I’m one movie short of fully restocking my lost Harry Potter collection. I don’t feel bad about burning them from the library, either, because I paid for them once already. Same reason I didn’t feel bad that one time I downloaded a movie which also happened to be a Harry Potter movie because I knew I was going to buy it in two weeks when it came out on DVD anyway. Time Warner did not agree with my fairness assessment and shut off my internet.
I haven’t written fiction in days. Workshop starts tonight. I am not even remotely nervous about this. I was nervous about getting back into teaching, but that came and went and the nerves wore off five minutes into my first class. My first workshop in Texas I was all jazzed up about it. I’d only known one writer who had come here and she was brilliant but she left before I came, off to a higher-ranked program, and I knew Tim O'Brien was here but the genre of listing stories while interesting didn’t seem like something I’d want to do a whole lot of (ahem), so there was an definite ambivalence to showing up here, but still the workshop is where it’s at, where you show your mettle whatever mental metal that mettle might be made of.
Also the workshop was being led by Tom Grimes, the program director, whom I didn’t know a thing about yet.
Why exactly did Hermione bother going to school if she knew all the answers already?
Now I’m starting a new one and the only story I have ready, according to a trusted Latino reviewer, will get me strung up by my jockeys because of what I’m trying to do with portraying Mexican-Americans. And am I nervous? About that story, sure, a bit, but the workshop itself will only be fun fun fun. I never get as jazzed up about fiction as when I’m ripping into someone else’s. Fairly, of course, and if someone writes a great story I also get all jazzed up to defend it because I know in a workshop of fifteen people there are always going to be five haters, real or for show, who will take whatever opportunity they can get to offer “corrections.” Five correctors for every story, minimum, and if the story sucks probably ten. But if the story is great, still two to three people won’t agree with part of it or any of it, and another two to three who try to correct every story they come across.
Where can I get a quaffle? You know somebody makes them.
I hope I get nervous, eventually. I need to see something that surprises me, though. Right now I’m holding a rolled-up rug and I’m about to unfurl and I expect a predictable pattern. Oh, you know what would be nice? Someone who absolutely blows my socks off, sitting right there in my workshop with me, and she doesn’t even know how good she is. Or maybe she does, it doesn’t matter, but the keystrokes tell the tale, this energy, this literary force, this power on the page, for some reason I expect it to be a woman, but oh! another surprise, what if it’s a dude, huh? Right? Yeah, that would be a plot twist, I’m always one to appreciate quality and I’ve seen some quality writers of the male persuasion in my time but probably not since Bryan Hurt have I personally seen the combination of imagination and pure story instinct so naturally combined in a testicled individual.
It seems like, of all sports, Quidditch should have substitutions. But apparently everyone on the team plays all the time until they get hurt or die or disappear.
There are several more points about this game I could go into, but I’ve got to pack a lunch and catch a bus. The bike’s in the shop and I haven’t bought a parking pass yet.