The Writing Life,
Annie Dillard wrote,
I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
On the first of each month, a guest writer shares how he or she spends the day.
December 1, 2012: Dan Chaon
At Vermont College of Fine Arts
I was so impressed by Dan’s informal talk at VCFA in July of 2011 that I not only immediately bought Await Your Reply, the novel he discussed, but I also immediately read it. Then I did a series of five posts on it: three threads, nods, repetition with new detail, image, and parceling out your life.
In his talk, Dan said that with Await Your Reply, he began with three images and a story, but that he had no idea how they were connected until the end of the first draft. He said that the second draft is always “super important” to him because he’s looking for iconography, like tarot cards, to signal where the power is–where an image and/or a moment is important.
For you short story lovers, Dan also gave a terrific reading of a new story, and he has a new book of stories out this year, Stay Awake. Past stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories of 1996 and 2003. His stories have also won the Pushcart Prize and the O. Henry Award.
Dan has written one other novel, You Remind Me of Me, and two other story collections: Among the Missing and Fitting Ends. He teaches at Oberlin College, where he is the Pauline M. Delaney Professor of Creative Writing.
Come back on December 1st to read how Dan Chaon spends his days.