) Check out the “Poet’s and Writer’s” website for the titles of small presses, journals, online publications, and also literary contests, wch might pay more than the acceptance fee to a journal (my story got me 20 bucks!).

Yes? I know class just ended yesterday, but there’s no time like the present to get going on a (probably) long and difficult task. Looking forward to hearing from you!


final homework November 30, 2011


WEEK 14—7 Dec Hypertext fiction




“Hypertext fiction is a genre of electronic literature, characterized by the use of hypertext links which provides a new context for non-linearity in “literature” and reader interaction. The reader typically chooses links to move from one node of text to the next, and in this fashion arranges a story from a deeper pool of potential stories.”


Please read/spend time with the following hyperfiction pieces, and make sure the volume on your computer is turned on:


Young-Hae Chan, “Dakota,”


Shelly Jackson, “My Body & a Wunderkammer,”


dane, “him,” and “HELP,”


Caitlin Fisher, “These Waves of Girls,”




How are these stories told? What are the stories? In what ways do such stories alter, surprise, or confound your ideas of reading and making meaning? What do they have in common with traditional narrative and how are they different? What is the reader/viewer’s role in making meaning or creating the story?




Continue and preferably finish writing, revising, and editing your short story. How traditional is your narrative? What demands does it make upon the reader? What does your reader bring to the experience of making meaning from your story, and what might your reader take away from it? How would you like your reader to think, feel, experience as she reads and thinks about it? What can you do in your story to require more participation, thought, connectedness from your reader?




As a comment to your own story, ask a question or two about matters you feel you most need guidance on, and then read through the drafts of your peers’ stories and answer their questions as helpfully as you can.




my story, to read or not… November 30, 2011

So, on the basis of our last class exercise, where we all wrote on clichéd themes handed to us by peers, I began writing this. It’s not done yet, but I decided to post it in case anyone had helpful comments. This is not an assignment! Samantha’s prompt (a great one!) was something like, “A girl falls in love with a guy, who turns out to be a cad, and then realizes she’s been in love with her best friend all along.”




My Living Head

Protected: homework week 12 November 17, 2011

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Protected: homework week 11 November 10, 2011

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homework wk 10 November 3, 2011

WEEK 10—2 Nov Telling Your Story

Australian Aborigines say that the big stories—the stories worth telling and retelling, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life—are forever stalking the right teller, sniffing and tracking like predators hunting their prey in the bush.

—Robert Moss, Dreamgates


Please read Charles Bukowski, “The Most Beautiful Woman in Town” and Kelly Link, “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.”

What do these stories have in common? What are they about? What do we learn about the narrators? How does each narrator reveal and/or conceal information? How would you describe the pace of each story, the unfolding of its plot? What questions do you have about each story?

Begin writing your short story. Decide upon the point of view of your narrator, the levels of knowledge or information this narrator has, and what the narrator’s relationship to the readers will be. How reliable is your narrator? How honest? How informed? And how will you signal to readers necessary messages about the narrator?

If you have questions about where you’re going, ask them at the end of your draft so your peers and I can chime in. No one’s advice is sacrosanct; listen to your own instincts, but be open to the possibility of a breakthrough suggestion or observation. Read through the drafts of your peers’ stories and comment as helpfully as you can.


Protected: link and bukowski readings November 3, 2011

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portfolio ii November 1, 2011

Portfolio II—Poetry—Due week 11; 11/9—10 points

 By week 10, you should have at least four drafts of poems. Choose two of these for your portfolio. You may want to choose your best pieces; i.e. your funniest, most intelligent, most subtle, graceful, evocative, or powerful. You may want to choose pieces that represent a turning point in your understanding of the subject or of the potentialities of the genre, or of yourself as a writer. You may want to choose work that you wish to develop further and ask me specific questions about how you might do that.

These poems should be reworked and revised carefully, showing mindfulness of the kinds of issues we’ve discussed in the past several weeks. Clichés should be rooted out, unexpected language and imagery should be sought, unnecessary words or lines should be ruthlessly excised, and the poems should aim toward signs of inspiration, showing me and other readers that you have been brought to an unexpected place in your thinking and writing through the creative process.

Your one-page cover letter to me should describe this process of creating these poems and working on poetry over the last several weeks. Tell me your thoughts about poetry, how these have evolved this semester.

These are due in hard copy in class. Any questions about the assignment should be registered as a comment to this post so that others might benefit from it, as well.