Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Less

September 25, 2013

You always hear people say, “I never saw it coming.” But I remember thinking, months ago, “I hope Les never kills himself.”

Les is my writing teacher. Was. At the beginning, I was a little uncomfortable being in the same room with him. Such visible signs of suffering.

He was on the cusp of old age, too poor for a car or a smartphone. Wifeless, childless, alcoholic, only one good eye. When I met him he had about three teeth but over the last year he’d gotten good replacement teeth, which I took as an optimistic sign.

The only time I heard him complain was when a bed bug infestation sent him to the ER.

Les was generous.

Every week he brought us candy. That’s what gets me: Imagining him going to the CVS on Rose, buying bags of Hershey’s Kisses and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, putting them in his backpack alongside our carefully corrected homework, hopping on his bike. He had a beautiful deep voice, and told us to not to focus on what was wrong with our writing, but what was working. He made it so easy for his students to ignore his troubles.

Oh, Les. Fuck.

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http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-writing-instructor-and-novelist-les-plesko-has-died-20130917,0,2082295.story?track=rss#tugs_story_display

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http://www.nytimes.com/1995/01/22/books/in-short-fiction-674295.html

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Chapter

July 11, 2012

I’m taking another writing class.

One of my classmates has already finished 100 pages of her novel. Writing 100 pages of anything is pretty impressive, if you ask me. But not as impressive as the woman who’s working on the second draft of her second book. Can you imagine? Having a book you wrote sitting around the house? I bet the drawer emits a glow, like treasure in Indiana Jones.

So far, the hardest part of novel writing is that you have to make it up as you go along. E.L. Doctorow said, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

What a beautiful notion! Also, what a great way to get lost!

I suppose you have to embrace the possibility that instead of reaching the party you were invited to — the one at the mansion on the lake, where the terraces are lit with candles and laughter floats out the French doors — you might end up sleeping at a motel in the middle of nowhere. The kind where the carpets are brown even if they didn’t start out that way, and the mattresses sag in the middle. But where, if you’re very quiet, you can hear the night noises of an entire wilderness, just outside your door.