On Saturday, August 17, 2019 I will lead the workshop on How to Read a Photograph at Northwestern Summer Writers' Conference, Chicago.
Writers collect and use photographs as records of facts and as inspiration. Getting it at a glance—that’s what we like about photographs. They are simple; they yield their information without a struggle; their language is universal; seeing is natural: Each of these statements is false. Photographs are deceptive and they are filled with information beyond what is available at a glance. Learning how to see what photographs describe can deepen and enrich our writing. In this workshop we will explore ways to read photographs to discover what is within or beyond the surface representation.
A surprise: my story "Nature Rules" that appeared in Shenandoah in fall, 2017 received an honorable mention for The Shenandoah Prize for Fiction. Many awards have lots of categories, winner, finalist, semi-finalist, honorable mention, and sometimes more categories, so I don't usually find that receiving an honorable mention is worth mentioning. But the Shenandoah Prize includes one winner and one honorable mention in each category, so I am extremely honored, and thrilled.
I learned the news while reading R. T. Smith's final "Editor's Note," published in April, 2018.
I am pleased to announce our annual prizes for the most distinguished works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction to appear in volume 67 of Shenandoah. . . . and I send out my congratulations to the recipients, the honorable mentions . . . . Lynn Sloan’s “Nature Rules” in fiction
Here's the link to "Nature Rules."
"VIP parking at the Getty," my friend exclaimed.
So begins the brief essay about my experience with Ollie, the character in my story that was read at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. To read the essay, click:
Thrilled that my story "Ollie's Back" from This Far Isn't Far Enough had been chosen by Selected Shorts for its program "A Feast of Fiction," at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, I waited outside the auditorium for the show to begin. Mine was the last story and it was to be read by the outstanding actor Nate Cordrry. On that stage Nate Cordrry became Ollie, and he brought down the house. In a few months this program will be broadcast on NPR's Selected Shorts and available in podcast.
"Ollie's Back" from my story collection, THIS FAR ISN'T FAR ENOUGH at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, March 24, 2018
This Far Isn't Far Enough: An Interview with Lynn Sloan
We met at a faculty retreat, Lynn Sloan and I, quite a number of years ago. Lynn taught photography at Columbia College Chicago, where I teach creative writing, and I still remember her speaking about the potential for narrative in series of photographs. (I wonder if she really did talk about that, or if I have revised that memory in order to encapsulate both her evocative photographic images and her deeply engaging fiction?) Our paths cross often in Chicago, this remarkable literary city, and each time we meet, I am reminded of her kindness and curiosity, two traits a writer of any merit should have, I think.
We had the chance to talk story a bit, on the eve of the release of Lynn’s new short story collection, This Far Isn’t Far Enough from Fomite Press. These stories—full of “powerful yearning” (her phrase, not mine, although I wish I could claim it)—are so smart and so masterfully crafted, it was delight to hear her talk about how they came to be.
Patty McNair: Your stories are populated with characters we readers feel we might know. They could be our neighbors, our colleagues, a friend of our mother, a customer, a family member. These are people engaged in the daily business of their lives, but often at a moment when a choice must be made, an action taken. And therein blooms the drama. I wonder, Lynn, what comes first for you? Character or dramatic moment?
Lynn Sloan: I suppose that it’s dramatic moment, in this sense: what comes first for me is a question: Why?
To read more click:
Thanks to Women & Children First Bookstore for hosting a spectacular evening for the book launch of my story collection, This Far Isn't Far Enough. Thanks to the terrific booksellers who made everything flow smoothly, thanks to my friends, old and new, and those I didn’t know, to everyone who came to listen to me read. An SRO crowd and all books sold. Thank you to Sarah Hollenbeck and Lynn Mooney, the generous, savvy, and wise ones who are behind all the success of Women & Children First. Thank you.
Grief is not the exclusive province of death and dying in Lynn Sloan's poignant short story collection This Far Isn't Far Enough. Rather, we experience loss, deeply, in the many ordinary gaps and failures of our lives, over and over again.
To read this review click: