This week in reading, this week in writing
A bunch of short stories and inspiration from a bicycle restoration blog
I’m auditioning newsletter sections. What do we think?
This week in reading
Continuing with my 1,000 Words prep (6 days to go!), I have been devouring short stories. This week I read, in no particular order except that the first one was my favorite:
“A Mother’s Work” by Jai Chakrabarti, from One Story
“Midwife” and “Confession” by Stuart Dybek, from his collection Ecstatic Cahoots
“Summer” by Joy Williams, originally published in The New Yorker in 1981, encountered by me in her collection The Visiting Privilege
“Relief” by Peter Ho Davies, originally published in The Paris Review in 1996 encountered by me in The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction
“The Listing” by Jac Jemc, from Short Story, Long, which I found through Meghan Phillips, who did the collages for it…
… and which led me to “Send Some Good Women” by Meghan Phillips, from HAD
This week in writing
Morning Writing Club still going strong! This week I was a bit all over the place with what I did at MWC, but I showed up every day except Friday, when the kid’s school was cancelled due to smokey air. Prior to that, though, I managed to finish and file a review (of Mrs. S by K Patrick and spoiler alert it’s so good), work on the novel a little, and nearly finish a grant application. Hoping to get more novel work in today so that I can send my 10 pages and possibly wrap up the grant application.
Down the research rabbit hole
Writing the glass house novel involves falling down a lot of internet rabbit holes, and most of what I read will never wind up in the book but I thought it might be fun to share more of it here.
I hesitate to call my process research because it is in no way academic. It’s more imagistic, digging through the past, looking for flashes of some unnameable something. (I have written about these flashes before — Breuer’s butterly roofs, the Maison de Verre, a newspaper mention of Viola Barloga, the Beefsteak Club, and so many steel windows.) But calling it a series of research rabbit holes feels fine; it is what it is.
This week I wanted to know exactly what bicycle my narrator rides. (I recently read Tree Abraham’s Cyclettes, and it made me realize that if my narrator is relying on this thing to transport her for the duration of the story, she would take at least a sentence or two to talk about it as an object.)
My Googling of vintage bicycles that might have shown up at a garage sale in northern Illinois in the early 2000s led me to this blog post by a man named John Zeni about his restoration of a Schwinn Voyageur 11.8, which led me to explore the rest of John’s blog — a testament to one man’s pure, earnest love for his craft. Lately he’s restored a couple of tandems and look how cool.
That’s all. No big revelations from this one. Just a gem of a blog.
Next time you hear from me, I’ll be IN IT. Updates during 1,000 Words will probably be short and sweet, but I’ll do a recap when it’s over, and I’ll probably post brief daily updates on Instagram and Notes.