Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Up, Up and Away

This isn't a blog about the 5th Dimension's 1967 hit.

It's about the concept of "organic unity" that Antonya Nelson introduced during a 2005 workshop at the Taos Summer Writers Workshop. This "marriage of form and content" was further explained in her workshop description as the "ways in which form (shape, voice, style) participates in content (theme, psychology, meaning) in the short story. The best stories are ones that the reader can imagine no better way of telling; they are hermeneutically radiant, and as a result continue to offer up new riches upon every re-reading." It was a great workshop.

Since then, I have returned to that concept over and over. I've looked for it in short stories and strive for it always in my own writing. Those are the stories that catch my eye when I'm reading submissions to the Indiana Review.

I found it again this summer when I saw "Up." It was, for me, an almost flawless tale whose every moment is sharply rendered, whose every thread is tied up, whose characters are resonant. Wow. That's organic unity, I thought. I still do.

Thanks, Antonya. Thanks "Up."

Take care,


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