Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the festival of books: women of the slipstream

Like Callie (whom I was delighted to finally meet in person), I am going to take a few days to do the Festival of Books justice. Day One begins...

The return of bad event photography!

The one disappointment of the Festival (aside from my inability to accomplish all I had intended) was Kelly Link's absence at the Women of the Slipstream panel. Even without her, however, it was still an incredibly inspiring collection of very smart women (and man). In the photo above, from left to right, we have Rob Spillman, Shelley Jackson (filling in for Kelly Link), Miranda Mellis, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, and Aimee Bender. Not only did this conversation provide the key to unlock a problem I was having with my novel, but I also discovered my new haircut. (Thanks, well-coiffed woman in the audience!)

Bat Segundo style, I am going to deliver my notes to you in a subjects discussed prose poem form. Here goes: Anais Nin, Walker Percy's "Naming & Being," sparrows in prison, depriving readers of familiar meaning, growing up in an anarchist collective, Murakami, the hostile environment of rationalism that is Shelley Jackson's brain, Nabokov's galley slaves, myth making, daughters of Angela Carter, pagan hand fasting, rewriting the New York Times, Judith Grossman's mythic vs. public stories, Miranda Mellis's Encyclopedia Project, 1992's tiny Mac screens, Georges Perec's A Void, impulsive synapses to beehives, fairy tales, Donald Barthelme, Richard Yates, going back to the Norton Anthology, The Potrait Of A Lady, teaching the books you want to steal from, Beckett, The Castle, Moby-Dick, Pynchon, Zeroville, astronomy, books on knots, parental euphemisms, Albert Einstein, treating the absurd with realism, Magic for Beginners, slipstream vs. the new weird, being overeducated about writing, the writer brain vs. the editor brain, Kelly Link's "skin" tattoo, finding your own voice by falling short of your models, Norwegian death metal, the dizzying array of speculative writing labels...

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