Students MUST post reactions ( minimum 250 words) to the assigned reading(s) linked below. Students are to pick ONE either Karen Russell OR Sam Lipsyte. Extra credit to those who read both interviews, both stories, and post two separate reactions. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.
Click HERE to read the Interview Magazine interview with Karen Russell OR HERE to read her interview with Guernica.
"Ava Wrestles the Alligator" by Karen Russell:
My sister and I are staying in Grandpa Sawtooth's old house until our
father, Chief Bigtree, gets back from the Mainland. It's our first
summer alone in the swamp. "You girls will be fine," the Chief slurred.
"Feed the gators, don't talk to strangers. Lock the door at night." The
Chief must have forgotten that it's a screen door at Grandpa's — there
is no key, no lock. The old house is a rust-checkered yellow bungalow at
the edge of the wild bird estuary. It has a single, airless room; three
crude, palmetto windows, with mosquito-blackened sills; a tin roof that
hums with the memory of rain. I love it here. Whenever the wind gusts
in off the river, the sky rains leaves and feathers. During mating
season, the bedroom window rattles with the ardor of birds. Click the title (and scroll down) to read the rest of the excerpt.
The Dungeon Master by Sam Lipsyte:
The Dungeon Master has detention. We wait at his house by the county
road. The Dungeon Master’s little brother Marco puts out corn chips and
orange soda. Marco is a paladin. He fights for the glory of Christ.
Marco has been many paladins since winter break. They are all named
Valentine, and the Dungeon Master makes certain they die with the least
possible amount of dignity. (Click heading to read story.)
Every Morpheme Counts: The Sam Lipsyte Interview:
I go through a lot of revision to get the timing, not just of the comic
element but of everything. So I pay a lot of close attention to rhythm
and cadence and acoustics and where things land, how sentences land, how
paragraphs land, how we transition. A lot of comedy can be found in
transitions too, I think. Barry Hannah was the master at landing in the
right way, making the familiar strange and funny and terrifying—all of
those things that the writers I like strive to do. He was such an
amazing example. (Click heading to read interview.)