‘Pick the marginal thing…’

Posted: October 30, 2013 by Janet Fitch in Uncategorized

From Kristin P.

The following are my notes from my very first class with Les, at UCLA’s Rolfe Hall on January 18, 2011. I always attempted to take down his short phrases verbatim….

When you start to write, you want to see what attaches to the picture.

Words get stale, think of new ways to employ them.

Fill in the blanks as a way to find the image.

Skip ahead.

Pick the marginal thing. Look off the main thing.

Pass around objects.

The thinking is taking up your mind. Start seeing.

See where your characters are.

Find a way to tell it.

Find a compelling character to follow, until your work becomes a lot more of that.

Bring one page, double spaced, 18 copies, to each class. For next week, write a list in the negative, like “This is not…” or “You are not…” etc.. Bring a picture. Three additional pages for Les each week.

Les’ book and author references [please forgive the hazy titles, he always threw these out on the fly]:
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
Troutfishing in America
A Kind of Testament
Autobiography of Red, by Anne Carson
Ferdydurke, by Gombrowicz
Brand Upon the Brain, by Guy Madden
Lithium for Medea, by Kate Braverman
Play It As It Lays, by Joan Didion
Kitaj book
John Rechy, LA writer
Richard Russo’s short stories


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