"You know what? The bastard blows me out of the water. This guy writes Maine like Ardai writes New York. If you're not reading him, you don't know what you're missing." --Chris F. Holm, author of The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye and Dead Harvest.

"Bagley's got the poet's eye, but that doesn't mean everything is prettier in his work. It means the ugly stuff is more vivid. More intense. Like a sudden switch from analog to HD. And that's a trait to very much admire in his work." --Anthony Neil Smith, author of Hogdoggin', Yellow Medicine, The Drummer and Psychosomatic.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Required Reading

I’m teaching fiction writing for the local adult education program again this semester. Nine students signed up this time around. That’s a good number. Over the last three years, I’ve taught classes with as few as four and as many as fourteen students.

Besides reading and critiquing each other’s work, they’ll also be reading and discussing these stories:

“Uncle Sidney and the Mexicans” by James Lee Burke (from The Convict and Other Stories)
“Alabama Jones” by Howard Frank Mosher (from Where the Rivers Flow North)
“Ernie’s Ark” by Monica Wood (from Ernie’s Ark and Other Stories)
“Snake” by Brady Udall (from Letting Loose the Hounds)
“The Possibility of Evil” by Shirley Jackson (from Just an Ordinary Day: The Uncollected Stories of Shirley Jackson)
“Two Kinds” by Amy Tan (from The Joy Luck Club)
“The Lions are Asleep This Night” by Howard Waldrop (from Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology)
“Geraldine Loves” by Keith Lee Morris (from New England Review, Fall 2002)
“The Token Booth Clerk” by Sara Gran (from A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir)

It's tough to choose from among all the stories I've read and liked, I think it's a pretty good mix of styles and voices. We workshop two student-written stories or novel chapters a week during the final third of the semester, so I end the reading assignments at week 9.


Bill Crider said...

My mind always makes weird connections, which is why I like that you're doing "The Lions are Asleep this Night" along with "The Token Booth Clerk."

Clair Dickson said...

One of my favorite stories to teach is "Quitters, Inc" by Stephen King. Oh man. That one gets them talking.

Sophie Littlefield said...

i would take your class in a heartbeat. if it wasn't, you know, thousands and thousands of miles away.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Bill: Are you a Waldrop fan? I've only read a handful of his stories, but they've all been great.

Clair: That is a good one.

Sophie: Yeah, that's a hell of a commute.