Outstanding opening workshop, candor, Irish charisma, rules for writing, the Basics Who What When Where Why and How and what they Mean for the story the novel the Work. Perceptive reader commentary, individual insight proffered heard received. We sit around the large square table that is poorly lit. One whole wall of the room is glass and looks out onto Provincetown Bay. Colleagues sitting across the table are silhouetted against the window’s light pour, become shadows, outlines. No lamps to fill the room’s confines or suffuse the room from above. Though no matter finally. Everyone’s engaged, no blather, bluster, blah. There is the Master, Colum McCann, and there are the nine of us, and we are all assembled in the home of the megalomaniac himself, Norman Mailer, the Colossus, the novel’s Champion, our benefactor. We’re walked upstairs to the third floor by Guy Wolf and shown Mailer’s attic writing studio, a room in situ, an artifact placement, a preserved moment when Norman Mailer actually sat and wrote at this desk in this chair alone for the last time, that’s what we see. The last throes of the Master’s vibe in a room of his own. The papery shards of evidence, his handwriting. An animal skull of some kind. A toy soldier, Napoleon-like, standing defiantly, one leg on the ground and one propped on a miniature drum. A stone-carved rhinoceros figurine.
Later, after the afternoon session ends, cycle to Race Point and all around the dune roads and bicycle paths. The day started with rain but cleared as the day progressed. We’re surrounded by the sea. This is the very tip of the peninsula, the last little lanes and mews on this eccentric spit of landscape. The dune wash. The shifting sands and light spill and vision games.