Friday, July 16, 2010

Taos Day 5&6: Wine and Espresso Chocolate to End the Week

What an intense week. Loved the discourse. Loved the writing exercises. While I feel the Taos Summer Writers' Conference was a good investment of my time and money, I'm feeling a little deflated tonight. In class today, it became really apparent what a division there is between writers of 'literary fiction' and commercial or mainstream fiction. I felt the instructor and some of the group today were acting a little elitist, as if popular, best-selling books are drivel.

I'm caught between worlds -- my writing style isn't exactly literary and it's not genre (like crime, mystery or romance). I guess I will just be true to my voice and the stories that demand to be told. Despite how exhausted I am, I am excited to jump back into the novel "23 Conversations Before a Funeral," to revise the short story that was workshopped here and keep doing writing exercises (which forces me to write without self-editing).

Now that I'm through with critiquing papers and completing writing assignments for class, I can truly enjoy a glass or two of wine and some espresso chocolate. Back to the real world tomorrow. Next week in DC-metro area for work when I just really want my own bed!


  1. Once upon a time, I was a literary snob. I admit it. No longer. After teaching English comp for a couple of years and seeing what is competing with reading of any kind, I can no longer look down on anything. Literary. Commercial. Genre. Memoir. Heck, even those books with the bumpy covers that are in most airport bookstores. As long as people are reading, who cares?!

    I think literary fiction and popular (best-selling!) books may live together. Sort of like literary fiction being a meal with the popular stuff being the sweet bits that come after it. And sometimes, we even skip the meal and get right to the sugar. Hey, it happens! :)

    Being true to your voice, to the stories, to the characters: what else can any reasonable reader expect?

    Good luck and happy writing. Roy

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  3. I was in your class, Mandy, and I thought your tale about the Holiday Inn fit nicely between the two worlds, literary and mainstream. I loved it.
    For me it was a ghastly week. I have never been in such an awful class, full of snobbish, unfriendly people in my life. An expensive disappointment so far away from my Midwest home. I received very little useful feedback, but I will implement what I got.
    BTW I am the non-Canadian Wendy.I just don't know how to sign this comment.

  4. @Wendy. I'm so sorry the week was disappointing for you. It was definitely intense with so many different personalities. Not all workshops are this way. Hope you find something that is a good fit in the future! Good luck with your writing.