This Is Not a Breakup Letter

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman Dear Djuna, Look. It’s nothing personal, but every time I start reading Nightwood, I get four pages in and quit.   Even T.S. Eliot writes, in his introduction to the novel, “When I first read the book I found the opening movement rather

The Lonely Reader (Part Two)

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Guest post by Greg Schutz. Part One of this post appears here. I’m far from the first to suggest that, in spite of the form’s name, brevity should not be considered the defining feature of the short story. As Frank O’Connor contends in his seminal 1963 study of the

‘Know’ or ‘Don’t Know’

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Guest post by Fan Wu I once overheard a discussion between two MFA students. I was at a caf√© in Palo Alto–near Stanford–and they were sitting at a nearby table. One said the best writing advice he’d gotten was to “write what you know.” He said that having lived

Writing the Southern Landscape

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman The present state of the South is one wherein nothing can be taken for granted, one in which our identity is obscured and in doubt. In the past, the things that have seemed to many to make us ourselves have been very obvious

The Lonely Reader (Part One)

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Guest post by Greg Schutz   “I have always wondered why short stories aren’t more popular in this country,” muses Barbara Kingsolver in her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2001. “We Americans are such busy people you’d think we’d jump at the chance to have our literary

Mother Tongue

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Guest post by Fan Wu It was a day thirteen years ago. I sat in a packed classroom looking out on an oval-shaped garden flanked with lush palm trees, my eyes fixed blankly on Professor Chaffee’s bearded face. He was the department dean, elegantly-attired, soft-voiced, in his sixties. I

Objects of Affection

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman It was 2000, late September. I was twenty years old, studying abroad in Italy, and on my way to Munich on a train. Just before boarding, I picked up a copy of Anne Michaels’¬†Fugitive Pieces. I didn’t have a lot of extra spending

Letter to a Fiction Teacher

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Guest post by Greg Schutz Dear Fred, You don’t remember me. You would, perhaps–I hope so, at least–but you don’t. I just wanted to tell you that I reread a story of yours the other day, and then, even though I didn’t really have the time to spare, I

Writers Rule

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Guest post by Fan Wu David, an entrepreneur, world traveler, and longtime friend, e-mailed me to say he disliked my latest blog entry, “Being Published, and Then…” He wrote: “This post is too dark and negative…I hope that in your next post you will talk about solutions to writers’

Trying to Write the Southern Accent

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman Confession: I used to hate forms that asked for your place of birth, because I had to write Gaffney, South Carolina–a city best known for its stucco outlet malls and peach-shaped water tower that some refer to as “the ass in the sky.”