Floss

Welcome to my new office, my desk in the new library, a 5 minute bike ride from home.

Seriously?  I’m knocking on wood all over the goddamned place.

I’m still off the WiFi map — I am! — but in the meantime here’s a quote for you and for me from our very own Kurt Vonnegut.  The Paris Review Interviews, Vol. I” — page 195.

I would tell students to make their characters want something right away — even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time. One of my students wrote a story about a nun who got a pice of dental floss stuck between her lower left molars, and who couldn’t get it out all day long. I thought that was wonderful.

Here’s to dental floss.

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20 thoughts on “Floss

  1. jpon

    I love that Vonnegut quote. In fact I use it often when I’m teaching to help students understand that whatever else we believe about ourselves, we are still basically creatures of desire.

  2. erikamarks

    Oh, what a view! So glad you’ve settled in to some digs–on and off the page.

    I too have always adored that quote. In my mind, it is probably the most pervasive tip I use as I write to constantly remind myself of a novel’s crucial momentum. The need/want doesn’t have to be earth-shattering (the floss dilemma is nothing short of brilliant)–that’s our job as writers, to make even the smallest desire urgent and ripe with suspense.

    I don’t suppose they allow huggable, furry writing pals to sleep under that desk?

  3. LauraMaylene

    Now I have the strong urge to floss. I am seriously distracted by this.

    On the plus side — look at your view! Lucky, lucky.

  4. Averil Dean

    What I wouldn’t give for a view like that. My seat at the library looks onto a blank wall!

    Enjoy yourself, my friend.

    (Are those headphones? I was thinking of treating myself to something like that, do you like them?)

  5. lisahgolden

    I can’t wait to tell you in person what I think of your new office.

    Thursday. I get off at five and will drive over to where you are. I repeat – Can’t wait!

  6. macdougalstreetbaby

    Do those windows open? I can almost feel the breeze from here.

    On a completely different note, last night was my book club where we discussed The Sense of an Ending. To be clear, I totally missed the core of the book. It took 7 women talking about it to discover that. We all agreed that the ending of that torn page from the diary read, “If Tony hadn’t of… gotten involved, I never would have met the woman of my dreams.” For sure, Mr. Barnes gets the lifetime achievement award for messing with his audience. What a smart cookie.

    1. Teri Post author

      Can’t wait to re-read it to see what I missed.

      What do you think about the whole Book Club thing, MSB? Me, I’m about to bow out, I think. Not sure I’m the right kind of reader for a club of any kind….. I don’t know, my book club also met this week and I’m leaning heavily on the other side of the fence lately. Which says more, obviously, about me than the club.

      1. macdougalstreetbaby

        Yeah, I get that. For me, the benefits totally outweigh the frustrations. This book is a perfect example. I would have bowed out way before the end if I had been on my own. I’ve got no backbone when it comes to hitting literary walls. I plowed through only because of the club and then really only came away changed after the meeting. If I was as avid a reader as you, I doubt I’d be in a group but, as it is, I need the motivation.

  7. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

    I’ve had two readers recently say they want to know more specifically, early on, what my MC wants. Yes, I KNOW what she wants, but how to clearly show it?

    Maybe what she wants is a gorgeous view, just like this… Hope it’s as inspiring as it appears in a photo!

  8. Catherine

    What a view! And I loved the quote. I love when writing a short story you suddenly make the most normal thing happen. Getting out of a car, walking into the bank, emptying a bag. These are the real cogs of the story and the character springs to life.

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