Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2010


I am inspired, to say the least.

I have 76 students, 51 in English composition and 25 in creative writing.  I'm exhausted, and I'm only half-way through the first week.  That said, I'm thrilled to share my love of writing with some people who, admittedly, get queasy just hearing the word essay.

My creative writing students are an exciting group, a variety of ages and backgrounds, and all with such determination, such passion for the written word.

Although my composition students are an equally exciting group (again, 51 students total), they aren't too crazy about the idea of writing.

"Who here enjoys writing?" I asked. Two hands went up.  Two. "Who here enjoys reading?"  Four hands went up, total.

"Just wait," I told them, "you will all love writing soon. [dramatic pause, looks of disbelief, goofy smile on professor's face] Or at least not hate it..." And so it begins.  I better live up to my words now.


Interview with Author Vic Fortezza

How long have you been writing?

Since 1975. I wrote three novels before I attempted a short story, Rude Awakening, which was based on the strained relationship of my immigrant parents. It was published in 1988 by Unknowns Magazine out of Atlanta. Thereafter, getting stories into print was sporadic until 1999, when I finally heeded the advice of friends and went online. I was amazed how easy submission was. I sometimes heard from an editor the same day, as opposed to a year or more using snail mail. It also saved me the expense and annoyance of dealing with the post office. It may have been the best thing I’ve ever done - ever.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’ve completed a short story of 1000+ words, Oblivious. I will read through the file a couple of more times to make sure it’s as good as can be. It’s about the dangers we all face that we are completely unaware of, most of which never occur. It was probably influenced by the TV show Criminal Minds, which is extremel…

Quiet Time

I just got home from a glorious but short trip to Ohio.  I went to Toledo, which--at least in my Grandmother's neighborhood--seems a city worthy of it's own telethon.  Toledo is the model city for the setting in Absurd Hunger, and go figure!! I was under-representing the decrepitude of the neighborhood I recalled.  My grandmother lives next to a house that caught fire in May.  Her garden is littered with little pieces of charcoal that blow from the back of the gutted house and into her tomato beds. "People are getting shot or shooting up around here," she said.  It keeps getting worse, each year I go back.      

Now, I'm in Texas again, where my problems seem small in the middle of all this space.  I miss my family and friends.  I won't let so much time go by without visiting again--no matter the obstacles.  Despite the setting, we had a wonderful time together.  Grandma insisted I have two cakes for my birthday, one that was pure butter and sugar from an in…

Somewhere Between Here and There

Today is my last day at the Writing Center.  Because I want to concentrate on teaching and commit my energy to my students, I am moving on.  The shift is bittersweet, but I'm excited.  In one week, I will begin teaching Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing and English Composition at San Antonio College.  A full load!

Going from one course a term to three is a big shift, and I'm nervous.  This change is both exhilarating and frightening, and in my old age, I'm noticing that change has become more jarring, (it feels less necessary, less compulsive).  It's so funny to think back to the days when I got nervous when I sat still for too long.

Personality & Punctuation

A repost [lost this entry on the blog, for some reason] 

I tend to overuse the ellipsis when I chat on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.  It's almost as though I am saying, "I would go on, but I wouldn't want to bother you."  I suppose this is fine when it comes to Twitter, given the strict word count limitation, but what about in general?  What impression is my use of the ... really making?  Is it a passive punctuation mark?

Only a crazy person (writer) would think of such things, eh?  Well, thinking I am, and I've set out to assign what I've assigned a characteristic and brief sketch to chosen punctuation marks.  (See below.) ?
ASTUTE One of my favorites.  This is the philosopher's dream, the essayist's humility, the short story writer's nemesis, the poet's luxury.  The question mark is not adaptable; it must be used with care.
STRONG MINDED Anyone who says they don't like seeing exclamation points, or that they are a …

laugh it off

There is nothing as torturous to a writer as block. The very word gives me chills. Yet, it happens to all of us after a while. Sitting, staring at a blank page and trying to write, crossing out words or deleting entries, writing a new sentence, crossing it out, looking to your dog for the answer but he just sighs, reading the news for inspiration, but all of it just seems so bleak. The page stays blank.

One way I’ve learned to overcome the block is simply to not write. Ha, not the answer you were looking for I bet. But it’s what works for me. I consider my blocks to be observation periods, periods of reflection and meditation. I often find myself meditating during this time (I meditate myself right to sleep often, but right or wrong, I call it meditation). Recently, I read an interesting passage in a novel by TC Boyle that brought up the physiological difference between a genuine and disingenuous smile. I researched this bit, and found that the muscles that react when a person is genu…