The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting. -Henry James (see to do # 3 for more on this)
If you’re following along with the V-MFA this is the part of the semester where all your assignments and deadlines converge and you get dangerously close to caffeine-induced combustion.
1. Though Lethem’s 4-week master class is over, the essay has been due for a week and, so get to work.
2. Workshop Submission # 3 is due on Tuesday: Aiming for revising about 40-50 pages of new stuff.
3. The essay for the First Book seminar is due in 2 weeks but an outline was due yesterday. It needs to be about 2000 words on which character from one of the books so far has been the most interesting.
“Each of those books is organized around a figure who is the book’s central intelligence, some compound of narrator, protagonist, and author. In the seminar, I’ve set out my view that the literary power of the book – as a first book — very often depends on the author’s ability to create and introduce this figure in such a way as to organize and illuminate his or her material and to catch, hold, and reward the reader’s interest. Which figure, then, is most interesting, and why? Binx Bolling? Richard Rodriguez? The Antiguan surrogate who develops from girl to woman in Jamaica Kincaid’s first book? Bruce Chatwin? Kathleen Norris? Nick Hornby?…