Saturday, April 10, 2010

What Does Virginia Love?

Ah, the joy of seeing one’s student make good. It’s not something I’ve experienced so often that I’m immune to a certain amount of fatherly pride. Case in point, a former student of mine at Fresno State, Elizabeth Schulte, just sent me a new volume of Witness: The Magazine of the Black Mountain Institute that features a story she workshopped in my class a couple years ago.

Now, Elizabeth was always a terrific writer, with a combination of raw talent and a strange, surreal vision that produced quirky, memorable stories. She also has a great range in her fiction, writing credibly about people and characters far removed from her own upbringing. I can’t take credit for any of that, of course, except to say that I was smart enough to spot and encourage it.

The story in Witness is called “The Only Thing Virginia Loves” and it starts like this:

“Someone was trying to east her valise. She awoke in her tent to the sound of licking and gnawing, and in her dreamy state, she thought it was Gimli, the English bulldog she’d had as a teenager, making love to a rawhide at the foot of her bed, leaving white stains of rehydrated meat juice and saliva on her comforter. As she awoke, she found that she was an adult, and that a man was trying to separate a piece of leather from her travel bag using his teeth and a box cutter…”

Tell me you don’t want to read the next line!

Congrats, Elizabeth, I know there are many more successes coming for you.

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