Monthly Archives: May 2014

Episode 52: Mission, Vision, Values

What are we even doing here? We decided to go corporate and create a mission/vision/values statement for ourselves as writers. After doing a little Googling, Brian found a handy guide for writing a mission statement, and here he leads the guys through an exploration of what we do, why we do it, who we do it for, and what value we bring. After a heady discussion, we settle into a discussion of Joyce Carol Oates’ new story “High-Crime Area.”

Reading Discussed

Episode 51: Reality (or, “The Scorpion’s Widow”)

It’s not easy being a literary citizen these days. On one hand, writers are so cheap and entitled that we bitch about two-dollar submission fees. On the other hand, we’re brainwashed marketing drones manipulated by evil corporate overlords. So, in episode 51 the WITTScasters pour a few stiff shots of reality. Then, as a chaser, the boys enjoy the hardboiled first chapter of Benjamin Black’s The Black-Eyed Blonde.

Reading Discussed

  • In The Black-Eyed Blonde, Benjamin Black (John Banville’s nom-de-hardboiled-plume) sends Raymond Chandler’s world-weary sleuth Philip Marlowe out into lonely LA on one more case. The first chapter is available as a PDF on Banville’s homepage-de-plume.
  • “Literary citizenship” is getting a lot of press these days, but not all of it’s positive. In Salon, Becky Tuch explains why she detests it.
  • The movie The Improv: 50 Years Behind the Brick Wall (now streaming on Netflix) made Jon realize that stand-up comedy is a purely audience-driven art-form.
  • Ben guessed the sixties. Jon guessed the fifties, or forties. Brian wisely abstained. The Iowa Writers’ Workshop began in 1936.
  • Did Ben really teach introductory rhet/comp at Purdue? If so, shouldn’t he know that when you oversimplify someone’s argument and then attack that oversimplified argument it’s called a straw man?
  • Better lube up the scroll wheel on your mouse if you want to see how many graduate and undergraduate creative writing programs there are.
  • The “why do we have to pay to submit online?” conversation has been going on for a while now. Here’s The Missouri Review‘s take from two-and-a-half years ago. Perhaps the most interesting point: top-tier journals like TMR see submission fees less as a revenue stream and more as a way to slow down the stream of submissions.
  • If you hope to go pro as an Upslope-drinking-basketball-watcher, you’ll need versatility.
  • Go on an alimentary adventure with Mary Roach in Gulp.
  • Instead of the colonoscopy, Brian opted for John Banville’s short fiction collection Long Lankin.
  • Here’s the John Banville interview in The Paris Review that so delighted Brian.
  • Benjamin Black’s not the only writer breathing new life into other authors’ characters. Check out Porter Shreve’s The End of the Book, which, in part, follows Sherwood Anderson’s George Willard out of Winesburg, Ohio.
  • For a second straight episode, the conversation wandered into Ben’s “Skunk Hour” bear trap! His mind’s not right.
  • In The Guardian, Elizabeth Edmondson takes a break from writing genre fiction to complain about the terms “genre fiction” and “literary fiction.”
  • In this Interview Magazine, uh, interview, Zadie Smith explains that even with all the other competing mediums we have today, a contemporary novel will still feel “necessary” if its “sentences [are] necessary.”