Michael Fauver, a writer who’s done time at Yaddo and is heading to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the fall, is currently residing at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, where he’s trying to get started on his first novel. He’s describing the process on Why I Won’t Remember Who You Were, a blog with the same title as his book, and he has a few interesting insights into life at writers retreats. Apparently Yaddo often had too much entertainment going on to let him be productive. “A lot of people work here at night,” he writes. “When I was at Yaddo, we drank and played Boggle and watched movies after dinner, so I never felt motivated.” This time around, he appears to be a bit more productive. Recently he spent some time with his colleagues discussing his concern about writing sex scenes :
Turned to Rabbit Redux when I had to write about sex today. I’m so used to shying away from the subject, so I wanted a reminder that you can get away with almost anything if there’s a reason. Miranda July’s work, especially “Something That Needs Nothing,” was what really got me thinking about sex in writing. I’ve been wondering: How far can you take it? Is it like The Penis Game from adolescence? (One person whispers “penis,” and then the other says it louder. “Penis.” “Penis.” “Penis.” Louder and louder until one of them is brave enough to have everyone in the library staring at the guy shouting “PENIS!”) Yeah. Is it like that? You just test your guts? See at what point you wimp out?
I asked some writers at dinner today about it. Is there such a thing as writing about sex too much? One joked that he never stops writing about sex. Another said that it’s only too much if you’re doing it to avoid talking about intimacy. I think that’s spot on. In writing as in life.
This feels like it could dangerously devolve into overshare—if you’re chatting about your novel, on a blog or otherwise, it’s time away from writing it—but he’s just finished a draft of chapter one. (via GW English News)
7 thoughts on “The Colonist”
Writers workshops, retreats, etc., sometimes seem to me to be sanctioned group procrastination. Writing is an extraordinarily intimate act, and, like most intimate acts, should most often be done in private.
This is another hoax, right? Tao Lin shape-shifting as the erstwhile meta-PoMo-magical-distortion fielded-panopticonical dingleberry’s gaze from his navel about writing about writiting about writing about being outside of the inside joke?
Things have changed since William Faulkner wrote “As I Lay Dying” in six weeks while working the night shift at a heating plant, using an overturned wheelbarrow as a desk.
W/r/t oversharing, instead of word counts and fond memories of the penis game (?!), why is this young writer not sharing some of his fiction?
Dude… I bought you book (“Thin Blue Smoke”).
Thank you, John. It was written entirely without benefit of writers’ retreats, seminars, workshops, or other such masturbatory undertakings. Also while holding down a full-time job. (Not that that guarantees a quality outcome…)
‘Hope you enjoy the book, man.
I know I’m missing something here. Why does Michael Fauver have to go to Yaddo, MacDowell and then the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in order to write one chapter of a first novel?
This does not exactly inspire… sympathy on his behalf. Who is he, Morgan Entrekin’s third godson?
It sounds like a tough life.