Classy Talk with Michael Shilling

Posted Mon, 6/17/2013 - 6:08pm by  |  Category:

What is the title of your class?
Being Funny

People should take this class because?
Any writer can make people laugh (on the outside), as long as you really want to make them cry (on the inside). If you can accomplish this dual end, you’ll be a narrative sorcerer. So, this class should really be called “Being a Narrative Sorcerer.” 

Can your students connect with you on social media? If so, how?Facebook:

Twitter: @Shilling664

Are any of your works online and available to the public?
Not any of my fiction, but here’s a link to the work I’ve written for MSN Music.

And for The Stranger. 

What are you reading right now?
This Love is Not For Cowards by Robert Andrew Powell

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter Thompson

What excites you about the material you’re teaching?
Comedy is a secret weapon to break hearts on the page, go tragic without going leaden, and act as the Trojan horse that converts the skeptical reader to unfamiliar situations and characters. 

What do you like best about teaching at Hugo House?
The students are committed and smart, talented and generous. They teach me as much as I teach them. 

What books made you want to write?
The White Album by Joan Didion

Libra by Don Delillo

Money by Martin Amis

If there was one piece of advice you could give an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Everything that you write and don’t like is a big step to writing something you love. So, get to work. 

Is there a book, poem, essay, etc. by another author that you wish you had written yourself? Why?
As far as comedy, I wish I’d written “Sea Oak” by George Saunders, because it makes me laugh so hard I start to cry, thereby performing the aforementioned narrative sorcery of comedy into tragedy. 

If you could have coffee with any author living or dead, who would it be?
Oscar Wilde

What’s your favorite book? If you could pair it with a glass of wine or a pint of beer, what would you choose?
My favorite book to drink to is Stanley Booth’s The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones. I’ll take Lillet on the rocks, because no one in the Stones would. I like to aggravate the text a little