Ethics of the Art(ist)

This week I am taking a workshop with Donald Preziosi. We are reading The Politics of Aesthetics by Jacques Ranciere and discussing the ethics of being an artist.

Ranciere (using Aristotle) states that art is an ethical practice because it impinges on others. Art intervenes in the lives of others.

It’s true. And so the paper Donald ask us to write is concerned with our ethics as artists.

This week I wrote a short story titled I Bombed City Hall. It is a story about a young man who is frustrated with the United States invasion of Afganistan and decides to spray paint grafitti on city hall.

Here is a two page commentary I wrote […]

Response to Lewis MacAdams: Service / Politics

During Week 1 of the Summer Writing Program I attended a lecture by Lewis MacAdams on his Los Angeles River Project. Naropa’s website gives his bio as:

Lewis MacAdams is a poet, journalist, filmmaker, and founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River. He is the author of a dozen books and tapes of poetry, including The Poetry Room, Live At The Church, News From Niman Farm, and Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe. Poem For The Dawn of the Terror Years, The Family Trees, and The River, Books 1,2, & 3 were published recently by Blue Press in Santa Cruz. He is also the author of Birth of The Cool and is currently at work on a biography of Rolling Stone founder, Jann Wenner. His film, What Happened To Kerouac?  is available on DVD. He is the father of four and lives in downtown Los […]

Florida 2000 & Ohio 2004

Yesterday in class David Henderson asked us about how we responded to the elections in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004. Around the table we all gave similar answers: We turned off our televisions.  There are four students in the workshop and each of us walked away from media following the 2000 elections. A couple of people had made their way back, only to be heart broken again in 2004.

But I’m still adamantly opposed to media news. I don’t watch TV. I don’t read the paper or news on the internet. About the only way I stay informed about news  is face to face, personal communication.

David asked us to write about our respones to Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004. The first part I wrote a short essay, like a personal statement. For the second part I […]

Human Kindness & 1st Draft of Novella DONE!

I spent yesterday with this man: Bo Lozoff at a workshop for volunteering in prisons. I would like to do some service work with prisoners in the Fall.

Last Friday I wrote the ending of my story. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen until I was writing it, but as I put it down I knew that there was no other way it could have ended. It felt good.

I have 135 pages (about 35,000) words. Looking around on the internet it seems that is not quite a novel. Most places I’ve checked put a novel at 70,000 to 100,000 words. One place had a lower limit of 50,000 words. But by most standards what I have is a novella.

Who publishes novellas? One […]

100+ Pages

I have 100+ pages of my first draft written. Now I am writing the end. I’m estimating this first draft will be around 120 pages long. I still don’t know what is going to happen at the end. I have the story plotted out on cards up until a final conflict between the three main characters. But I don’t know yet what will happen between them.

At this stage I find myself having to listen to each of my characters and to myself: the writer. What does each character want to happen? What are they willing to do? But just as important is what the writer wants to happen. What am I willing to write?

The first sixty pages I shared with Tim Hernandez. He is also writting a novel (which is much further along than mine). We have […]

Learning to Write (better)

When I blogged about starting work on this novel, Jim Tomlinson commented with a question about whether I saw any difference between what I’m writing now and what I was writing two or three years ago. And if the reading and MFA program has influenced that. Good questions, Jim.

I do see a difference in my writing now and what I was doing a few years ago, not just in the finished product but also in the process.

A few years ago I took a writing course with James Baker Hall. It was this course which prompted me to decide to be a writer. I wrote alot that semester and came away with a handful of good short stories. It seemed each week I was writing a new story that I would bring to class. I was doing it, […]