I’m currently in two workshops–my ordinary workshop with Sam Chang, which reads two stories a week, and Ethan Canin’s Long Form workshop, which reads one (long) story a week.
The work that I’ve been reading so far is absolutely incredible, very high-caliber, but this week was something extraordinary. Not only did I absolutely love every. single. story. with a kind of fervor that I usually reserve for my favorite published authors, but they were all radically different from one another. One is an eerie, fable-like novella populated with taxidermied animal heads, one is a hilarious farce about competing songwriters in LA, and one is a super-close first person existential meditation on Godzilla and death. Just in one week!
There’s a misconception, I think, that Iowa puts out this homogeneous pool of bland, “MFA-style” fiction. I’ve read and heard as such many, many times. And honestly? That’s just a crock of bullshit. The work being created here is incredibly diverse, not to mention just plain incredible.