On November 8, The Cabin welcomes our next Readings & Conversations guest: Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love
and Great House
. There’s still time to buy tickets: call The Cabin at 331.8000.
The following snippets are adapted from interviews posted on her website, nicolekrauss.com
Channeling Mister Geppetto
Nicole Krauss writes from a place of uncertainty. “Getting lost in the woods” she calls it, deeper and deeper with each novel she undertakes—sometimes 200 pages lost—so that she is just as doubtful and uncertain as the characters she discovers there. With so much free space to explore their identities, her characters capture what she calls “…the ‘Pinocchio Element’: the chance to become truly alive and real.” (image source
The desk in Great House
is very much like the writing desk in Nicole Krauss’ attic. It’s an overbearing, masculine piece she inherited with the house and it was built specifically for the room, so to maneuver it down her narrow stairs (as she often considers doing) it would first have to be chopped to bits. To top it off, the desk was originally built around a painted panel, which was removed and taken with the previous owner. So she writes, each and every day, with a gaping hole above her head. (image source
Abandon all hope, ye who author here
Writing’s tough, in case that’s news to anybody. Envisioning a time when the difficult periods shrink and the rewards come frequently is an exercise in optimism, not often a reality. Krauss keeps a framed quote at her writing desk (maybe to distract from the hole) which reads: “It’s not going to get any better. Resign yourself to this.” It’s a sad, strangely comforting little promise. She knows what she’s getting. (image source
Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth at Idaho Book Extravaganza
last weekend! We loved meeting so many passionate writers and readers. In case you missed it, here are some highlights from the two-day event.
Top 50 Idaho Author Awards
The Cabin was overjoyed to see so many of our members and supporters recognized as amongst the top 50 authors in Idaho.
Recipients included Alan Heathcock (Cabin board member), Alan Minskoff (founding member of The Cabin and Writing Camps teacher), Anthony Doerr (Cabin supporter), Bill English (Cabin supporter and former Writing Camps teacher), and our very own Executive Director, Dede Ryan!
Congratulations to everyone who took home one of these awesome trophies.
The Cabin Booth
Thank you to all of the volunteers (Connie, Ciara, Joyce, Patricia, Heidi, Shane, Laura, Julie and Diane) who staffed our booth on Friday and Saturday. Your enthusiasm for The Cabin and our programs came through every time someone stopped by to chat, and we're proud to be represented by such an articulate and devoted group of people.
We had a blast coming up with new materials for the booth, including “Poetry Niblets”—tiny pieces of paper with some of our favorite excerpts from the upcoming Words Work Wonders anthology, penned by Summer Writing Camps 2011 students. Our booth also displayed photos from camps, lots of brochures and flyers, books and posters, and a bowl of Halloween candy.
If you missed out, we still have niblets (of both the poetry and candy varieties) left over, so stop by The Cabin and see us for a treat!
(Click photo to view full-size flyer)
The Cabin will be at Idaho Book Extravaganza
this weekend...will you? Friday (from 11-7) and Saturday (from 10:30-4) at Boise Centre on the Grove we’ll have a booth at the trade show, which is free and open to the public. The event features publishers, authors, book marketing experts, digital and print booksellers, freelance writers, editors, book designers, graphic designers, business owners, entrepreneurs, students and those who love reading, writing and books.
There will be more than 40 authors and exhibitors in attendance, lots of workshops, a student essay contest, and the “Top 50 Idaho Author Awards” Friday evening—a little birdie told us that a few of The Cabin’s author friends made the list!
This should be a great opportunity to get better acquainted with some organizations and businesses in the writing and reading community, meet interesting new people and make connections. We hope to see you there.
“What is fiction, after all, but a kind of purposeful dreaming?”
--Jonathan Franzen, from his Readings & Conversations lecture
Thank you to Mayor Beiter and the Boise City Department of Arts and History for honoring The Cabin with an award for Excellence in the Arts – Organization. We had a fantastic evening celebrating with all our friends in Boise’s arts and history community. Here are a few photos from the awards event at the Old Penitentiary, September 22, 2011.
Members of the Board of Directors, staff and Cabin members were on hand to represent our organization at the awards.
Artist Sue Latta designed the beautiful plaques, which display a 3D resin image of the Old Pen and a symbolic metal trinket personalized for each recipient. We hung our award in the entryway and it looks perfect against The Cabin’s walls.
We were all so happy to see Surel Mitchell in attendance to accept her award for Excellence in the Arts – Individual.
Executive Director Dede Ryan accepted the award on behalf of The Cabin, telling Mayor Beiter, “Thank you for putting your money where your art is.”
We’re setting the bar high with our first Readings and Conversations 2011-2012 season author, Jonathan Franzen. In preparation, we’d like to share Five Franzen Facts: little literary tidbits we’ve gleaned from the interwebs.
Franzen’s signature glasses were stolen right from over his nose at a literary event in London. During a Freedom book launch, two 20-somethings crashed the party, lifted the spectacles, left a $100,000 ransom note and ran. A (successful) police chase immediately ensued. Glasses thief James Fletcher later wrote in explanation, “I’d mentioned several times to my accomplice how much I admired Franzen’s frames and thought that they deserved to be the subject of a hostage-ransom situation” (GQ, October 2010).
He was on The Simpsons, so you know he’s famous.
Franzen guest-starred on an episode of The Simpsons along with other well-known authors Tom Wolfe, Gore Vidal and Fanzen’s good friend (and Readings and Conversations 2009-2010 season author) Michael Chabon. While they appear together on a literary panel, at one point in the episode Chabon exclaims, “That’s it, Franzen! I think your nose needs some corrections!” After Chabon’s fighting words the two animated authors begin pummeling each other.
Franzen studied at Freie Universität in Berlin as a Fulbright scholar and speaks fluent German. In 1986 he was paid $50 by Swarthmore College’s theater department to write an English translation of Frank Wedekind’s play Spring Awakening. Twenty years later, after being deeply disappointed by a Broadway musical version of the play, Franzen published his long-shelved translation.
The (missing) Corrections
Thousands of copies of Franzen’s latest novel, Freedom, were distributed in the United Kingdom starting in October of last year. Unfortunately, those thousands of copies omitted more than 200 changes Franzen had made to the manuscript. Publisher HarperCollins tried to do a recall but many copies had already sold.
Did he just call Kafka a cockroach?
UK’s The Guardian
asked Franzen to list ten indispensable rules for fiction writers (February 2010). The full article can be found here
, with other author responses including a list by 2007-2008 season Readings and Conversations author Richard Ford. Here are Franzen’s suggestions:
- The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.
- Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money.
- Never use the word "then" as a conjunction – we have "and" for this purpose. Substituting "then" is the lazy or tone-deaf writer's non-solution to the problem of too many "ands" on the page.
- Write in the third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistibly.
- When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.
- The most purely autobiographical fiction requires pure invention. Nobody ever wrote a more autobiographical story than "The Metamorphosis".
- You see more sitting still than chasing after.
- It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.
- Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.
- You have to love before you can be relentless.
This is our new space for keeping you updated on special events, workshops, publications and everything else The Cabin is involved in. A bit of what you can expect to find here in the future:
- Suggested reading lists and author biographies for our Readings and Conversations authors
- Announcements about our new digital anthology, Writers in the Attic (details coming soon!)
- Photos and notes from local literary events
- Interviews with Idaho authors
- Book recommendations
We’re thrilled to start offering some exciting new services and resources to our wonderful Idaho literary community, so please check back soon to see what’s happening at The Cabin!