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Monday, March 14, 2011

Story Week

I'm in Chicago again.  Having a job that allows me to make my own hours and work remote has afforded me the luxury of not having to work from out of my house, and the ability to not miss exciting events.

For instance, this week I am at Columbia College's Story Week.  A week long conference for writers and publishers, students, faculty, and alumni to celebrate the art, craft, and business of writing.  For six days all over the urban campus they have both faculty and students and unaffiliated professionals do readings, speak on panels, meet and greet, and hob knob with each other and generally drum up interest in writing as a job and as a lifestyle.  Every year they feature prominent authors that do readings, and speak about their process.  Over the past few years that's included the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Lethem, Salman Rushdie, and this year Columbia's own Audrey Niffenegger (author of the Time Traveler's Wife).

I came into town yesterday hoping to attend the Alumni Story Workshop, an event that gives alumni the chance to sit in the half circle of the story workshop and basically take another class.  When I was at Columbia the Story Workshop was the bane of my existence.  Since graduating I've learned to love it, and will gladly eat my words for griping about it during the two years I was hear.

The train, of course, was ahead of schedule all the way until about thirty miles out of town.  Then, because of freight traffic, we were stalled for an hour.  I missed the Story Workshop, having to dash up to Logan Square to drop my bag off at my first couch of this couch surfing week, and then rush back to the loop.

That evening was the Second Story reading at Martyr's up in Irving Park.  Featuring Columbia stalwarts like Lott Hill, Patti McNair, Megan Stielstra, April Newman, and Eric May.  Preceding the event at Martyr's was the alumni reception, and for me it was the first time I've seen a lot of the guys I walked with in 2008.

Now I'm sitting in Starbucks next to the library having a quick breakfast of a muffin and a cup of coffee, before dashing over to Columbia's Film Row for the Adjunct Faculty Reading, featuring Mort Castle and Tina Jens among others.  I'll be tweeting about it with the hashtag #storyweek.

Pictures to come.

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