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Jane Smiley on the Iowa writers' workshop: "In that period, the teachers tended to be men of a certain age, with the idea that competition was somehow the key-the Norman Mailer period. The story was that if you disagreed with Norman, or gave him a bad review, he'd punch you in the nose. You were supposed to get in fights in restaurants."
T.C. Boyle on his short story "Drowning": "I got $25 for it, which was wonderful . . . You know, getting $25 for the product of your own brain? You could buy a lot of beer in Iowa City back then for that."
Editor's Note iv
Introduction: Aiding and Abetting 1
Part 1 To Begin, To Begin 7
Chapter 1 The Creative Enterprise 8
Chapter 2 What Possessed Us? 16
Chapter 3 We Were So Damn Polite 58
Part 2 Community, Craft, and "Learning" Literature 89
Chapter 4 Say Yes! To Everything 90
Chapter 5 Light the Torches! Get the Monster! 147
Chapter 6 The Craft Thing 203
Part 3 Thoughts on Success and Failure 247
Chapter 7 Heartbreak and Mono 248
About the Contributors 307