Where can we read some of your recent work?
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading All Things, All At Once by Lee Abbot, which he very kindly autographed for me at Kenyon. It’s not remotely new, but it is meaningful to me. I’m a person who was really adept at pumping out what are known as “MFA stories,” plopping readers in the action from the first paragraph and painstakingly working in background information without ever really taking a pause to breathe, then neatly turning in the last page, then fin. Lee, on the other hand, was known to talk about the “sitting and thinking story” as if such a thing were acceptable.
The years I lived in Ohio and attended Kenyon were painful for me, and thinking about a man who was kind to me then promptly died is also painful. I was curious about Lee’s sitting and thinking story modes, but I let the book lie on on my shelf unread for a few years.
Now that I’m finally dipping in, of course, I wish I’d done so sooner. Lee was happy to linger in a description and describe a scene in ways I’ve been afraid of. It helps me to read his stories so I can unlearn that fear of sitting and thinking, of letting the line of action drop for a minute, of an ending that is insufficiently turned, ugly, like a ballerina who doesn’t quite know what to do with her feet. It’s worth getting back to, if you also happen to have a copy on your shelf.
What’s next for you?
These days I’ve revived and am relaunching The MFA Years, now The Workshop: a community for emerging writers, at readtheworkshop.com. The Workshop is preparing to hold its first MFA admissions Zoom panel, and I’ve been working on the fully funded MFAs list, which has changed a bit since 2018, when the site was last active.
Cady Vishniac copyedits finance news and blog posts about whether it’s healthy to drink your own pee (it’s not). She’s published in New England Review and Joyland, and been collected in New Stories from the Midwest, where she won the anthology prize. Her MFA is from Ohio State, and she lives in Detroit.