“… I want to say a word about…the sense of closure and completeness…that I believe every satisfactory story must have. As anybody can testify, experience is a continuous shower, without beginnings or endings. It ravels off from previous experiences and frays off into new ones. Because the record of any experience is not complete without a thinking pause after it, and because most readers have a short attention span, the writer’s job is to contrive a positive conclusion that will pass for an ending of the limited segment of life the story covers. In a plotted story there is a rising action, a series of complications, a climax, a denouement. Somebody or something wins or loses, lives or dies. That is what Hemingway had in mind when he said that all stories end in death—there is no other ending that really ends anything. So we must contrive little symbolic deaths that seem to end something, and we must be careful when we do it; for beginnings and endings, Chekhov said, are the places where writers are most inclined to lie.”
On Teaching and Writing Fiction
Join us next Thursday evening (that’s April 23) from 7 – 10 pm at Vermillion to hear the latest crop of stories that’s come out of the Factory. Readings will start around 7:30, drinking and talking will go indefinitely!
Check out the event on Facebook.
The March ‘Intro to Fairy Tales’ class is going swimmingly, thanks for asking! We have six full-time students and one who drops in when he can take time away from working on his Ph.D. in mythopoetic studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute (this is an unusual privilege – don’t go getting any fancy ideas). In terms of age, I think we’ve got a representative from each decade of life from the teens to the fifties (with a few doubling up in the 20s and 30s); in terms of experience, we span the entire spectrum, as well. And it works beautifully! Class discussions are funny, intelligent, and engaging thanks to the cool folks who came out to play this time.
Last night was the third class in this series, so we have officially hit the halfway mark. There’s no turning back now! With each class we move steadily closer to our goal of a complete, polished, original fairy tale for every student. There’s some great imagery on the table, and I’m looking forward to the stories that are in the pipeline.
Check back in three or four weeks (at the very least), when I will post student stories – if the students in question don’t get too shy!