Archive for the 'Line Breaks' Category
I wrote this story, my first, as a workshop assignment in Gordon Lish’s “Tactics of Fiction” class at Columbia in the late ’70s or early ’80s (I have no sense of time). The assignment, the only one we were ever given, was to write our worst secret, the thing we would never live down, the thing that dismantled our sense of ourselves, as he put it. My worst secret was that I felt I had failed my best friend when she was dying. And this is the story I wrote. [Read more]
I came to write “Credentials” when I wanted to expand on a secondary character I had created for an earlier story, because I was trying to write a book (Luminous Mysteries). The character had the name Belly Man. I had given myself that name one morning when, looking in the mirror, I was surprised to see that my physique had changed. [Read more]
I wrote this after my husband returned from a gig as assistant director working with Lindsay Anderson who directed a movie about the first rock and roll band to visit China–WHAM, in fact. Then I waited nearly six years to figure out what the last line was. [Read more]
So I asked Jim if we could feature one of his early New Yorker stories in Line Breaks and he said sure, and suggested “The Line.” So I said fine, can you provide an introductory word? He responded with characteristic minimalism:
I wanted to create a narrative that could be best diagrammed by a straight line. No ascending nor descending action, no gathering complexity, almost no dialogue.
Mary Grimm is too modest to say it in her “Author’s Note” to this story, but “We” was not a “typical” New Yorker story when Roger Angell and his colleagues had the good sense to publish it, October 17, 1988. [Read more]
Like most stories, “Shopgirls,” first published in Esquire in 1982, is less “about” something than it “is” something–a pinball journey with an amusingly repressed but intensely sexual pre-stalker stalker and a few young women who are all too aware of their intoxicating power. [read more]
This story gets the prize for Hardest Working Story I Ever Wrote. First, it got me into grad school at the University of Arizona. Next it was the first submission in my first-ever grad workshop. One of the other students in the class circled every single instance of “to be” verbs that I used on the first page of the manuscript, a mistake I never made again, and my first clear lesson on how valuable graduate school was going to be to me. This story then went on to win a student contest, which led to my first public reading (with Leslie Marmon Silko, a totally intimidating experience). [read more]
T.C. Boyle (The Human Fly, Talk Talk, The Women) kicks off Line Breaks, a new regular feature in which accomplished authors introduce and share their first published stories with the Fictionaut community. You can read “The OD & Hepatitis RR or Bust,” originally published in North American Review in 1972, on Fictionaut.
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