Saturday, June 25, 2011

Writer-In-Residence Colorado State University, 1967

On the first day of 1967, Dad moved into an apartment in Fort Collins Colorado where he would be that quarter's writer-in-residence at Colorado State University.

He taught the Creative Writing Workshop and Contemporary Fiction Techniques. He planned to discuss "Casino Royale" by Ian Fleming. "Miss Lonelyhearts" by Nathanael West. "Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., "Seymour: An Introduction" by J.D. Salinger, "The Dwarf" by Par Lagerkvist and "Hopscotch" by Julio Corzazar in his fiction techniques class.

With Viet Nam raging half a world away, an article written by Mike Glover for the university newspaper mentions "The Face of War" ,a Swedish documentary for which Dad wrote the narration.

Of the film he said

It was a ban-the-bomb movie made by the Bergman studios. It showed the devastation of war, like scenes from Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bomb was dropped, nuclear tests in New Mexico, and shots taken from a World War I biplane over Verdun showing absolutely nothing but pock marks and ruined villages.

Dad talked about serving as an Army Intelligence Officer in Korea.

I don't know which would be more patriotic, to be against the war in Viet Nam or to go into the military and make the best of a very bad thing.

I can't remember ever enjoying pain or death. I didn't like escorting prisoners in Korea, threatening them with death. I used to shoot bird, but the last time I went hunting, something changed. I suddenly realized the birds, and life itself, were so beautiful and so free, that it was a shame to shoot them.

Dad said he admired the generation in college in at that time.

This generation realizes that war is an idiotic way of solving a political conflict. It is an old man's way of politics. The same generation in communist countries probably realizes the same thing.

Dad was optimistic about the future of the writing profession.

The one thing many people don't know about writing is that if you write something good,it will be published. Publishers are begging for good materials, especially novels.

I hope there are many people here interested in writing. There is nothing more exciting than knowing you've done something good, particularly in writing.

He added

I don't think I could stand being in business. There's no freedom.

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