Socially, you can be a hermit if you want to; lock yourself up in a room and just write for two years. No one’s probably going to miss you—there are no required events to attend except for the first day meeting. Even student readings are informal and optional. You can finally experiment on growing that beard thick, long, and covered in crumbs.
The Iowa Writers’ Workshop was founded in 1936 and is the oldest-known program of its kind. Things change here at Vatican City pace. Hard copy posters and flyers are preferred to listservs; telephone and personal contact occur more often than e-mails. If it wasn’t too expensive to maintain retro equipment, the Workshop would probably still use typewriters and mimeograph machines. The Workshop librarian takes pictures of all the students and compiles them in a facebook—no, I’m not talking about the one online; this is a physical booklet that has very limited stalking capabilities.
The uninflected prose of an objective narrator has seemingly declined in contemporary literature in favor of the “voicier” POVs such as first person, second person, or third person close. We are told that reflecting characters’ personalities in the language—such as by collapsing the distance between the way they speak and the way the story is narrated—is a good thing.
Reading Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders and John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction side-by-side makes for a fun, challenging experience: figuring out how Mueenuddin’s prose violates stylistic conventions and gets away with it. In fact, Gardner’s (and other grammarians’) prescribed sentence constructions often lead to clumsy iterations.
“I’m excited for the food movement: It’s a really special time, seeing organic and local is trendy across an array of social groups and age levels. It’s been wild watching the hype grow as I’ve made my way around the country. Many of these individuals are not super informed on the reasons to choose organic and local–that, to me, is systematic change. You don’t need reasons to choose organic and local, you eat what tastes better.”