Last week, the Tin House Writer's Workshop kicked off with a bevy of events, including a reading by T. "don't even bother trying to pronounce 'Coraghessan'" Boyle. But the fun doesn't stop there—not even close. The workshop continues through the weekend, and even if you're not a prepaid registrant, there are a ton of seminars and readings you can check out for a paltry sum.
First up is a reading by Annie Proulx, who will probably forever be known as the author of "Brokeback Mountain." While many of us may have become inured to the politics of that story, Proulx's text is strikingly lyrical and tough, and the same can be said for all of her best writings, including The Shipping News and That Old Ace in the Hole. After the reading, Reed prof and novelist Peter Rock will interview Proulx. (Hope he doesn't bring up Scientology!) (Cerf Amphitheatre, Thurs July 12, 8 pm, $5)
If you can break away on Friday afternoon, Steve Almondis conducting a workshop on writing about sex. A few years ago, he imparted the following wisdom in an essay on the same topic: "Never compare a woman's nipples to: (a) cherries, (b) cherry pits, (c) pencil erasers, or (d) Frankenstein's bolts." Wise words indeed! (Thank god the phrase "delectable candy gumdrops" is still fair game!) (Vollum Lecture Hall, Fri July 13, 3 pm, $15)
On Friday night there's a great three-fer with the wildly talented Aimee Bender (The Girl with the Flammable Skirt), young-ish hotshot Colson Whitehead (Apex Hides the Hurt), and Jim Shepard, a Massachusetts writer of great strength and disgracefully negligible fame. (Cerf Amphitheatre, Fri July 13, 8 pm, $5)
If that all seems too genial so far, it's because it is; we haven't gotten to the root of good literature yet, and that's drama. But fear not: On Saturday afternoon, Portland's very own Charles D'Ambrosio (The Dead Fish Museum) heads up a seminar called "Getting to the Heart of the Matter (And Making it Worse): The Essential Nature of Conflict." Even if you have no aspirations of writing the Great Transcontinental Novel, the opportunity to hear one of our best writers expound on the dramatic subtleties of his craft is one that shouldn't pass by unnoticed. (Vollum Lecture Hall, Sat July 14, 2 pm, $15)