Last night I met, as I do at least a couple of times a month, with fellow writers, Jamie Iredell and Chris Bundy. We've been getting together for several years now, ever since we got our PhDs from Georgia State University together. We've nicknamed ourselves the Perambulators, after something a character said in the former series, "Deadwood."
Our meetings no doubt drive our spouses crazy because whenever we're together, we start ranting about metaphors and similes, trochees and anapests, metonymy and synechdoche. No, really. We had an ongoing feud about the difference between metonymy and synecdoche that went on for months. Can you imagine it, these two brilliant people couldn't see that synecdoche is clearly a type of metonymy. What were they thinking? Whenever we start going off that way, my wife rolls her eyes and says, "So are you flexing your intellectual muscles for each other?"
Our primary purpose is for critique and workshop; each meeting one of us will have emailed the others a manuscript or portion thereof for review. I hope the others get as much from this as I do. We each bring something different to the table: Jamie is the most avant garde, I am the most traditional, and Chris is the most nuanced. I don't always follow their comments but I ALWAYS respect them, and I have never come away from a meeting without my head bristling with ideas and my fingers itching to get at the keyboard.
Another benefit, just as important if more subtle, is that they serve as a reminder of what I am: a writer. We talk about literary magazines, publishing opportunities, writing grants, teaching, and all the other "shop talk" that comprises the writer's working world.
Also, Jamie is a great cook and we eat well.
Last night Blake Butler joined us. He and Jamie are planning a book tour together to promote Blake's book Scorch Atlas (read article in Time Out New York) and Jamie's Prose. Poems, A Novel. (Click here for an article in Creative Loafing)
Pretty heady stuff, and a priviledge to be associated with writers of this caliber. Unfortunately Blake and I got into a bit of an argument.
Can you imagine, Blake is opposed to metaphors. What is he thinking?