Day 5: VCCA
Last night I found my people…Songs, laughter, wine, whiskey. Tonight, someone’s organized a Salaon/Open Mic with 3 minutes per person. We’ll have a trombone player perform, an Afghani guitar player, a folksy Chicago musician, monologues from NYC and LA playwrights, and readings and prose and poetry galore.
Today’s 1st line prompt: “We bring our babies, blue-eyed babies, brown-eyed babies; we have come to watch the parade, the marching bands.” (Kelly Cherry, “The Parents”)
Concluding quotes on the lyric essay, as excerpted from Seneca Review’s Fall 2007 special issue:
“I, myself, in the last month, have suggested to some writers that their (very lyric) essays might be best realized as performances (with lights and various speakers moving on and off). I’ve suggested the addition of pictures to certain essays, thus inadvertently promoting a thing called ‘the graphic essay.’ And yet—I’m uncomfortable stretching the term ‘essay’ too far. Silly Putty used to make me nervous in the same way when stretched, especially when it spread the face of a comic-book character, making it slowly wide, then tall, then transparent until it wore through entirely and the face’s features blew around in the breeze like a ripped flag.” (98)
“Insistent Question: So for the purposes of this issue of Seneca Review, what then is a lyric essay? Sidelong Wish: May we—readers and writers both—remain in a state of wonder about just that. May we value novelty enough to protect it. And since the reasons for questioning elemental things change as we get bigger, may we, as the Magic 8 Ball so often suggests, Ask Again Later.” (100)
“The lyric essay does not narrate a story so much as express a condition—often named, sometimes called human, but still to us unknown. It reverses foreground and background, cultivating leaps and juxtaposition, tensing between the presentational and the representational. Associative, meditative, it abhors journalistic reportage. Its incompleteness is Romantic, revealed in lyric fragmentation, the unfusion of imagination into the debris of fact…” (111)
“Although skeptics might say D’Agata and Tall had invented a genre that already existed, their clearly stated boundaries offered an overwhelmed real nonfiction writer a nook in a vast pocket park, where she could smell the lilacs when she let herself relax…i.e., the emotional essence of a writer’s experience resides in the words she records about it, not in her memory of events themselves.” (116/118)