OK, all done.
So far I'm now a permalancer for a major media company which keeps me in sort-of employed. Taxes on this, however, really killed me this year. I'm going to look into the quarterly payments for next year and making my SO change his w-4 to 0 withholding. I think so many people will be in trouble this year paying their taxes -- because they don't have a job anymore!
Anyway, back to the artistic side, I saw Yiyun Li's new book, The Vagrants, at the bookstore. She teaches sometimes at St. Mary's College (where I'm finishing my MFA) and her short stories are amazingly layered. I'm curious about her full-length work. From SF Metblog:
Q: You use an omniscient third-person narrative voice which is, at times, very intimate with the characters, and at other times, seems to see characters only from afar. How did you develop this enormously flexible narrative voice for the novel?
Li: I always love [works with an] omniscient narrator, and for a novel like this one, where each character experiences a small part of history, it seems one has to have the freedom to move from one character to the next to give a whole picture of the community. And a novelist has that freedom… It’s the narrative voice some of the masters of literature use (Tolstoy, for instance).
Q: Did you experiment a lot in developing this perspective?
Li: In the very beginning, I had each sections told in very close third-person narrative, though I realized quickly that even by going from one character to the next, I still couldn’t achieve what I really wanted, so I began to read some of my favorite authors — Graham Greene and William Trevor in particular — throughout working on the manuscript, to learn how to write in that voice.
Q: As a teacher of writing, is this an issue you work with, with your students? Do you have to fight to get them to be honest about the whole range of human behavior?
A: Never give a character a tag, I would tell my students. They would say, this character is an alcoholic, and I would say no, you can’t start writing a story about an alcoholic because then that one thing takes over the character. I think that a writer should at first acknowledge that any character is complex and sometimes mysterious.
To see a reading or buy her book, check out Li's appearances here.