This year, October 30 marks the centennial birth anniversary of the Spanish poet Miguel Hernández, who died in prison in 1942. Unlike Federico Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejos, Juan Ramon Jimenez, and other writers associated with the Spanish Civil War, Hernández remains relatively obscure outside Spain, where he continues to be loved and remembered.
An interesting point pertaining to prose fiction style caught my attention in the second part of the interview “One Story, Many Voices” (read Part 1 here). Mantle editor Shaun Randol points out that In My Dreams, It Was Simpler doesn’t have a lot of description, eliciting varied reactions and defenses from the novel’s many authors.
I thought I’d try an experiment with this blog entry, by composing it in a word processor, but I gave up after four paragraphs. It’s an experiment because I usually draft in longhand, in a large cheap notebook, before encoding the text, revising and editing as I go, and printing it out for further revision, encoding those revisions, and repeating the process until I’m happy with the work.
Composing in a computer, I had to stop writing several times to think or correct or rephrase myself. I’m leery of writing in a stop-and-start rhythm, worried that the staccato will creep into my prose, and I had to fight the urge to reach for my notebook and pen.
Last year, from September to November, I lived in America, mostly Iowa City, Iowa, to attend the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, on a grant from the U.S. State Department. I joined 36 writers from 29 countries for the Fall Residency, which is the main project of the IWP. I had been to the U.S. only once before, more than a decade ago, for a ten-day trip that included New Orleans and Washington, DC.