Aspen Words; Words in Aspen

In the wake of celebrating the life of my father, the Aspen Words writing workshop in Aspen, Colorado provided a breezy clean-air escape—again—into the “serious” literary world: Manhattan agents and editors. MFA grads. Tea drinkers. Brows that furrow at the mere mention of a certain current White House occupant. And us “emerging” writers gasping at humble-bragged mentions of 7-figure deals that apparently really do exist.

Short story writer and novelist Peter Ho Davies led the lively workshop in which I participated, delving into craft in between workshopping submissions from a group of talented and very smart writers—ranging in age from just-outta-college to eight decades of life experience. Re-dipping my toe in these waters always brings about a bit of the old imposture syndrome; It’s been 27 years since I last sat in a lit class and had to think about the subtle differences between “close third” versus “free indirect” narration. But the feedback for my novel excerpt was thoughtful and intelligent… and right-on in many spots. I will have lots of fodder for a Boswellian attempt at some transitional revision later this summer.

A shout again to the talented group of fellow workshoppers—names to watch for in literary magazines and at your local independent bookstores: Jenny XiePhoebe BrightDennis VaughnCandace NadonClaudia Hinz, Edward Hamlin, Julianne McAdams, Warren Jones, Tom Bernard, and Erin Branning. A shout also to the Pyramid Bistro for actually being able to provide fine and reasonably priced eats within the Aspen city limits.

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