Layers and Conflicts

February 17, 2010

A few days ago I decided to re-read one of my favorite short story collections, Grace Paley’s Enormous Changes at the Last Minute. I was sitting on the train, when I got distracted for a moment and started people watching. When I looked back at my book, I jumped a little. On the cover of this book is a girl reading a book on a train, and I was a girl reading a book on a train! I looked around wondering if anyone would notice all of the funny layers going on with me. Probably not, but I was excited about it for the rest of the ride.  Yep.

On to our assignment:

I poked around the internet, and found that Paley’s favorite assignment she used to give her writing students was to tell a story from the point of view of someone you’re in conflict with. It can be the story of your conflict or it can be some other story, but it has to be from their point of view. One of her students, Barbara Selfridge, writes that Paley “always wanted you to know that there’s a story over there on the other side.” For this excersize, pay close attention to the multiplicity of voices.

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