No Expectations?

Not much courage, anyway. From the excellent long essay “Poetry Slam: Or, The decline of American verse”, by Mark Edmundson, in Harper’s for July 2013:

“I  found myself once talking with a fiction writer, a woman of considerable achievement and reputation, about the MFA program in which she taught. I put forward the idea that students came to the university to hide out, to show up for a few classes while the scholarship program financed them, however meagerly, and they pushed forward trying to write the Great American Novel. Not so. I had it wrong, my friend said. What the students wanted was not glory — not if glory meant high risk and the chance of failure. They were there to get a union card: most of them wanted a degree, a published volume, an assistant professorship at this college or that, and then another volume, which would put them one step away from the Grail.”

I have young friends who think differently. A BIG novel is coming, one from a real writer and even a real publisher. Watch this space.

I’d contrast “Death or Glory” to the song in the post title, but it is not “just another story”…

7 thoughts on “No Expectations?”

  1. Although I've heard it stated that University/College is simply a way of delaying getting out in the real world for many people(and, according to some conspiracy theory thoughts, purposefully encouraged with constant government propoganda), a college education can be many different things to many different people–although I think I met many of those hiding out/delayers when I was incarcerated! My views of my college education(which I have TWICT the college eddikashun az most folks, since I done took ever subject AT LEAST twict!) tend to be VERY DIFFERENT and yea, even blasphemous to those who think it the ultimate of societies' priveleges! My view is that packing me off to the reservation/college was my parents' last ditch effort to civilize me. Which failed utterly, for though I failed and had to repeat so many classes(Gawd, how I HATED most of them!), and despite the fact that I DID, AT LAST get that silly scrap of paper called a Diploidoma(er sumthin' like that), I came out more unreconstructed than I went in, which I personally consider a GREAT SUCCESS!…..L.B.

  2. David Cates, a writer here in Missoula, once had a random room assignment with a guy at an artist's retreat or something in Costa Rica, and all the guy seemed to do was sit around the room smoking weed and reading the Bible. Eventually Cates got him to engage long enough to suss out some erstwhile affiliation with a rock band.

    Cates, in an effort to keep the guy talking: "That's cool, where'd your band play?"

    Answer: "Well, all over the world, really. It was The Clash…"

    Turns out the roomie was Joe Strummer.

    I love Social D, but credit must be given…

  3. Yeah, well, I could just say "I Was Wrong" and it's the "Story of My Life" but that might be pushing things… When you "Reach For the Sky" you sometimes fall short.



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