Thursday, October 29, 2009

alexander writing on annie

I enjoyed skimming Alexander Chee's personal essay on writing classes at Wesleyan University. I did not take creative writing classes at Wesleyan as an undergrad, but I did know the names of the somewhat famous writers he speaks of--Annie Dillard, Kit Reed, Phyllis Rose, et al. Follow this link for the essay in full: http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/personal_essays/annie_dillard_and_the_writing_life.php

The closest I ever got to Annie Dillard, discounting selling her books after college while working in a Borders Bookshop, was seven years after graduation, where on a whim, I drove up to Middletown, CT for the Nietzsch Factor Alumni Ultimate Frisbee game. As it turned out, Annie Dillard had become a fan of Ultimate and in fact was the lone fan in attendance at the game. We gave the current undergrad team our best player and then played to fifteen. It was early spring, I had a common cold and was out of shape, but somehow I managed to leap into the air to snag the game-winning goal. If I'm not mistaken, the extra strength sudafed had gotten to my head, and I yelped at the extended defender whose dive had just missed blocking this catch, "Just another a scrub." I think that guy became a star, maybe even a captain, of New York club ultimate, and I more or less retired any dreams I had of playing serious disc. Because Annie was the only fan, and the only woman's voice, I know that her final words on this alumni game were, "At least it was exciting until the end," or something to that effect. I hope Professor Dillard has a chance to one day witness Nietzsch's return to glory and a trip to College Nationals.

As for the writing, it looks like Alexander Chee, Annie's writing student, has done very well. He is a visiting writer in Emily Dickinson land, at none other than Amherst College, and his novels are published or forthcoming.

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