Today I met the man Kirk Nesset, author of two short story collections (one of which, Paradise Road, I bought and am currently reading/enjoying), a critical study of the short stories of Raymond Carver, and a volume of translated works from the Spanish writings of Venezuelan Poet and Essayist, Eugenio Montejo, as part of my college’s Literary Festival. Today was to be Nesset’s reading and writing workshop; these events were wonderful, homely, and informative and entertaining at the same time, and it was a real pleasure to meet this man today.
Besides writing poems, stories, and non-fiction, Nesset teaches creative writing and literature at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Though tall and young-looking with his blonde-colored bowl cut hair style, the man is rather soft-spoken, wise and contemplative in both voice and thought, and in our small talk with each other, I found a sophisticated innocence that exists strongly both within and despite the elements of his fiction writing (like I said, I am reading and enjoying his book of stories). In his reading today, I was inspired by the flow and poesy of words into composing three new poems for my 50 poem project. When I told him I was sorry if this was distracting to him after the presentation, the man laughed, and said, “No, it is actually flattering when one writer is inspired by another’s writing, reading, or both.” Then he continued showing off his Pomeranian, Ryan (whom I got to hold for a while during the writing workshop, by the way.)
In the hour-and-a-half-long workshop, Nesset introduced us to some flash fiction pieces and got us to exploring writing themes and plots from a miniaturist standpoint (this is my paraphrasing of his words, of course). As Nesset put it, if we can make it seem fresh, inventive, and exciting to us in less than 500 words, we can learn to extend it even longer and make long works work the same way. I wrote an entire piece in the workshop, a 1-page work entitled “No Point of Reference”–I might put the piece up in the future.
Overall, the man has proven to be an asset to both literature and humanity, and I enjoyed learning from him today. Maybe in the future I will write a review of his book; I am two stories in currently, so it will take me some time, but I promise to let the people know what I thought of it once I finish it. Keep with me for future updates.
Also, tomorrow, March the FIRST, I will be reading in front of people in my school for the Festival’s student section. I am sifting through my material to find good stuff, but I am nervous. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I prepare for this, and thanks very much in advance for all the support.
OK, that’s it–good night and good nachos, folks!