Each day in June I will follow Ray Bradbury’s self-directed MFA schedule of reading a poem, a short story, and an essay with the intention of revising a story already in my drive.
I will share my reflections along the way.
I welcome your comments and insights as well! I also welcome any recommendations you would like to share with me.
I spent a good portion of the day yesterday wading through a ridiculous amount of documents. I came across a few stories I moved into a folder in order to revise them with this challenge.
(I also sent a submission off!)
June 1 – Day 1
Essay: I am rereading the book The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg. Introduction today.
Short Story: Rest Stops and Parking Lots by: Aaron Burch
Reflections: I love the title of the poem and used it to play with titles for a #storyaday story that I wrote in May. I am playing with the idea of longer titles to add to the layers of my short fiction.
The Burch story is from X-ray and plays with the idea of footnotes. You can add layers to a story or tell an alternate story in the footnotes.
The essay makes me think about what are my true secrets to writing? Writing is about connection – to the writing, yourself, and the readers. This book will also make me solidify plans for a real writing retreat this summer that follow Goldberg’s structure: timed writings, walking, and silence. There is a reading list for Natalie’s retreats but I am going to pass on them for now. I am some other things I want to read including a memoir that is written in pieces. I am already sucked into it and want to savor it.
In true Natalie Goldberg fashion, she ends the chapter with a zinger of a last line. The last line of the introduction is: Sit. Walk. Write. That’s the true secret.
The overall lesson I am taking away is that there are ways to add complexity to a story with titles and other structure elements like footnotes. There is a John Green novel that told part of the story with footnotes. It is an intrguing concept. It needs to add to the story though, not just a party trick for the story.
It is about play and experimentation.
I will use the footnote idea with one of my stories. All of the footnotes begin with Because and I will play with that format myself in a short story of mine called Backwards Boston. It is a CNF about my experience running the Boston Marathon in 2012.
Also I will mess with the title of the same story. I used the Burch story for the title.