Richard Ford

Breaking News on Paris Review Scandal

Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

Latest in the controversy regarding manuscripts recently turned down post-acceptance at the Paris Review, apparently we may get to see the maligned documents see daylight after all. According to insiders at the Peemsmen Monthly, a second-shift janitor at the P.R. headquarters, upon realizing what literary-scandal-wrongdoing-travesty he’d been made to take part in, ran back out into the trashyard where the massive P.R. dumpster is and fished out said to-be-and-no-longer-ParisReviewianed language.

The janitor, who wishes to remain anonymous for now, is currently looking to publish the lot as a “found manuscript.” He is available for contact via representation by Marble-Withersby Agency in New York.

Currently tallied among the rubble:

– A haiku by Jonathan Franzen on the brevity of life and the deliciousness of fat free yogurt

– An erasure by Nam Le of his mother’s travel diaries as a child, concerning her impregnation with him, which Nam Le erased himself from entirely, a retroactive comment on the Gulf War

– Two halfcompleted crossword puzzles teamwritten by Alice Mattison & Barbie Smeemersund

– A photograph by Charlize Theron taken from the midgrade-price seating of a recent Chicago Bulls practice (kinda blurry)

– Another haiku by Jonathan Franzen about the writing process of the first haiku, which originally appeared on a popular upcoming literary journal’s twitter feed at the tune of $400 a syllable

– A concrete poem self portrait by Rick Bass repeating the word fishinglure in various crazy anagrams

– A transcript of every adjective Richard Ford spoke while restringing his son’s guitar twice in the same afternoon

– A third haiku by Jonathan Franzen regarding the phone call he received from his mother while writing the poem about the writing of the poem, and her subsequent medical condition

– A tear-out unfoldable paper shirt designed by Martin Amis’s agent’s neighbor, a previously unpublished author

– Letters written to Al Gore by Denis Johnson in the voice of Al Gore’s dog, with audio samples contracted to have been available online for $.99 a download on a portion of the website that also will no longer grace the web

I don’t know about you, but I’m positively peeping in anticipation and great terror. Robin Hood or hoodrat? Sylvia Beach or motherfucker? We’re living in a no-holds-barred world here, people, where wicker elephants walk among the real ones. First Tin House is trying to force people to actually buy books, and now these guys want to change their minds on history. Hold me!

Behind the Scenes / 29 Comments
July 20th, 2010 / 5:50 pm

Vicarious MFA: Home stretch

The Vicarious MFA!

The Vicarious MFA!

Informal survey: Are writers with MFA’s the only writers who give a damn what people in other MFA programs are reading? If so, thanks to all you non/anti-MFA HTML giant readers who put up with the all this MFA chatter. Here is your last dose of Vicarious MFA hoo-hah.


+ Surprise guest class with Richard Ford!

Before the class, everyone who signed up for it read Indian Uprising by Donald Barthelme, Louis Menand’s New Yorker article about Barthelme , and an interview with Umberto Eco. Richard Ford talked about Barthelme for a little while and we asked him a lot of questions about his writing process, philosophy and ideas about the collage element that is innate in all forms/types of writing. He brought his “notebook” to class, which, in fact, was not a notebook at all. It was a huge, purple, three-ring binder in which he collects quotes, thoughts, facts, research, etc for whatever novel he’s working on at the time. He told us about how he’s dyslexic and how that effects his writing. At one point Ford said, “Rick Moody, who I deeply disrespect, once said something about how there are only two kinds of writers: writers like Hemingway and writers like Beckett. I disagree with that… It’s too narrow a perspective on what a writer can be…Writing is supposed to broaden your world, open things up… Rick is probably a nice boy, he just says silly things.” I got to chat with Ford for a moment afterwards, just to say thanks and hello. I was excited about this because we are both from Mississippi and we’ve both lived in New Orleans, which is the nearest refuge for people born in Mississippi. We talked about New Orleans for a minute, how easy it is to get nostalgic about New Orleans and how we both want to buy houses there.

More Highlights:

+Amy Benson made strawberry-rhubarb pound cake for our last meeting of Non/Fiction. I turned in a monster crazy-weird essay that I will be excited to get her feedback on.

+Last workshop is kicked off with a few bottles of champagne, which went straight to everyones’ heads, loosening a hysteria of honesty. It was a good group, but I will be happy not to have to read anyone else’s first drafts for a while.

Vicarious MFA / 70 Comments
May 6th, 2009 / 4:37 pm