zanyzebra-web-hosting.ca/data/nso/4209-ideas-for-online.php A student has submitted some work with the words: "I don't think it's very good. I've seen the experience of becoming a writer from both sides. When I began, it didn't occur to me to go on a creative writing course — there were few in the late s, and it seemed more pressing to do an academic PhD. I taught myself to write. I still think, for a writer who is also an insatiable reader, there is a lot to be said for the self-taught route. But since , I've started teaching creative writing in universities, and now teach at Bath Spa. Creative writing, as a discipline, may not be entirely selfless, despite any beneficial results.
Forced into the academy, a writer might run a good seminar something like this. We might discuss an aspect of technique with reference to a passage from a published piece of fiction — last week we talked about character from the outside, looking at a page of Elizabeth Bowen. Other ways of thinking about humanity might prove relevant.
There are writers' statements or thoughts about what they do as writers — Arnold Bennett's glorious book on the subject, or Virginia Woolf 's counter-statement about the exterior and interior world of the mind, or any number of interviews with present-day authors. Or we could have a look at sociologists' analysis, like that of Erving Goffman , or psychologists', or anything else that seems interesting and relevant. When student work is discussed, it has to be a safe but rigorous process. Constructive comments are insisted on; not ego-massaging niceness, but specific comments on where something has gone wrong and how it might be improved.
Is the presiding consciousness the right one? Does he need to filter everything through his awareness? Is this the right tense? What is this thing called free indirect style? Does enough happen? Do students say: "I really like the part where you …"? You bet your sweet bippy they don't. Classes, at Bath Spa and elsewhere, differ greatly. With a faculty that includes very varied authors, there is never going to be a uniform approach.
But we often find ourselves addressing recurrent issues. How can I create characters that are memorable and engaging? But then what? Top tip; incident has to keep coming from outside, and the unexpected illuminates character. Try experimentally dropping a giant block of frozen piss through the ceiling of their room and see what they do.
There are also possibilities that writers just haven't perceived. You don't have to present action as a one-off series of events; actions can be beautifully recurrent in a sentence running: "Whenever Amir visited Brenda, he always took the second-cheapest box of milk chocolates from the newsagents for her.
She would always thank him effusively. And how rude and rare is shrugging, anyway? Your students are not, thank heaven, going to be much like you as writers. They are going to react against you with their own thoughts and creative principles. But a good creative writing course will produce independent-thinking, craftsmanlike innovators with critical, widely curious and energetic minds. I don't know why this goal isn't more common in universities, anyway. By which I mean if it isn't on the page it doesn't exist. The connection between your mind and the reader's mind is language.
Reading is not telepathy. Like or dislike is a personal thing and tells me something about you, but nothing about the text. If you don't think something is well written, convince me. If you do think so, convince me. Learn from everything you read and understand how to learn from everything you read.
And above all read! My classes use texts I am pretty sure they won't know because I want them to see how wide is the world of books and thought and imagination. You can write about anything you like but there must be a connection between you and the material. Ezra Pound was right. Many creative writing students start with the belief that writing is entirely the operation of point of view; in other words, that the world only exists in so far as it is perceived by a human personality.
Most of what I teach involves encouraging students to exteriorise their subjective world by fixing it to objects, instead of routing everything through the persona of Jane or John. For the reader, being trapped in the head of Jane or John, and dependent on them for every scrap of information, is the precise opposite of their own experience of existence. A story that starts with "Jane looked out of the kitchen window and thought about her life" — despite the fact that it may be perfectly true — will always be struggling to free itself from a basic unreality.
Many students find this idea counterintuitive, but the easier and more effortless something looks, the more thoroughly it is underpinned by technique. The desire to write comes easily; writing itself is technical and hard. I give my students exercises in which a certain object has to feature. I choose the object myself: the more alien it is to their subjective processes the better. The object represents the impingement of reality, and it nearly always has the effect of turning their writing inside out.
Over time I've learned which objects work the best: some of the things I've used — a violin, a pair of scissors — have been too easily conscripted into the student's subjective world. Others — a lawnmower, a new pair of shoes — unfailingly make the writing more objective. The narrative has to find a way around it, like water has to flow around an obstacle, and the result is that the whole enterprise is given form.
I teach a class on the craft of fiction-writing at Yale, which is a hybrid of a literature course and a writing workshop. If a more traditional literature course has to do with why we're interested in writers like Henry James and James Joyce, my class focuses on how they did what they did, using only ink, paper, and the same vocabulary available to everyone. If a more traditional workshop is largely based on trial and error — write a story and we'll tell you what's wrong with it — my course is based at least partly on why writers write as they do; on the basis for their decisions.
I do remind my students, periodically, that fiction contains an element of ineluctable mystery along with its elements of craft, and that a great story or novel is great in certain ways we can elucidate, and certain ways in which we cannot. We don't dissect great literature in the belief that once all its organs are spread out on the table before us, we've got it figured out.
We read extensively and, each week, do our best to determine how certain effects were achieved by a different writer. The poems were good too, but as someone who is not all that into poetry they were not the strongest part of the collection for me. The themes here are comparable to those of Carver's fiction - marital issues, alcoholism, hunting and solitude or lack of it.
I'd read somewhere that a couple of these short stories had been published in other collections before, that these were early drafts of those stories, but I only recognised the final one, "So much water so close to home". The other stories that stood out to me were "The pheasant", "The lie" and "The cabin", all brilliant examples of how Carver was an unparalleled master of the short story.
Fires might be a good introduction to Carver - you get to sample all types of his writing - but I think overall the stories in Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? Still a great collection and well worth checking out! View 2 comments. Jul 13, Daniel rated it it was amazing Recommended to Daniel by: Jennifer netherby. Shelves: books-about-writers , books-about-writing , My friend Jennifer thanks for lending it to me, Jennifer! I do, however, want to call attention to "You Don't Know What Love Is an evening with Charles Bukowski ," which, I'm assuming, is pretty much a transcript of "Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories" is nearly flawless, and highly recommended to anyone either coming to Raymond Carver for the first time or already a fan of his work.
I do, however, want to call attention to "You Don't Know What Love Is an evening with Charles Bukowski ," which, I'm assuming, is pretty much a transcript of just that, in the form of a five-page poem. Though fans of either Carver or Bukowski won't need it, here's a brief excerpt to whet the appetite: Bukowski this is the life I say it's good to be poor it's good to have hemorrhoids it's good to be in love But you don't know what it's like You don't know what it's like to be in love If you could see her you'd know what I mean The poems, the essays especially the one about Carver's father , and the stories -- the stories, my God, the stories -- in "Fires" are all simply brilliant.
Less reading this review, more reading the book. View all 15 comments. After the essay On Writing, Raymond Carver explains more about his art, the suffering involved in it in: - Fires The reader learns about the greatest influence on the author, the hardships endured and some of his convictions. His children had the greatest influence on Raymond Carver. The reader is affected by the suffering, the poverty that the writer and his family had to endure; they had difficulty to put bread on the table. The writer states that he took almost any job he could find, from janitor to picking up daisies during day time.
He did not find enough time to work and tried to get one hour during work days and if that was not possible to try and work on weekends. He even considered bond or debt collection at one time- I forgot which was mentioned in an ad…however, the author did not take it. His wife was a waitress for many years and she later became a school teacher, but for a long time they had problems in finding a position suitable for their skills. Raymond Carver mentions Henry Miller, who was supposed to have said about his writing, while engaged with The Tropic of Cancer, a book that the author of Fires loves but I could not read, except for the first chapter or so… - Henry Miller was worried that someone may come and take the chair from under him, while he was writing - Raymond Carver appears to have been in much the same situation There is an incident in a Laundromat.
Raymond Carver has been waiting for about thirty minutes, trying to get his clothes into a drier, but without success. He is already tense and looking for an opening, a machine that has finished its cycle and perhaps he could be in first. Now I am thinking of positive psychology and research that demonstrates that parents are happier when…their children move away from home… As a parent of a teenager, I think that I understand the feeling and imagine when I will not have to confront and respond to a daughter that sees almost anything I do with a condemning remark or correction.
The problems that Raymond Carver had to face were not just financial, or the pressing lack of time to write. Jul 09, Vishal rated it really liked it. Out of all the wonderful pieces of work in this collection of essays, shorts and poems, The Cabin is perhaps THE example of quintessential Carver. Astonishingly vivid just a few words in, Carver chooses his words sparingly and lovingly like a painter selects his blends of colours and shades.
Not much happens, yet everything is felt. Fires also satisfied my curiosity to read his poetry, a mix of touching, abstract, ominous and-in the case of You Don't Know What Love is, an account of an evening s Out of all the wonderful pieces of work in this collection of essays, shorts and poems, The Cabin is perhaps THE example of quintessential Carver. Fires also satisfied my curiosity to read his poetry, a mix of touching, abstract, ominous and-in the case of You Don't Know What Love is, an account of an evening spent with a fellow master of words Bukowski-razor-sharp funny as well.
His poems and his words opens worlds within one, inspire one to write, and beat with a pulsing of life as if to say: 'This could be your life, too'. Dec 04, Alex rated it really liked it. According to the Afterword, Carver revised "So Much Water So Close to Home," and although I didn't know that while reading the version of the story in this book, I found myself much more engaged in and disturbed by the story this time around.
In Carver's interview with the Paris Review included at the end of the book , he gives some thoughts on the purpose of fiction: "It doesn't have to do anything. It just has to be there for the fierce pleasure we take in doing it, and the different kind of According to the Afterword, Carver revised "So Much Water So Close to Home," and although I didn't know that while reading the version of the story in this book, I found myself much more engaged in and disturbed by the story this time around.
It just has to be there for the fierce pleasure we take in doing it, and the different kind of pleasure that's taken in reading something that's durable and made to last, as well as beautiful in and of itself.
Something that throws off these sparks--a persistent and steady glow, however dim. I am giving this book five stars because I love Raymond Carver, but I am disappointed in my particular copy. I got it at a used book store and it looked fine on the outside, but it must've been a misprint. In one of the stories a page was missing, and then later in the book, it repeated a huge chunk of pages, so I ended up missing four stories entirely. How does that even happen?
Apr 04, Matt rated it liked it. I found the essays in Fires inspiring and brilliantly written. I found a handful of the poems readable and the stories; as a collection of stories I found them mismatched. Essays: I enjoyed On Writing and Fires the most. On Writing inspired me and filled me with hope. I found it poignantly authentic, like most of his other work. I found it a I found the essays in Fires inspiring and brilliantly written. I found it an intriguing look into Carvers private life.
At Night The Salmon Move sent me into a mental state of welcome torpidity.
The last line of the poem made me feel hungover. The idea of finding salvation by force came to my mind. Stories: The Cabin captivated me the most. The setting felt comfortable and the plot felt authentic. It left me with a feeling of desperately wanting to go home. In its capacity as a kinda grab bag of inter-related essays, lots of poetry and a few early drafts of stories that would later be transmogrified and made famous in other collections, it works as a pretty great entry point to the bleak, dry, sometimes funny and always aching worldview of Carver that is, for sullen SWMs like me, a real balm against the indignity of just existing.
Basically, Carver is brilliant and everyone should read him. May 15, Will Simpson rated it it was amazing. While many of the poems in this book are light and elegant but the short stories are dark, rich and full of details that make them come alive. Carver tells stories without being too explicit. Letting the reader bring thoughtful consideration to the story. He seems to trust the reader. I felt trusted. I also loved the poems about the outdoors. The environment. Fishing, boating, being in the forest. Surprising juxtaposition with the gritty stories.
I plan on reading more by Raymond Carver. Dec 23, James rated it really liked it. I still think his fiction is boring, but his essays are refreshing, his poetry is very, very good and the interview was pretty interesting. A grab-bag from the boss of the short form, comprising essays, poems and stories. It sticks with you, that one.
Apr 16, Jigar Brahmbhatt rated it liked it. Valuable if you want to see how a writer was made. Essays work like quick vodka shots. The stories collected are early attempts, still not sharp enough, the dialogues clumsy. It is very inspiring in a way. If you continue doing for a long time what really matters to you and if you are honest, things may work out. Apr 20, David Jonson rated it really liked it. A good introduction and sample of Raymond Carter's writing.
The stories on his father and poetry professor were especially enjoyable. The Mississippi poem was also a standout. Will be reading more Carver. Feb 18, Plankton rated it liked it. The essay part is just great and informative, giving a picture of the construction of Carver's life and writing creeds. But the poems are poor; they make sense, yet are all but tantamount to nonsense.
The stories, in comparison with the revised edition, seem absolutely verbose. May 22, Ailim M rated it it was amazing. I loved it. The essays are so beautiful. Some nice poetry and great insights into authors and authoring. Because of Winn-Dixie is the result of that effort. It is a book populated with stray dogs and strange musicians, lonely children and lonelier adults.
They are all the kind of people that, too often, get lost in the mainstream rush of life. Spending time with them was a revelation for me. What I discovered is that each time you look at the world and the people in it closely, imaginatively, the effort changes you. The world, under the microscope of your attention, opens up like a beautiful, strange flower and gives itself back to you in ways you could never imagine. What stories are hiding behind the faces of the people who you walk past everyday?
What hopes? What despair? Trey Greer did know what he was talking about. Writing is seeing. It is paying attention. I think of it this way: my characters sing songs and I stop to listen to them and when the song is done I give them my money and they say, "God bless you, baby. When I was a junior in college, I took an expository writing course taught by a graduate student named Trey Greer.
On the first day of class, he assigned a five hundred-word essay: describe something, anything. Understand, I had absolutely no interest in writing. I wanted to be a Writer; and so I put off the work of the essay until the last possible moment. The night before it was due, I went grocery shopping. And sitting outside the Winn-Dixie, perched on top of a hundred-pound bag of Purina dog chow, was a woman with a tambourine.
Over and over again. This may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but there are a lot of people and I was one of them for a very long time who think that somehow they can become a writer without doing the work of writing.