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Instead of Coffee, Let's Have Dinner
A Conversation over Sunday Dinner This Week
Since we cannot gather for a real life dinner party, I invite you to a virtual meal.
If there is a dish you would like to bring, please add it to the comments (recipes are welcome as well as the name of the dish!) Every week there will be a new surprise.
This week’s Dinner theme is to talk about Ray Bardbury’s 1000 Day MFA Program. He spoke about it many years ago.
So please find your place card at the table and pour a drink! There are wines and waters on the bar cart.
Bradbury’s program, which I have nicknamed the Bradbury Trio, is to read a poem, a short story, and an essay every day. He recommends before bed, but morning reading and writing are what work for me.
He also recommends to read a novel a week and to watch movies. He encourages a variety of classics and wide ranges of topics for all the reading and viewing.
This everyday practice influences my writing in several ways. Sometimes there is a line that jumps out at me that I start a new scene with. Sometimes I just log what I like in my notebook. I have started to annotate these pieces more and making them a collection of craft moves I can use in future pieces (more on that next week). Sometimes a concept or an idea adjacent to what I read shows up in a piece.
The Bradbury Trio is simply GOOD WORDS IN=GOOD WORDS OUT in my experience.
Our appetizer tonight is my chicken dip on crackers. Shredded chicken, cream cheese and some seasonings. Delicious!
The poem I would share with you is one of the daily poems brought to my inbox by The Paris Review. You can sign up here.
Words to a Dying Star by Patricia Corbus is Sunday’s poem. There is a repeated line in this poem I will use as a jump off line for my own writing. It is “You are not…” I like to use lines from poems as writing starts. If I run out of words, I repeat the phrase and keep writing.
Our main course tonight is Cajun Butter Chicken with rice.
photo from Salt and Lavender’s website
The essay I want to share with you is one from Lit Hub, Lessons from a Nightmarish Writing Workshop. I learned about this author from a writing friend on Twitter who is taking an amazing class from her at Bending Genres. Nina Schuyler's book about stunning sentences is one I am reading too.
This essay got me thinking about how we are perceived and how we interact in a class. There are ways to eventually get to some even ground if the educator keeps trying. I could use this format to write some stories from my teaching experience. I find it difficult to write in a way that works about my life as a teacher.
For dessert and coffee, we are having Smores Layered Pudding. It is caramel custard, chocolate mousse, and brown butter toasted graham crackers topped with marshmallow in an individual glass.
The short fiction piece I want to share is How to Start a Coven. There is a book of short stories with the same name that is coming out soon. I had a hard time finding it online but read about it in a writer magazine at the library yesterday.
The line from this short piece which is playful talks about an apartment next to a cemetery. I used to live in an apartment that was next to a cemetery so that will end up as an entry in my notebook today.
Other things that are happening?
I am taking a break from some things for the summer. I need some time to focus on my writing and continue to submit. I am working on a short story manuscript that keeps changing themes.
Our Sunday breakfast ritual continues! It is an amazing time to share with my husband.
I have started running again which is hard for me to share in a way because I am not at the pace or mileage I was 8 years ago when I was competitive. Just typing that sentence and looking at it reeks of ridiculousness. (How would I be in the same shape as 8 YEARS AGO?) I am consistent and it will all come back to me, but I am not a patient person. That I am learning from my husband who has all the patience of many lives in one.
The Bradbury Trio may become a bigger thing that is nebulous at the moment. If this is something that interests you, please share comments. Also, share something great you have read this past week! I would love recommendations.
Thank you for coming to dinner ! I would love to have you attend next time as well!
As always, thank you for reading all the way to the bottom of the post!
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