Saturday, September 8, 2007

Augusten Burroughs Rocks, and my Writing Retreat

I had an aweome Labor Day weekend! This post is a little late, I know. At any rate, I headed to Elwood City, a little north of Pittsburgh to hang out with some new friends I met at the MA in Creative Writing program at Wilkes. Michael and his wife, Mary Anne were wonderful hosts. Their house and property was just lovely and there was plenty of room for all of us!

Over the weekender, we all were able to read each other's works, do some creative writing stuff with prompts and were able to discuss our classes and ideas. We also watched a foreign film, Like Water for Chocolate and discussed it. What a beautiful film! The words were lovely!

The whole weekend was wondefully inspiring and it made me miss my other classmates who did not come out to Mike's-- we all posted on the message boards for our group and posted pics to show them what they missed! After I returned from the 8-day residency at Wilkes, I was so pumped. I have to admit that I have fallen behind on work and readings for the classes, so being around my classmates for the weekend has been renergizing! It was great to see Michael, Angie, Justice, Rocks and meet Rocks' finacee' Diana. In addition to writing, we also had loads of fun and ate well!!

AUDIO BOOKS- Augusten Burroughs Rocks

So since I was making the five-hour trip by myself, I decided to pick up some audio books- one for the way there and one for the way home. I only listened to one audio book in the past, so I was exicted. I ended up buying Running With Scissors, a memoir by Augusten Burroughs. I read his only novel, Sellevision and also have-- but never read- his second memoir, Possible Side Effects. I could have drove clear to Ohio because I was having so much fun listening to the book, which was read by Augusten. I HIGHLY reccommend the book or audio book to anyone looking for entertainment. It's the crazy, true story of Augusten's childhood-- about his parent's divorce and his spending lots of time with his mother's shrink and his family. The book was laugh-out-loud funny.

When I got home, I went to Augusten's website and found an announcement that he and his publisher had won a lawsuit against the family Burroughs wrote about- in the book he gave them a fake name, The Finches and also gave each family member a fake name. This kind of pissed me off that they sued-- I mean, in the grand scheme of things- who cares about the family. Who is gonna know? Except for the people who live in the same town, no one is ultimately going to care. How can anyone then- who had a remotely 'interesting' upbrining write a memoir without getting into trouble-- but that is a whole other blog topic!
Although Augusten did describe them as quite odd and perhaps slobs- the impression I got was that he was also fascinated by them, and developed great friendships with the daughters-- and while Augusten didn't come out and say it in the book, I got the impression that the family really did save his life. I did not get the impression that Augusten was mocking them in any way shape or form.

I did find an article on this suit-- and the only interview thus far with the real family at:

And then, for more info on Augusten-
The other audio book I got I am still listening to- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon. The book is from England and is read by a Brit- and is just incredible to listen to! This story is great and I can't wait to see how it ends. One thing we have been learning about in my fiction class is 'the unreliable narrator'- when a book is written in the first person- but there is something wrong with the narrator. This book is from the perspective of a 15-year-old with Aspeberger's Syndrome-- it is just so fascinating to hear a story from this boy. The story is a 'murder mystery' of Christopher trying to find out who murdered his neighbor's dog- but in during this investigation, he begins to discover things about his family. A good read so far! And I hear I have to get the physical book as it is illustrated with the pictures I am hearing the narrator describe.

1 comment:

B said...

Sounds like an awesome weekend. Sigh. Writer's retreats are things of which I can only dream. Lucky, lucky, lucky. Hope all is well.