Friday, April 28, 2006

Wind's Blowing Writerly with a Hint of Java

This image doesn't relate at all (or even with one of my usual lame tangents) to the post below, but I've been saving it because it amused me. Some days, that's the best kung fu I've got. Hiya!

I'm not feeling concise and pithy today, but blurry and sprawling around the edges. Pardon the mess.

1) I went to part of the MWA Symposium and the boffo Agents & Editors party on Wednesday, because I like hangin' with the other geeks, and I have a manuscript to sell. Last year, I also attended the Edgar awards. However, since I was flying out today, I opted against going last night, though I love the opportunity to preen and carouse and I know some of the nominees and happy winners. Well, we're acquainted at least and they're too polite to deny me in public. If you want the bullet points on the event and the winners' roster, as always, Sara Weinman has the scoop.

2) I was also reading this slightly overlong (for me), but strongly felt essay by Alex Keegan on the sameness of graduates and practitioners of the current high-lit scene. He actually experimented by pasting together paragraphs from different lit writers to see whether his writing group could tell, upon listening, where one author's work ended and another began. They couldn't. Homogeneity in style and approach run rampant, and Keegan's not going to take it anymore.

3) Grumpy Old Bookman had this post on members of the Columbia University MFA program complaining about the quality of its staff and the mediocrity of graduate work in creative writing. I'll admit I'm shamefacedly pleased to hear such things since they rejected my own MFA application. I decided not to reapply, because by the time a year had flown, I could tell I was making progress on my own and in my groups. Being a CV mongrel, I confess I'd love to have a single decent pedigreed aspect, and I admit the shallowness of being willing, at one time, to pay so much for a stamp of approval. But, as their lofty validation was withheld, I've moved on to other measuring sticks. Further, I now realize the sample and essay in my rejected application should've been much better (fair play to them) and would be today. However, as I still don't write high-toned, navel-gazing, ennui-laden prose about being abused or addicted, I wonder when I reach a higher plateau of satisfaction with my own craft and storytelling whether Columbia would find me deficient on general principle. I think so.

4) Also, on my jam-packed Wednesday, I was invited to be part of a professional coffee cupping with some heavy-hitters in the world of coffee, a reporter, and the dynamic, uberpassionate Fortune Elkins who writes the bccy blog. I have long been flirting with writing a thriller in the modern, international coffee trade, and through our local MeetUp, I've met terrific people who are walking research libraries on the subject. For this cupping, my role was the enthusiastic amateur to the landscape of specialty coffees, an easy and realistic task. The article is supposed to go out for the New York Times wire services next week. I'll post a link here, of course, and equivocations for the undoubtedly stupid things I said.

I have already received my first and surprising entry for the Carnival of the Couture. Please feel warmly invited to add yours. Topic Here. And have a wonderful weekend wherever you are.

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