September 6, 2007

It's the official end of my summer: school starts today. I'm really looking forward to it. To hanging out with students and talking about books and stories and poems and what they're writing. To having a schedule. To getting back to writing.

And since Steph was kindly enough to ask: I'm teaching Introduction to Literature & Beginning Fiction Writing. I pretty much love teaching both of them, especially Beginning Fiction, which I haven't taught since last fall. To celebrate, and to show in a way how much I appreciate the ways in which my students lay it all out there, I'm going to do a bit of self-exposure here, by putting up a story that I wrote as an undergrad. I did this a while back, and I could link to it, but I don't feel like digging through my archives right now. So, here's the story--my impulse, of course, is to edit it, but I'm putting it up pretty much the way it appeared in my undergrad literary magazine.

The Girl Who Lives Beneath Me

At the English Pub, Maria, an American, watched the shadows play on on the wall. The bartenders spun statues hanging from the ceiling in front of bright tract lights and kept the shadows constantly moving. One was a tribal version of "The Thinker" that twirled and made the shadow of a large cylinder. The other was a man who sat in the middle of two curved pieces of wood. It made a shadow that looked like an enormous eye on the wall.

Maria sipped her cider and mostly watched the wall--the cylinder, the large eye.

Another American, Paul, was telling stories and a crowd soon began to gather. He spoke entirely in English and both the Italians and the Americans watched and listened as he spoke.

Maria was fascinated and moved her stool close to where Paul would raise his arms and gesture.

Soon, the crowd fell away and Maria was left with Paul.

He spoke of his European travels and marveled her with strange Machiavellian philosophies, which she did not recognize.

"And men in general judge more by their eyes than their hands; for everyone can see but few feel. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few touch upon what you are," he said.

Maria thought he was sincere, and she wanted to go home with him. When he asked her to, she got up immediately.

At his apartment, the boy talked more about how to be a prince, but Maria began to feel he was being less than sincere.

When she returned from the bathroom, he undid his pants and said, "Why don't you give me head now?"

She thought for some time before making her decision.

* * *
And another thing I'm looking forward to, besides the beginning of school: I hear George Saunders is going to be on Letterman tonight.

I think it's pretty awesome and all, but it also makes me wonder: Is that how it works--one of the best short story writers we got has to write a book of non-fiction in order to guest on the talk-show circuit?

At any rate, I'll be tuning in.

Update: The super-cool author of Ovenman, Jeff Parker, has a little essay-type-thing about both George Saunders and his appearance on Letterman over at the Emerging Writers' Network blog. You can check it out here.


Avery said...

what will you be teaching?

Amanda said...

I like your story, Young Chad. This blog entry reminds me of one of mine where I compared my undergrad prose to a passage of Tom Wolfe, and asked if people could tell which was which. I feel a little bad about it, TW being such a soft target these days, but it was still fun.

The entry here.