“I think open endings require a little more work of the reader; that, when a scene or story is left open, the reader gets to imagine for him/herself how things might’ve turned out.”
Add it to the quirky mysteries of life: along with how one of the most famous creative writing programs happens to be founded here in a city bounded by nothing much but cornfields and rolling hills, that every four years Iowans become the most important citizens in the U.S., the first to choose the next leader of the free world. And then picture me: an Asian-American, whose votes in California used to amount to nothing more than a symbol and a duty, about to caucus for the first time, holding one of the golden tickets as an undecided voter.
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.
* Kevin Haworth *
I had started driving at six-thirty that morning, heading from my home in Appalachian Ohio to the central part of Iowa. Once I escaped Columbus’s orbit (and its early morning traffic), the roads became so straight I steered with a single finger on the wheel. With cruise control and well-balanced tires, driving through the middle states is an act requiring little intervention. Miles passed under the car like loose thoughts. Every time I blinked, another half-hour had gone by.