Click here to Download The Plot PDF Book by Jean Hanff Korelitz Language English having PDF Size 2.3 MB and No of Pages 296.
Jacob Finch Bonner, the once promising author of the “New & Noteworthy” (The New York Times Book Review) novel The Invention of Wonder, let himself into the office he’d been assigned on the second floor of Richard Peng Hall, set his beat-up leather satchel on the barren desk, and looked around in something akin to despair.
The Plot PDF Book by Jean Hanff Korelitz
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The office, his fourth home in Richard Peng Hall in as many years, was no great improvement on the earlier three, but at least it overlooked a vaguely collegiate walkway under trees from the window behind the desk, rather than the parking lot of years two and three or the dumpster of year one (when, ironically, he’d been much closer to the height of his literary fame.
Such as it was, and might conceivably have hoped for something nicer). The only thing in the room that signaled anything of an actual literary nature, that signaled anything of any warmth at all, was the beatup satchel Jake used to transport his laptop and, on this particular day, the writing samples of his soon-to-arrive students, and this Jake had been carrying around for years.
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He’d acquired it at a flea market shortly before his first novel’s publication with a certain writerly self-consciousness: acclaimed young novelist still carries the old leather bag he used throughout his years of struggle! Any residual hope of becoming that person now was long gone. And even if it wasn’t there was no way to justify the expense of a new bag. Not any longer.
Richard Peng Hall was a 1960s addition to the Ripley campus, an unlovely construction of white cinder block behind the gymnasium and beside some dormitories slapped together for “coeds” when Ripley College began admitting women in the year 1966 (which, to its credit, had been ahead of the curve).
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Richard Peng had been an engineering student from Hong Kong, and though he probably owed more of his eventual wealth to the school he’d attended after Ripley College (namely MIT), that institution had declined to construct a Richard Peng Hall, at least for the size of donation he’d had in mind.
The Ripley building’s original purpose had been to accommodate the engineering program, and it still bore the distinct tang of a science building with its windowed lobby nobody ever sat in, its long, barren corridors, and that soul-killing cinder block. But when Ripley got rid of engineering in 2005 (got rid of all its science programs, actually, and all of its social science programs) and dedicated itself.
In the words of its frantic board of supervisors, “to the study and practice of the arts and humanities in a world that increasingly undervalues and needs them,” Richard Peng Hall was reassigned to the lowresidency Master of Fine Arts Program in Fiction, Poetry, and Personal Non-Fiction (Memoir). The Plot PDF Book
And lo: there he was, swaggering into Peng-101 (the lobby-level conference room) with the others the following morning at ten, glancing idly at the end of the seminar table where Jake was sitting, showing not the slightest recognition of the person (Jacob Finch Bonner!) who was the obvious authority figure in the room, and taking a seat.
He reached for the stack of photocopies at the center of the table and Jake watched him impassively flip through the pages, give them a preemptive sneer, and set them down beside his own notebook and pen and water bottle. (The Ripley Symposia gave the bottles out at registration, the program’s first and final freebie.
Then he fell into loud conversation with his neighbor, a rotund gentleman from the Cape who’d at least introduced himself to Jake the night before. At five past the appointed time, the class commenced. It had been another moist morning and the students—nine of them in all—began to shed layers of outerwear as the workshop got underway. The Plot PDF Book
Jake did much of this on autopilot: introducing himself, sketching his own autobiography (he didn’t dwell on his publications; if they didn’t care, or if they declined to hold his accomplishments in high esteem, he preferred not to see it on their faces), and talking a bit about what could and could not be accomplished in a creative writing workshop.
He set some optimistic parameters for best practices (Positivity was the rule! Personal comments and political ideologies were to be avoided!) and then invited them each to say a bit about themselves: who they were, what they wrote, and how they hoped the Ripley Symposia might help them to grow as writers. (This had always been a reliable way to use up most of the inaugural class.
Jake listened to the guest (guest-writer!) as he clomped up the stairs, and then to the silence filling the wake of that, and again he wondered what he had done, what terrible thing, to merit the company of people like this, let alone their scorn. All he had ever wanted was to tell—in the best possible words, arranged in the best possible order—the stories inside him. The Plot PDF Book
He had been more than willing to do the apprenticeship and the work. He had been humble with his teachers and respectful of his peers. He had acceded to the editorial notes of his agent (when he’d had one) and bowed to the red pencil of his editor (when he’d had one) without complaint.
He had supported the other writers he’d known and admired (even the ones he hadn’t particularly admired) by attending their readings and actually purchasing their books (in hardcover! at independent bookstores!) and he had acquitted himself as the best teacher, mentor, cheerleader, and editor that he’d known how to be.
Despite the (to be frank) utter hopelessness of most of the writing he was given to work with. And where had he arrived, for all of that? He was a deck attendant on the Titanic, moving the chairs around with fifteen ungifted prose writers while somehow persuading them that additional work would help them improve. The Plot PDF Book Download
He was a majordomo at an old hotel in upstate New York, pretending that the “guest-writers” upstairs were no different than the Yaddo fellows an hour to the north. I like the idea of a successful writer greeting the guests. Gives them something real to aspire to. But no guest-writer had ever acknowledged Jake’s professional achievements.
Let alone drawn inspiration from his success in the field they supposedly hoped to enter. Not once in three years. He was as invisible to them as he had become to everyone else. Because he was a failed writer. Jake gasped when the words came to him. It was, unbelievably, the very first time this truth had ever broken through.
She seemed not to take the question all that seriously. “I suppose. Most teenagers get depressed, don’t they? I don’t think I was all that introspective as a kid. And frankly I also wasn’t very ambitious back then, so it’s not like I felt I was being kept from something I really wanted. The Plot PDF Book Download
And then one morning, the fall of my senior year, I picked up an application off a bench outside the guidance counselor’s office at my school, for the University of Washington. It had these pine trees on the cover and I just thought … you know, that looks so nice. It looked like home. So I filled it out right there in the office, on their computer.
Three weeks later I got my letter.” The waiter returned and took their plates. They both declined dessert, but asked for more wine. “You know,” Jake said, “if you think about it, you’re amazingly well-adjusted.” “Oh, right.” She rolled her eyes. “I hid away on an island for the better part of a decade. I got to my mid-thirties without ever having a serious boyfriend.
For the past three years I’ve devoted myself to making a complete imbecile sound semi-cogent and semiinformed on the air. Does that sound amazingly well-adjusted to you?” He smiled at her. “Given what you’ve gone through? I think you’re some kind of Wonder Woman.” “Wonder Woman was a fiction. I think I’d prefer to be an ordinary real person.” The Plot PDF Book Download
Since that day in Seattle and especially since Anna had crossed the country to join him in New York, Jake had been bracing himself for the day his girlfriend finally mentioned the Twitter posts, perhaps with an entirely understandable demand to know why he hadn’t already told her about them.
Anna was no Luddite, obviously—she worked in media!—but having established her Facebook and Instagram outposts as a way for her missing sister and aunt to reach her, those two accounts had pretty much ossified from lack of use. The Facebook profile listed about twenty friends, a link to Anna’s University of Washington class page, and a pinned endorsement for Rick Larson’s 2016 congressional run.
The Instagram account’s first and only post dated to 2015 and featured—ah, the cliché of it—a latte art pine tree. One of her jobs at the podcast studio was to manage its own Instagram account, posting photographs of the various hosts and guests using the facility, but she apparently had no wish to chase personal likes. The Plot PDF Book Free
Shares, retweets, or followers, and she certainly wasn’t monitoring the peaks and valleys of his online reputation. Anna, it was obvious, preferred the real world, and the real-life face-to-face interactions that took place in it: eating good food, drinking good wine, sweating on a yoga mat in a room crowded with physical bodies.
Her daughter, Maria, by then, was doing all of the normal things, like walking and talking, and one or two things Samantha considered not normal, like saying the names of letters everywhere she went and pretending not to hear Samantha when Samantha was speaking. She had been, from her first days of life, a malcontent.
A blusterer, a pusher-away of other people (mainly Samantha, but also her two grandparents and the pediatrician). In due course she began kindergarten as a surly child in a corner with books, declining to parallel play (let alone cooperative play), interrupting the teacher with commentary when it was story time, refusing to eat anything but jelly and cream cheese on the heel of the supermarket loaf. The Plot PDF Book Free
By then, all of Samantha’s former tenth-grade classmates had passed out of the crepe-paper-decorated gymnasium holding their rolled-up diplomas, and they’d scattered—a few to college, others to work, the rest to the wind. If she ran into one of them in the supermarket or at the Fourth of July parade along Route 20 she felt such a surge of fury that it rushed upward into her mouth and burned her tongue.
And she had to grit her teeth together when she made polite conversation. A year after those classmates moved on, her original classmates—the ones she’d leapfrogged past as a sixth grader—also graduated, and all that anger seemed to go with them. What was left after that was a kind of low-grade disappointment.
And as the years continued to pass she lost even the power to remember what it was she was disappointed about. Her own mother was home less and less; Dan Weybridge—in the goodness of his heart or perhaps some festering sense of paternal responsibility—had upped her hours at the Family-owned-forthree-generations! The Plot PDF Book Free
College Inn, and she’d also joined a group at her church that traveled to women’s health clinics to harass the patients and staff. Samantha spent most of her time in the sole company of her daughter, and the care of an infant, then a toddler, then a young child expanded to fill every corner and moment of her days.
She tended Maria like an automaton: feeding, bathing, dressing and undressing, losing ground with every passing day. “Look, no offense to you, because obviously I’m not arguing with your success, so if bonding with fellow writers helped you out, that’s great, and I’m all for it myself or I wouldn’t have wanted to go to Ripley and I wouldn’t have asked you to read my stuff.
But Evan was never into the community of writers aspect. He was a great guy to go to a concert with, or out for a meal. But the touchyfeely things about, you know, writing? That stuff in the catalog about our unique voices and our stories only we could tell? That was so not him.” “Okay.” Jake nodded. The Plot PDF Book Free
He was realizing, with a certain extreme discomfort, that he and Evan Parker had shared something else, above and beyond the plot of Crib. “And all the stuff about the craft of writing, and the process of writing, and all that? Never talked about it. I’m telling you, Evan didn’t share, not pages and not feelings. Like the song says: He was a rock. He was an island.” It was a massive relief to hear, but of course Jake couldn’t say that.