The last two days at Bread Loaf were my busiest yet. On Tuesday, I taught a craft class on “The Character’s Language” or what to do when the characters we create do not speak the language in which we write. If your heroine speaks Urdu or Igbo or Arabic, if she thinks in Japanese or Afrikaans, how do you render her thoughts and her speech convincingly? We took a critical look at several excerpts from the work of: Mary Yukari Waters, Andre Dubus III, Mona Simpson, Ahdaf Soueif, Junot Díaz, Ha Jin, and Aleksandar Hemon. I also co-taught the regular fiction workshop with Robert Boswell that day.
Then on Wednesday, I gave a reading with the poet Carl Phillips. Instead of picking something from Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, I read two sections from the first chapter of my current novel. It was the first time I had ever done a public reading of a manuscript still in progress, but I figured it would motivate me to get my act together and finish my current revision.
I also attended readings by the wait staff and the social staff–these are highly anticipated events at Bread Loaf, because the material is usually excellent, and this year’s batch was no exception.