The Vicarious MFA: The Rings of Saturn, Phantom week, etc.
The semester is almost over; just six class meetings left and about 47 parties. I omitted last week because I was trying to give you the “full experience” of getting an MFA. There will always be something that you weren’t around for (I missed George Saunders’s and Gary Lutz’s guest lectures last year) or some class that you were too sleep-deprived to actually understand. (Ok, actually, I was busy.)
Today in Non/Fiction we’re talking about W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn. Class discussion should go something like this: I liked it. It was weird. I didn’t like it. Man, he was doing a whole lot of stuff in there! Whew!
Awesome quote from The Rings of Saturn about what happens when you spend a lot of time writing:
“For days and weeks on end one racks one’s brains to no avail, and, if asked, one could not say whether one goes on writing purely out of habit, or a craving for admiration, or because one knows not how to do anything other, or out of sheer wonderment, despair or outrage any more than one could say whether writing renders one more perceptive or more insane. Perhaps we all lose our sense of reality to the precise degree to which we are engrossed in our own work, and perhaps that is why we see in the increasing complexity of our mental constructs a means for greater understanding, even while intuitively we know that we shall never be able to fathom the imponderables that govern our course through life.
A summary of the phantom week is after the jump.
Topics covered in workshop submissions:
Heroin, Punk-ass thirteen year olds in New Jersey, Nuns, Aliens, Horses, Blind People, Domestic Disquiet
Last week’s books:
Varieties of Distubance by Lydia Davis (Non/Fiction) & The Question of Bruno by Aleksandar Hemon (The First Book).