August 30, 2011
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00:00:08>> FROM THE CENTER, FOR TEACHING
AND WRITING AT OHIO STATE
00:00:15UNIVERSITY, THIS IS "WRITERS
TALK."
00:00:21MONA SIMPSON IS THE AUTHOR OF
SHORT STORIES AND FIVE NOVELS,
00:00:25INCLUDING THE BEST SELLER,
"ANYWHERE BUT HERE" WHICH WAS
00:00:30MADE INTO A MOVIE.
SHE FOLLOWED THIS WITH "THE LOST
00:00:35FATHER," "A REGULAR GUY" AND
"OFF KECK ROAD."
00:00:49SHE IS ONE A LITERATURE AWARD
AND IS A PEN FAULKNER FINALIST.
00:00:55WELCOME.
>> THANK YOU.
00:00:56ABOUT "MY HOLLYWOOD" YOU SAY IT
TOOK YOU TO LONG BECAUSE IT
00:01:09MEANT SO MUCH.
>> IT HAD A LOT OF CHALLENGES.
00:01:14MORE THINGS KEPT HAPPENING TO
ME.
00:01:18I WOULD GET TO A CERTAIN POINT
AND REALIZE THERE WAS SOMETHING
00:01:22ELSE I WANTED.
>> THAT IS A DANGEROUS THING TO
00:01:25DO.
IT IS SET SOMETHING YOU
00:01:27RECOMMEND FOR YOUR WRITING
STUDENTS?
00:01:29>> IT IS A FINE BALANCE.
YOU DO NOT WANT TO COME POSSIBLY
00:01:34REWRITE THE FIRST CHAPTER, OR
ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
00:01:38ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU HAVE TO
TRUST YOUR INTUITION TO SOME
00:01:42EXTENT.
THE BOOK RIGHT BEFORE "MY
00:01:45HOLLYWOOD" I WROTE VERY QUICKLY,
IN JUST A MATTER OF MONTHS, AND
00:01:51I KNEW THAT WAS DONE.
>> "OFF KECK ROAD?'
00:01:56>> YES.
I THINK IT HAS TO DO WITH THE
00:02:01SCALE.
THERE ARE THE EXTERNAL THINGS,
00:02:07AND THEN UNDERNEATH, WHICH IS
SOMETIMES DOES NOT EVEN SHOW.
00:02:10>> OK.
TELL ME ABOUT THE LINE WHERE YOU
00:02:15ARE INVOLVING MANY PEOPLE YOU
KNOW, OR FAMILY MEMBERS, AND HOW
00:02:20YOU FICTIONALIZED IT ENOUGH SO
THAT YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH
00:02:24IT, OR THEY ARE COMFORTABLE WITH
IT TURNED >> -- WITH IT.
00:02:29>> MOST OF MY NOVELS HAVE SOME
LEVEL OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
00:02:33PEOPLE ASK IS MY FIRST NOVEL IS
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL.
00:02:40I FELT LIKE SAYING THIS IS THE
PG VERSION.
00:02:46I MOVED AS A CHILD FROM THE
MIDWEST TO CALIFORNIA.
00:02:49THE CHARACTER IS NOT MY MOTHER.
THE CHILD IS NOT NEED.
00:02:55A LOT OF IT IS VERY DIFFERENT.
THE MOST BIOGRAPHICAL I HAVE
00:03:01WRITTEN WAS A CO THE LOST
FATHER" WRITTEN BASED ON A
00:03:07CHARACTER I DID NOT KNOW.
IT HAD A FUNNY QUALITY ABOUT
00:03:13SEARCHING FOR SOMEONE I DID NOT
KNOW.
00:03:15I WAS NOT WORRIED ABOUT HURTING
ANYONE BECAUSE I WAS NOT TAKING
00:03:23REAL TEST OF THEIR LIFE FOR
CHARACTER.
00:03:25THE ONLY TIME ANYONE HAS GOTTEN
UPSET WITH ME IS I WROTE A PIECE
00:03:31THAT WAS MEANT TO BE NONFICTION.
ONE OF THE MAGAZINES HAVE ASKED
00:03:37ME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT A HOME,
AND AT THAT TIME I RENTED AN
00:03:42APARTMENT, SO I WROTE ABOUT MY
GRANDMOTHER REDECORATING HER
00:03:48HOUSE IN THE 1960'S, AND
ACCORDING TO MIKE AND I GOT
00:03:51EVERYTHING WRONG.
>> THIS IS -- MY AUNT, I GOT
00:03:56EVERYTHING WRONG TO >> THIS IS
BASED ON HOW YOU REMEMBER
00:03:59EVERYTHING?
>> I ACTUALLY DID RESEARCH, BUT
00:04:02I GUESS I GOT IT WRONG.
>> OK.
00:04:05I FOUND A COMMENT ON YOUR
WEBSITE INTERESTING.
00:04:09HE DISCUSSED THE RESEARCH SAY
MANY WRITERS TALK ABOUT THE
00:04:15DILATION OF CHILDHOOD, AND HOW
DEEPLY SOUNDS AND SIGHTS IMPRINT
00:04:22UPON THEIR IMAGINATION, AND FOR
ME THIS HAPPENED TWICE.
00:04:25I FELT AN OPENNESS TO IMPRESS
THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF MY CHILD,
00:04:32TOO.
THE LANGUAGE IS THE MUSIC UNDER
00:04:37THE WORDS OF THIS NOVEL.
AFTER THAT, ESSENTIAL GIFT, I
00:04:42READ A LOT OF BOOKS TO READ HERE
IS A STEP, BUT NOT ALL OF THEM.
00:04:47HE THEN LIST 30 BOOKS.
-- IF YOU THEN LIST 30 BOOKS.
00:04:52I THOUGHT THAT IS FASCINATING TO
ME THAT YOU WOULD LOOK AT
00:05:00SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND SAY THIS
ADDRESSES.
00:05:03>> WHAT STARTED ME OFF WAS I
WANTED TO -- I WAS THINKING --
00:05:11HOW WOULD I SAY THIS?
IT RELATES TO YOUR LAST QUESTION
00:05:16ABOUT AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
OFTEN, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A
00:05:20NOVEL IS DEEPLY HIDDEN.
FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU JUST READ
00:05:24THIS AND MANY AT A COCKTAIL
PARTY, YOU WOULD THINK SHE IS
00:05:29THE NERVOUS YOUNG MOTHER WHO WAS
HAVING TROUBLE BALANCING HER
00:05:33LIFE.
SHE IS A WHITE WOMAN.
00:05:35SHE HAS A CHILD PARISH'S UPPER
MIDDLE CLASS, WHATEVER.
00:05:39SHE IS EDUCATED.
AND EFFECT, -- IN FACT, THE
00:05:48AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THIS BOOK, THE
GENESIS OF IT, IS A CERTAIN --
00:05:57TO CERTAIN FEAR IS YOU ARE
DISPENSABLE.
00:06:02I WAS NEVER A NANNY OR ANYTHING
LIKE THAT.
00:06:05WHEN I WAS YOUNG, MY MOTHER WAS
A SPEECH THERAPIST, EVEN WHEN I
00:06:11WAS NOT YOUNG.
SHE IS GIFTED, AND WE LIVED IN
00:06:16LOS ANGELES.
ONE VERY WEALTHY FAMILY FOUND
00:06:21HER TO BE THE ONLY PERSON THAT
COULD GET THROUGH TO THEIR SON.
00:06:25HE WAS A VERY DIFFICULT CHILD
FOR THEM, BUT NOT FOR HER,
00:06:31PARTICULARLY.
SHE WAS THE ALL THE PERSON THAT
00:06:33COULD MAKE HIM CONCENTRATE AND
-- THE ONLY PERSON THAT COULD
00:06:38MAKE AND CONCENTRATE AND FOCUS.
WE BECAME FRIENDS WITH THEM
00:06:45ALSO, AND OFTEN IF THEY WOULD GO
AWAY THEY WOULD HIRE MY MOTHER.
00:06:51SHE WAS HIS SPEECH THERAPIST,
BUT THEY HIRED HER BECAUSE SHE
00:06:55WAS THE ONLY PERSON WHO COULD
TAKE CARE OF HIM.
00:06:58SO, WE WOULD MOVE INTO THEIR
HOUSE, WHICH WAS THIS HUGE
00:07:03MANSION, AND WE WOULD LIVE
THERE FOR THE WEEKEND.
00:07:06I WAS JUST ALONG.
THE KIDS WERE COMPLETELY OUT OF
00:07:13CONTROL.
THEY WOULD DISAPPEAR FOR HOURS
00:07:17AT A TIME.
WAS A HUGE PROPERTY.
00:07:22>> THERE WERE ROUGHLY THE SAME
AGE AS YOU?
00:07:24>> THEY WERE YOUNGER.
I WAS MAYBE IN JUNIOR HIGH
00:07:28SCHOOL.
I JUST REMEMBER THE FEAR, AND
00:07:37THE CREEPY AS PART WAS SHE DID
NOT WANT TO FAIL.
00:07:41IN FACT, IT WAS NOT HER FAULT.
SHE WAS GOOD AT WHAT SHE DID,
00:07:46BUT THE KIDS WERE OUT OF
CONTROL.
00:07:48RIGHT BEFORE THE PARENTS WOULD
COME BACK, IF THEY WERE HIDING,
00:07:56THEY WOULD APPEAR AGAIN, AND IT
WOULD BE THIS BEAUTIFUL --
00:08:02BEAUTIFUL SCENE OF DOMESTIC
TRANQUILLITY THAT WOULD EXIST
00:08:05FOR ABOUT A MINUTE.
I THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT IT WAS TO
00:08:10BE WORKING IN SOMEONE ELSE'S
HOUSE.
00:08:13THAT IS PROBABLY THE DEEP
BIOGRAPHY.
00:08:15I DID READ MANY BOOKS AND
TRANSCRIPTS ABOUT NANNIES.
00:08:22>> IT SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD HAVE
AN IMPACT ON YOU, AND IT SEEMS
00:08:28LIKE IT STILL HAS THAT IMPACT ON
YOU WHERE YOU SAY THIS WAS
00:08:32SOMEBODY ELSE'S HOUSE.
>> IT IS NOT ABOUT A HOUSE.
00:08:37I DO NOT KNOW -- IS AN ODD THING
TO BE THE HELP'S KID.
00:08:47YOU ARE A KID, AND YOU'RE USED
TO HAVING YOUR OWN NEEDS BE MET
00:08:52BY A MOTHER, SO IT IS COMPLEX.
>> IN WRITING A BOOK LIKE THIS,
00:09:00HOW YOU BALANCE THE RESEARCH YOU
ARE DOING?
00:09:04>> I DO NOT.
I JUST READ THE BOOK.
00:09:07FOR EXAMPLE, I HAVE FROM THE
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, A WONDERFUL
00:09:14TROVE OF LETTERS FROM DOMESTIC
WORKERS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY WHO
00:09:20WERE RUNNING -- WRITING TO MRS.
ROOSEVELT, OR THE PRESIDENT, OR
00:09:24THE SECRETARY OF LABOR, ASKING
TO BE INCLUDED IN THE
00:09:34RESTRICTIONS AND THE LAWS, WHICH
BY THE WAY THEY'RE STILL NOT
00:09:39INCLUDED IN.
BUT, YOU KNOW, I'VE PUT IN ONE
00:09:50FRACTION OF A LETTER.
>>
00:09:57>> IT IS ALSO BASED ON THE
EXPERIENCE THAT YOU HAD.
00:10:01>> YEAH.
CERTAINLY, I GOT A LOT OF
00:10:11PHRASES FROM THOSE PEOPLE.
BUT IT IS A KIND OF MONOGAMOUS
00:10:18OF THEIR STORIES.
>> WHEN YOU SET UP TO WRITE
00:10:21SOMETHING, YOU SET OUT TO WRITE
A NOVEL THAT PROGRESSES OVER 10
00:10:28YEARS, IT MUST BE DIFFICULT TO
KEEP TRACK OF ALL THAT YOU ARE
00:10:32DOING.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?
00:10:35ANY PROJECT THAT IS THAT LONG,
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE
00:10:41IN IT AND HOW DO YOU KEEP TRACK?
WAS IT A LINEAR PROCESS FOR YOU?
00:10:46>> I USUALLY KNOW WHAT I AM
DOING AT WHAT TIME.
00:10:52>> WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?
DO YOU HAVE REALLY REGIMENTED
00:10:59IDEAS?
I MUST GET UP AT 7:00 A.M. AND
00:11:03RIGHT FOR FOUR HOURS, OR IS IT
MORE OF AN ORGANIC STRUCTURE?
00:11:07>> I HAVE TO GET UP.
I LIVE WITH SMALL CHILDREN AND A
00:11:13DOG.
THEY HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL.
00:11:17YES, I GET UP EARLY.
I DO NOT WRITE FIRST THING.
00:11:22I USUALLY GET BREAKFAST AND TAKE
CARE OF THE DOG AND GET THE
00:11:28CHILDREN TO SCHOOL.
BY 8:00, I USUALLY WRITE.
00:11:32>> HOW LONG DO YOU GO?
>> IT DEPENDS ON THE FACE OF THE
00:11:39BOOK.
IF IT IS THE FIRST DRAFT, I GO
00:11:43AS LONG AS I CAN CANNOT TAKE A
BREAK, AND THEN DO SOMETHING
00:11:47ELSE.
-- I GO AS LONG AS I CAN, TAKE A
00:11:52BREAK, AND THEN DO SOMETHING
ELSE.
00:11:54IN LATER DRAFTS, I CAN WORK
PRETTY LONG BECAUSE THERE ARE
00:12:01DIFFERENT LEVELS OF WORK THAT
NEED TO BE DONE.
00:12:03>> WHEN YOU COME BACK FOR THAT
LATER STUFF, THE LEVEL OF WORK
00:12:08IS A HIGHER LEVEL?
>> IT DEPENDS.
00:12:13>> YOU ARE MAKING IT HARD FOR ME
TO BUILD A SPECIFIC CASE.
00:12:17>> I THINK I TRY TO GET AS MANY
STARTS IN THE DAY AS I CAN.
00:12:26I TRIED TO GO BACK AGAIN.
AFTER YOU SLEEP OR TAKE A BREAK
00:12:31OR TAKE A RUN, -- IN A WAY, A IS
LIKE STARTING AGAIN.
00:12:36SOMETIMES YOU GET A BURST.
>> YOUR FAVORITE PART OF IT IS
00:12:42TO RESTART AGAIN IN THE DAY.
OR THAT IS JUST THE WAY THAT YOU
00:12:48WORK?
>> IT IS SO HARD TO GET BACK IN.
00:12:52>> YOU HAVE SAID THAT YOU HAVE
NO MAJOR INFLUENCES BUT YOU READ
00:12:58A LOT -- BUT YOU LEARN A LOT
FROM READING DEAD AUTHORS.
00:13:02SO YOU DO NOT THINK -- SO YOU DO
NOT SEE YOURSELF COMING OUT OF A
00:13:11PARTICULAR WAY?
>> OH, GOD NO.
00:13:20I THINK IT IS SORT OF LIKE
NURTURE NATURE.
00:13:30THE SENSIBILITY THAT YOU HAVE,
AND THEN YOU ARE INFLUENCED BY
00:13:35YOUR EDUCATION.
I LIKE TO READ PREDICTABLE
00:13:42PEOPLE.
I LOVE READING EORGE ELLIOT.
00:13:53TOLSTOY, I LOVE.
VIRGINIA WOOLF.
00:14:02>> THERE IS A LOT OF MODERN IN
THERE.
00:14:05NOT IN THE LAST 50 YEARS --
>> I READ " THE GREAT
00:14:20GATSBY."
IT IS HARD TO LIST.
00:14:22I AM THINKING OF IT -- YOU KNOW
HOW IT IS.
00:14:31YOU READ TOO MUCH.
IF IT IS HARD TO SAY.
00:14:37>> WHEN I WENT THROUGH GRAD
SCHOOL, IT CHANGED EVERYTHING
00:14:41THAT I USED TO LIKE.
>> REALLY?
00:14:44WHAT DID YOU USE TO LIKE?
>> IT WAS NOT THE SAME SORT OF
00:14:51STUFF THAT I ENDED UP WITH.
THE STUFF THAT I ENDED UP WITH
00:14:57--
>> YOU ENDED UP WELL.
00:15:00>> I AM A BIG "HARRY POTTER" FAN
BECAUSE I THINK IT IS VERY WELL
00:15:10DONE.
IF IT CHANGES YOU.
00:15:12I THINK RED SCHOOL -- I HAVE THE
SUSPICION THAT IT IS A DIFFERENT
00:15:18KIND OF OPERATION.
THAT GIVES YOU A DIFFERENT
00:15:25VARIETY.
>> INTERESTING.
00:15:28>> NOW I AM GOING TO BE
OSTRACIZED BY BOTH CAMPS FOR
00:15:35THAT.
>> COLUMBIA IS A BIG PROGRAM SO
00:15:38IT MAY HAVE A DIFFERENT CULTURE.
>> IT IS ALMOST LIKE IT HAD MORE
00:15:44BAMORE.NG
I WAS ALWAYS FASCINATED BY
00:15:52CREATIVE WRITING.
WHAT MAKES YOU DO THIS AND WHY?
00:15:56NOT HELPFUL FOR SOMEBODY
INTERESTED IN WRITING.
00:16:04I WENT INTO SOMETHING ELSE.
WE ARE REALLY HEAR ABOUT YOU.
00:16:10YOU ALSO EDITED FOR JOURNALS.
.
00:16:15>> YES.
I ASSUME THERE MIGHT BE A COUPLE
00:16:23MORE IN THEIR.
>> WHAT HAS EDITING TEACH YOU
00:16:28ABOUT WRITING?
>> I STARTED DOING IT IN MY
00:16:34GRADUATE SCHOOL YEARS.
IT WAS A WONDERFUL THING, TWO
00:16:37DAYS A WEEK.
IT WAS IN A TINY ROOM.
00:16:41THERE WERE FOUR OF US.
WE EACH HAD A TELEPHONE AND A
00:16:48DESK ATTACHED TO EACH OTHER.
I JUST SAT THERE AND READ
00:16:59MANUSCRIPTS AND PICKED OUT SOME
THAT I LIKED.
00:17:04>> DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING IN
MIND FOR A CRITERIA?
00:17:10>> NO.
IT WAS WHAT I LIKE AND WHAT I
00:17:15WANTED TO KEEP READING.
GEORGE WAS THE FOUNDER AND THE
00:17:23GUIDING FORCE, THE EDITOR IN
CHIEF.
00:17:28IF HE DID NOT LIKE SOMETHING,
YOU COULD TRY TO PERSUADE HIM.
00:17:31BUT THAT WAS THE ONLY PERSON
THAT YOU HAD DID TO GET PAST.
00:17:37>> YOU ONLY HAD TO GET PAST ONE
REVIEWER.
00:17:39>> I WAS A 25-YEAR-OLD SITTING
IN A CHAIR EATING A SANDWICH.
00:17:49>> HOW DID YOU GET A JOB LIKE
THAT WITH THAT KIND OF POWER?
00:17:54>> I DID NOT GET THE JOB THAT I
MOST WANTED.
00:17:57I WANTED TO TEACH IN THE SCHOOLS
BUT THERE WAS ONLY ONE SLOT.
00:18:02THEN THE PROGRAM TOLD MAY -- I
WENT OVER.
00:18:11IT WAS A YOU DO EVERYTHING KIND
OF JOB.
00:18:18>> DO YOU THINK THAT IT CHANGE
YOU COMMENT DOING ALL OF THAT
00:18:24READING?
-- DO YOU THINK THAT IT CHANGED
00:18:29YOU, DOING ALL OF THAT READING?
>> I DON'T KNOW.
00:18:38PROBABLY SOME OF THOSE CHANGES
TOOK PLACE.
00:18:42I THINK THE MAIN THING THAT
INFLUENCES MAY OR THE PEOPLE.
00:18:50I WORKED WITH THREE OTHER
PEOPLE.
00:18:51I THINK THE FATES OF THEIR LIVES
WERE MORE REMARKABLY VIVID TO
00:19:03ME.
EVERY WORKPLACE IS A LITTLE
00:19:13MORALITY PLAY.
>> I LIKE THE IDEA THAT THE
00:19:17WORKPLACE IS A MORALITY PLAY.
>> I USED TO WRITE LETTERS TO
00:19:21PEOPLE.
SOME OF THEM, I HAD LONG
00:19:27CORRESPONDENCE WITH.
SOME OF THEM HAVE GONE ON TO
00:19:32HAVE GOOD CAREERS.
THEY CERTAINLY DO NOT OWE IT FOR
00:19:39TO ME.
THE ONES THAT DID GET IN, WE
00:19:48DISCOVERED A FEW PEOPLE.
NOT THAT MANY.
00:19:50>> LET'S GO BACK TO COLUMBIA'S
PROGRAM.
00:19:55WHEN YOU GO INTO A PROGRAM LIKE
THAT, THEY WANT TO WREAK SOME
00:20:02CHANGE UPON YOU.
YOU WANT TO DO SOMETHING WITH
00:20:09THAT PERSON.
WHAT DID COLUMBIA DO FOR YOU?
00:20:12HOW DID IT CHANGE YOU AS A
WRITER?
00:20:16WHAT DID YOU LEARN THERE THAT
REALLY AFFECTED YOU?
00:20:20>> THAT IS A HARD QUESTION.
I THINK A LOT OF WHAT YOU DO IS
00:20:29JUST REALLY DOING IT.
YOU LEARNED SOME FROM WHAT
00:20:34COLLEAGUES SAY.
BUT IT IS PROBABLY NOT THE SAME
00:20:39FOR EVERYBODY.
I JUST RECENTLY WAS WRITING A
00:20:48LITTLE MEMOIR OF ONE OF MY
COLLEGE WRITING TEACHERS.
00:20:52I WAS SAYING -- I WENT TO
BERKELEY AND THERE WAS A
00:21:01DEPARTMENT OF MANY GREAT
WRITERS.
00:21:03FOR FICTION, I TOOK WORKSHOPS
SEVERAL TIMES.
00:21:09THEY RAN IT COMPLETELY
DIFFERENTLY.
00:21:12ONE WOULD GET THE STACK AT THIS
PODIUM IN FRONT OF THE CLASS AND
00:21:19HE WOULD READ THE FIRST LINE,
THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THE STORY
00:21:24ON THE TOP.
THEN HE WOULD PAUSE.
00:21:25THEN HE WOULD GET A VERY
DISCRIMINATORY LOOK AND SAY WHAT
00:21:32IS WRONG WITH THAT?
THEN HE WOULD PAUSE.
00:21:36PEOPLE WOULD SHYLY GUESS.
THEN HE WOULD THROW THAT STORY
00:21:44ON THE FLOOR.
THEN HE WOULD GO TO THE SECOND
00:21:471.
THE SAME THING HAPPENED.
00:21:50IF YOU GOT TO THE THIRD SENTENCE
IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH, IT WAS A
00:21:55TRIUMPH.
ONCE AT THE END OF THE QUARTER,
00:21:58HE GOT TO THE END OF THE PAGE.
>> HOW DO YOU LEARN FROM THAT?
00:22:03>> YOU DID BECOME INCREDIBLY --
YOU HEARD RIGHT AWAY CLICHES
00:22:10THAT POPPED OUT AT YOU.
A PASSIVE VERBS, A FANCY WORD
00:22:15THAT DID NOT DO ANYTHING BUT
SOUND PRETENTIOUS.
00:22:18IT WAS KIND OF YOUR TRAINING --
EAR TRAINING.
00:22:27BUT THE BEGINNING OF THE MIDDLE
OF THE QUARTER, THE STACK ON HIS
00:22:35PODIUM WAS MUCH SMALLER.
TO THIS DAY, I AM A BETTER
00:22:42WRITER AND I UNDERSTAND
SENTENCES WITH A MUCH DEEPER,
00:22:47MORE CELLULAR LEVEL.
>> BUT NO ONE WAS WRITING AT THE
00:22:52END OF THE COURSE.
>> THAT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE.
00:22:57ON THE OTHER HAND, IN THE OTHER
WORKSHOP, THERE WERE 40 PEOPLE.
00:23:04THE FIRST TIME MY STORY WAS
DISCUSSED, I WAS ECSTATIC.
00:23:08THIS IS GREAT.
LET'S HAVE SOME MORE.
00:23:13I FELT EXTREMELY HAPPY UNTIL HE
CRITIQUE THE NEXT PERSON WHICH
00:23:18WAS EQUALLY ENTHUSIASTIC.
HE BASICALLY SAID REALLY GOOD
00:23:22THINGS ABOUT EVERYONE'S WORK.
ONCE IN AWHILE, HE WOULD SAY
00:23:27SOMETHING PROVOCATIVELY ON THE
LEVEL OF MAKING YOU THINK ABOUT
00:23:31RACE OR GENDER OR CLASS.
I WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF IT
00:23:38WAS TOLD FROM THE POINT OF VIEW
OF A WOMAN?
00:23:41THAT WAS THE WAY HE WOULD
EDUCATE US.
00:23:46BUT THE WEIRD THING ABOUT THAT
CLASS WAS BASICALLY WITH ONLY
00:23:52ENCOURAGEMENT AND NO SPECIFIC
CRITIQUES, EVERYONE STARTED
00:23:56WRITING, AND EVERYONE WROTE MORE
AND MORE AND MORE.
00:24:00PEOPLE GOT BETTER.
>> DID YOU TAKE THESE TWO
00:24:04CLASSES AT THE SAME TIME?
>> YOU WOULD TAKE ONE DURING 1/4
00:24:11AND ANOTHER DARING ANOTHER.
>> WHAT APPROACH DO YOU TAKE
00:24:15WITH YOUR STUDENTS?
>> SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE.
00:24:17A STORE WAS TOLD AT A WRITERS'
CONFERENCE RECENTLY.
00:24:24-- A STORY WAS TOLD AT A
WRITERS' CONFERENCE RECENTLY.
00:24:28SHE SAID I WAS GOING TO QUIT
BECAUSE I WAS NOT IMPROVING.
00:24:36THE THERAPIST SAID I DO NOT KNOW
WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.
00:24:42THE WRITER WALKED OUT OF THE
SESSION THINKING I WOULD TAKE A
00:24:49TIP.
I AM NOT SO PROUD THAT I WOULD
00:24:52NOT TAKE A TIP.
WE CAN GIVE THEM SHORTCUTS
00:24:57SOMETIMES.
WE CAN HELP THEM A LITTLE BIT.
00:25:00IT IS NOT AS IF WE ARE GOING TO
-- I AM NOT GOING TO TURN
00:25:05SOMEBODY WHO WANTS TO WRITE ONE
WAY.
00:25:08I JUST WANT TO MAKE THEM BETTER
AT WHAT THEY INHERENTLY DO.
00:25:13>> IN THE SHORT TIME THAT WE
HAVE LEFT, I WANT TO GO BACK TO
00:25:18ONE THING.
THE THING THAT YOU ARE WORKING
00:25:20ON RIGHT NOW IS AN OUT RIGHT
LOVE STORY.
00:25:24AN "OUTRIGHT" LOVE STORY.
>> I THINK YOU SAW THAT IN AN
00:25:38INTERVIEW ABOUT A LOVE STORY
BETWEEN A NANNY AND A CHILD.
00:25:42>THIS STORY IS GIRL-BOY LOVE.
THE NANNY IS A TEENAGE BOY.
00:26:02>> NOT THE MOST RELIABLE AND
NARRATOR.
00:26:07>> HE JUST DOES NOT HAVE TOTAL
ACCESS.
00:26:13>> HOW FAR ALONG --
>> ALMOST FINISHED.
00:26:17>> IT IS COMING ALONG MUCH
FASTER.
00:26:19ONE OTHER THING -- YOU SAID YOU
ARE GOING TO BE -- ARE YOU
00:26:26THINKING OF DOING MORE SHORT
STORIES?
00:26:28WHAT PUTS YOU IN THE MOOD FOR
SHORT STORIES?
00:26:31>> I AM NOT SURE WHAT PUTS ME IN
THE MOOD FOR SHORT STORIES.
00:26:41>> WE WILL FIND OUT WHEN YOU
PUBLISH AGAIN.
00:26:43MONA SIMPSON, THANK YOU VERY
MUCH FOR BEING HERE ON "WRITERS
00:26:48TALK."
KEEP WRITING.
Note : Transcripts are compiled from uncorrected captions