"I read my peers’ stories in a haze of defensiveness and jealousy and anxiety; I read suspiciously instead of sincerely; I read with a closed mind instead of an open one. This was true not just of workshop stories but of many of the books put in front of me by professors as models of the form. In class, we tore the stories in Best American Short Stories to tatters. Best? I would think, sneering. Really? Many of us had pet writers, writers who could do in our eyes no wrong, writers who were antidotes to everything we thought was wrong with contemporary American fiction. But even these favorite writers were chosen to highlight our aesthetic philosophy, to exclude as much as to include. As we workshopped, we took pains to make sure that our stories weren’t too “workshoppy.” I must tell you, it’s strange business to take a workshop and not be workshoppy, to believe in the process but not in its product."
--Holly Goddard Jones
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