Friday, October 23, 2009

Title Tribulations (and Friday grab-bag)

Sadly, this grab-bag has no fab links to stories published online because ... well ... I'm swamped.

There's Nathan Bransford's lengthy news of book selling price wars, to which I can only reply: Sears sells books? Since when? Tools, clothes and refrigerators, yes. But last I knew, books and groceries were just about the only things not in their domain.

Well, I guess that's not my only reply to Bransford. Who the hell does that to a dog? also crossed my mind.

My MFA program is doing a faculty search and so I sat in on a mock workshop that one of the job candidates lead today. She told us that she's a title person and gave the first (honestly) useful argument I've heard for crafting good titles for short fiction: you don't have that much time to hook a reader. Yes, they're already reading the lit mag -- bless their little hearts for that [I'm paraphrasing if you can't tell by now] -- but you want them to read your story and not keep flipping to the next one. So now I'm revisiting some of my one word titles.

So -- question -- would you rather read a story called Cake or one called Iron Teeth? I should have better ideas than those two ... alas.

The playwrights always have kickass titles and the fiction writers just seem to miss that memo.

I wrote a rather creepy "eulogy" for a short class project this week. (Go figure, me being creepy outside of the Kenyon Review workshop.) I'll post it on Monday.

Thursday's "word of the day" was aesthete which was really fortuitous because my prof used it in workshop Wednesday night and I meant to ask him what it meant but by the time I got a chance I'd already forgotten what the word was.

Then there's H1N1 which I hardly need to speak of as everyone else seems to be talking about it and rightly so. It would seem all the schools in the county have shut down for Thursday/Friday and some even took Wednesday off as well. I'm uncertain if their goal is to stop the virus from spreading or if they have so many students out that they're not making quorum to keep the buildings open. I have essentially been told to plan how I'm going to deal when the university shuts down not if the university shuts down.

As a teacher it would mean (unfortunately) that I would become the private, online tutor to as many students as are able bodied and willing to keep doing work when there's no physical class -- if you couldn't tell, I'm skeptical of how many 18 year-olds are driven enough to do that. As a grad student it would (fortunately) mean lots of time to sit in my room and write!

Assuming, of course, that I'm not among those who are sick.

Highly Recommended