The semester starts in ten days, and I'll be back in the classroom teaching Writing Fiction and a great-books-style class called Homer to the Renaissance. As always, the project of the creative writing class is a little curious to me, and here's Katharine Anne Porter, musing on one of the central problems:
“Writing, in any sense that matters, cannot be taught. It can only be learned, and learned by each separate one of us in his own way, by the use of his own powers of imagination and perception, the ability to learn the lessons he has set for himself… The good artist is first a good workman…”
Maybe. I think what can be taught is how to read like a writer. In the end, maybe that's what the workshop is for.
(quote noticed over at Maud Newton's blog)
Aug 18, 2008
So a trove (maybe) of Kafka's papers are currently being held by the 74-year-old cat-lady daughter of Max Brod in Tel Aviv. She holds onto them while everyone argues about how Jewish Kafka was and how this affects where his papers should go. I mean, of course. Nothing related to Kafka's legacy can be normal, right? Hava Hoffe, give up the papers!
Aug 13, 2008
Apparently the time has come for Franz Kafka to be posthumously reinvented as an erotically supercharged bon vivant instead of the monastic depressive we all assumed we knew. What with this Times piece about scholarly interest in his pornography collection, and this (very fine) Telegraph-by-way-of-NYRB essay by Zadie Smith about what really happens if you pay attention when you read Kafka, a new picture is emerging. I like this new guy better than the old one; it's nice to know that you don't have to be utterly oppressed and dysfunctional to be a great writer.
Aug 9, 2008
I just got a cover treatment in the mail, and it looks mighty cool. Soon as it's final, I'll post it here. The book is going through a last round of revisions after comments from Eric and some of the show's writers, and then it's off to the printer. It's been a lot of fun to work on...and the illustrations are going to be great, too.