Monday, December 23, 2013
The Man Behind the Palimpsest
back in 2007 when I taught at a university for the very first time there was this here advanced graduate fiction writing class and one dude in it was not an MFA student, he was just some guy, some OTHER KIND of student, so some of the sensitive and perpetually offended MFA students regarded him with suspicion, alarm, and the bitter, smirking hatred that only a so-called fiction writer can call forth from his or her wizened soul, speaking for myself of course, though Will McIntosh - for that was the cleancut and decent young fellow's name - does not recall it that way, as I found out the other night when I ran into him on McKay's back porch before Good Idea Club. Will is not the type to indulge in such small feelings. And it is a fact that Elizabeth and Michael were in that class and they were warm and welcoming indeed, and so was everybody else, except those few who really, really weren't. I have to say they didn't dig me too much either. So perhaps my intentions are muddied here! I did make them read some kind of book-length rhyming poem about a knight, maybe. I had no idea what I was doing, it is true, but don't worry about your children's rotten education, I'm not teaching anymore. Someone else is giving them their rotten education now, just kidding, education is great. Last time George Saunders was in town, I introduced him to Will up at the City Grocery Bar, and told him all about a story Will had written for the class, one I never forgot, unlike so many others in the intervening years, especially the part where the mother gets sick from ******* *** ******** **** and, in the story's vivid climactic moment, ****** ** ******* into the ******. (I don't want to spoil it for you!) And I badgered Will once again, as I often did, to publish that story somewhere so other people could get a big kick out of it. And George Saunders gave Will a pep talk too. Because he's just as nice as Will! Then we went somewhere else and George Saunders ate a corn dog (something I never weary of typing) and we speculated about why maybe Will kept putting his story on the backburner, which is because of Will's real job, which is SAVING INNOCENT PEOPLE FROM BEING KILLED. Will is a lawyer for the Innocence Project, perhaps a more important job than "writing," ha ha, it is funny to call writing a job. Will is the person that I took to calling "The Man Who Says 'Palimpsest'" here, though I can't for the life of me recall why I thought it was important to protect his identity from the people who read this "blog," who don't actually exist. And now you can read his story ("click" here) in the old Lent Magazine, your one-stop shop for fun. It's a Christmas story!