Author Archives: John Gregory Brown

Writers Series: Laura Freixas

A quick reminder of the next Writers Series event: Spanish writer and literary critic Laura Freixas will speak at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 25, in the Browsing Room at Sweet Briar College‚Äôs Cochran Library. Freixas is the author of … Continue reading

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The Ring of Fire & The Golden Rule

It is no doubt abundantly clear to you that I am extremely disappointed with and frustrated by the intellectual energy and engagement you have displayed so far this semester. I should, though, acknowledge that whenever a class goes awry, the … Continue reading

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“It’s just a miracle you didn’t end up sightless…”

“…or at least dead.” That’s what the nurse tells Terrence Weber, “the man with the knife in his head,” in Denis Johnson’s story “Emergency.” The line is really funny, and it sounds absolutely true — that being sightless would be … Continue reading

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Exercise 4

Your final exercise before we turn to full-length stories is to use as your narrator a female character from one of the stories we’ve read. The exercise should begin with an epigraph, which should be a quotation from the story … Continue reading

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Influence and the Fiction Writer

Reading over a few more samples of the latest exercise, I’m thinking a bit more about the ways in which the writers we’re reading this semester have influenced your work. If you’re worried about it — and I’m not — … Continue reading

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Raymond Carver & Richard Ford

I’m interested in our considering the similarities and differences between Richard Ford’s stories and those of Raymond Carver, so I’ve posted two of Carver’s stories — “Fat” and “Cathedral” — in the class folder on Google docs. The two men … Continue reading

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“A businessman, not a poet…”

“I am just a businessman, not a poet,” Robert Olen Butler’s narrator declares in the opening of the story “The Trip Back.” Here is the quintessential example of the unreliable first-person narrator, for despite his adamant objection, this man is … Continue reading

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Robert Olen Butler’s “The Trip Back”

I’ve placed a copy of the Robert Olen Butler story “The Trip Back” in the Google docs folder for the class. I’d like everyone to read that story and to bring a copy to class on Thursday, September 16 — … Continue reading

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Point-of-view in “Great Falls”

I’d forgotten how amazing a story “Great Falls” is because it has been a long time since I last read it. It has so many wonderful moments, so many deft touches, that I could spend an entire class going over … Continue reading

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“The great pity of a person’s life…”

I’m interested in the ways in which both Denis Johnson and Richard Ford sometimes allow their plainspoken, relatively inarticulate narrators a kind of brief, transitory lyricism — or even wisdom — at crucial points in their stories. Here’s the narrator … Continue reading

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