Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

Leave a comment

Writers Ask: M.E.N.T.O.R.

We’re back in the basement this week, talking heartbreak at church lock-ins and awkward encounters in rest stop bathrooms. Also we manage to answer some questions about writing. How does one go about finding a mentor? Do a few acceptances ease the sting of rejection? And what’s the deal with book trailers?

Got questions for a future episode of Writers Ask? Just click on the ‘Fight Back’ tab at the top of the page, or you can tweet at us. We’re @Book_Fight on your Twitter machine. Or just run up onto Tom’s lawn and shout your question while shaking your fist at the heavens. Whatever works for you!

Here’s a link to the story Mike mentioned during the episode, Last Days, which would be a lot crappier if not for Charles D’Ambrosio’s careful notes and suggestions.

If you’re interested in taking an online workshop with either of your friendly Book Fight hosts, now’s your chance: Barrelhouse is offering workshops starting June 1, with Mike teaching fiction and Tom doing nonfiction. Money raised from the workshop will help Barrelhouse stay in business, and keep paying contributors. Space is limited, so register now. We can also vouch for Stan Mir, our coworker at Temple, who will be teaching a poetry workshop for Barrelhouse this summer.

As always, you can stream the episode here, just by clicking on the little player thingy below:

Download Writers Ask: M.E.N.T.O.R. (right-click, save-as)

You can download all our episodes for free in the iTunes store, where you can also subscribe, so you never miss another update. Finally, please consider visiting our sponsor, Powell’s Books. If you click on any of the Powell’s links on our site, then shop as you normally would, a small cut of the purchase price will come back to the show.

Leave a comment

Episode 16: Tom Grimes, Mentor

Reading Tom Grimes’ memoir about his time at the Iowa Writers Workshop–and his long-running relationship with its famed director, Frank Conroy–has brought on a combination of nostalgia and post-traumatic stress syndrome in your humble podcasters, who both graduated from the Workshop roughly a decade after Grimes. Tom recounts his first, humbling workshop with Conroy, and Mike realizes he’s always longed for the kind of mentor relationship so lovingly described in the book.

Grimes has described Mentor as the autobiography of a failed novelist, though one clear lesson of the book is that success and failure are both relative. Continue reading