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David D. Levine
18 April 2011 @ 10:37 am
So here I am at Buena Vista University (which, by the way, they pronounce "byoona" rather than "bwayna"... apparently this has something to do with the Spanish-American War) in Storm Lake, Iowa. BVU is small and in the middle of nowhere but very well endowed; the campus is saturated with wifi and every student gets a laptop and, this year, an iPad as well. Walking past students' screens at breakfast, I see: Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, Microsoft Word, Facebook. The school also makes up for its location with an extensive travel program. Most students travel somewhere like New York each year, and my host Inez is going to Korea. And, of course, they paid to bring me out here to speak.

Nonetheless, it is the middle of Iowa. The coffee I got this morning was so pale and weak I literally thought I'd gotten tea by accident. I mean, if there were text on the bottom of the cup you would have had no difficulty reading it. Inez took me out for Mexican last night; it was actually quite good, but as we were preparing to leave the gal at the next table asked me what I'd had. "Arroz con pollo," I said. She blinked and asked me what that was in English.

The school mascot is the beaver, which apparently most of the visiting lecturers find hilarious. As I'm from Oregon, the Beaver State, it's not funny but it is a bit distracting.

I got a lot of writing done on the plane yesterday: 1684 words for the day, total of 5363. Just the siege and aftermath to go. Unfortunately, the editor asked for 3000-5000 words, so once I'm done I'll have some cutting to do. More writing this morning, as I don't have any obligations today until lunchtime.

And that's the news from Storm Lake, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the students are jesus christ, was I ever that young?

 
 
David D. Levine
18 April 2011 @ 03:30 pm
I sat in on one of Inez's creative writing classes this afternoon. The class began with a ten-minute free-writing exercise, and Inez gave everyone in the class except me the choice of two writing prompts based on story titles of mine ("Moonlight on the Carpet" and "Teaching the Pig to Sing"). Most of the students chose "Moonlight on the Carpet" and most of those who chose to read them out loud produced creepy stories very much like my own of that title. Most of those who chose "Teaching the Pig to Sing" had a story that involved a literal pig, unlike my own.

I also participated, but rather than give me my own titles Inez gave me a choice of two of hers: "Easy A" or "Hecate on Toast." You can see what I wrote, if you like, under the cut.

Hecate on ToastCollapse )