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Why Hugo? — Michael Shilling

Posted Thu, 12/19/2013 - 12:08am by  |  Category:

Last year, we asked those who are deeply involved here: Why Hugo? The fun continues this year with more anecdotes from instructors, students, members, and more. We hope they’ll show you why should support Hugo House this holiday season. Here’s what instructor Michael Shilling has to say:

As a writer, going out of your way to expose yourself to new perspectives is essential if you want to improve your work. Sitting around and talking about writing with a bunch of people who agree with you? That’s fun, but not likely to result in stories, poems, and / or essays that those who don’t know you actually want to read. The Richard Hugo House, where I’ve been honored and excited to teach for the past few years, has been immeasurably important in getting me out of my narrative comfort zone. In doing so, I’ve been able to aim for loftier narrative heights, eschewing navel gazing and solipsism in exchange for a deeper exploration of the themes and conflicts  essential to the broader human experience. It’s a remarkable community – one unique in Seattle – in which intelligent, dedicated, and curious writers can converge to be supportive, hone their craft, and introduce each other to new ways of seeing. Which is really what being an artist is all about. 

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Michael Shilling is the author of Rock Bottom, published by Back Bay Books. In 2011, the book was made into a musical by the Landless Theater Company in Washington, D.C, and it is scheduled to be staged again in 2014. He is working on a novel that takes place in Miami, a comedy about bad people called Birds of Prey, as well as a screenplay, and his stories have appeared in The Sun, Fugue, and Other Voices.