Tag Archives: David Vann

Read Anything Good Lately?

I own many books. I have piles of magazines going back I don’t want to say how many months. Reading material covers every surface in every room I live in.  I belong to the Mechanics’ Institute, whose wonderful library has a terrific Fiction selection, and every time I visit the second floor, I pick up a hardcover or two. So why, when asked who my favorite authors are or what I’ve enjoyed reading lately, do I draw a blank? Oh, I can come up the usual suspects.  I wrote my senior thesis on Nathaniel Hawthorne and – yes, it’s true … Continue reading

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Try, Try Again

Whatever works for you, I tell my students.  There’s no one way to write, no hard-and-fast rule that guarantees success, as much as we want one.  And yet, certain koan-like statements have made it onto my bulletin board or refrigerator.  My current favorite, from Samuel Beckett quoted by Colum McCann a year or so ago in the New York Times:  “Try. Fail.  Try again.  Fail better.” In my writing classes at UC Berkeley Extension, I emphasize process, the messy trajectory of moving a piece from first draft to polished prose.  So, last July, when Jane Anne Staw mentioned “process” as … Continue reading

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