Sunday, June 17, 2007

Report from Vermin on the Mount

It is really easy to criticize. And a group of writers can be just about the most critical intellectual force on earth. But last year at Tin House, our workshop leader Jim Shepard managed to get us to bond and support one another in workshop. I'm not exactly sure how he did it. He read us poetry. He slowed down the workshop so that we didn't jump into critique the first day, but instead parsed sentences. He didn't allow certain people to dominate discussions. He led.

So a little less than a year later, a number of us from the workshop got together again at Vermin on the Mount to hear one of our workshop members, Pia Ehrhardt, read from her West Coast release of her short story collection Famous Fathers. She read most of the title story after a surprise reading by Stephen Elliot.

What's the surprise here?

Goodwill. Community. Thank God. Thanks to Jim Ruland for creating Vermin on the Mount, an opportunity for writers to read their own work and thanks to Jim Shepard for creating community. Bravo!