One thing I miss about school is sitting around the table with a group of readers and taking a story — usually a short story — and breaking it down to see how it works.
Today I came across this Podcast at The New Yorker: it’s my favorite writing teacher, ZZ Packer, reading “Paper Lantern” and then talking with Deborah Treisman about the mechanics. Here’s the audio link: Paper Lantern by Stuart Dybek. If there’s anything that helps me figure out my own writing, it’s seeing how someone else pulls it off. I started out enjoying the story, ZZ’s voice, and her great big laugh, but ended up with the perfect writing prompt for today.
P.S. We’ve been talking about the importance of libraries lately. How about this Dybek quote: “The public library is where place and possibility meet.” My 10 year old self would have agreed.