Author Archive

Notes from My Dashboard

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Guest post by Greg Schutz “Writing a novel,” E.L. Doctorow has observed, “is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” For me, at least, the same could be said about writing short

Of Mice and Horsemen: Point of View in ‘Lord of Misrule’

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Guest post by Greg Schutz Early in her National Book Award-winning novel Lord of Misrule, Jaimy Gordon offers two competing accounts a single conversation through two different points of view. Medicine Ed, an old groomsman at a rundown thoroughbred track in West Virginia, spies on an encounter between Maggie,

The Trouble with Happiness

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Guest post by Greg Schutz In 1873, Tolstoy famously opened Anna Karenina with a homily that has hounded fiction writers ever since: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Even though Anna Karenina ultimately complicates the notion of happiness and, furthermore, questions

The Book You Didn’t Know You Needed

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Guest post by Greg Schutz The advent of another holiday season reminds me that, as readers and consumers, it’s easier than ever these days to get what we think we want. Looking for Jonathan Franzen’s new novel? A couple clicks, a couple keystrokes, and it’s on its way to

Thank You, Mr. Venturini

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Guest post by Greg Schutz Thanksgiving is almost upon us. For me, this means a welcome weeklong vacation from teaching: a chance to dig into that stack of student essays awaiting grades; a chance to sort and stow or recycle the countless handouts, worksheets, rough drafts, lesson plans, and

Writing in a “Phrensy”

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Guest post by Greg Schutz In Book II of his De Oratore, Cicero stages a dialogue between Marcus Antonius, Caius Julius Caesar, and several other figures, one of whose subjects is the evocation of emotion in the audience and the consequences of emotional speechmaking on the orator. According to

The Great Indoors

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Guest post by Greg Schutz I read my friend Sara Schaff’s story “Our Lady of Guazá” in the latest issue of Inkwell with rapt attention, to say the least. This is not simply because the story, about the relationship between two half-sisters in Bogotá in the wake of their

Call and Response

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Guest post by Greg Schutz As a reader, I’m fascinated by those moments when literary influence–which usually has a way of creeping up on an author, sneaking into her writing through some backdoor of the subconscious–moves out of the shadows and into the open, when an author acknowledges her

Why the Short Story Doesn’t Matter and Why You Shouldn’t Care

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The Lonely Reader, Part Four Guest post by Greg Schutz Three weeks ago, I began this series of posts with a simple question that’s been batted around a lot lately. To paraphrase: “Why, given the novel’s continuing viability and the increasing hustle and bustle of our society, is the

The Lonely Reader (Part Three)

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Guest post by Greg Schutz. Part one of this post appears here. Part two, here. Elle magazine’s review of Julie Orringer’s 2003 story collection How to Breathe Underwater contains the following preposterous, but sadly typical, statement: “Each story delivers the satisfying details and emotional heft of a novel.” The