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From the Archive, Issue 107
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I can't imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. New and Selected Stories. And what did you want? I feel as if I've come to a place I never thought I'd have to come to. And I don't know how I got here.

It's a strange place. It's a place where a little harmless dreaming and then some sleepy, early-morning talk has led me into considerations of death and annihilation. I keep fidgeting, crossing one leg and then the other. I feel like I could throw off sparks, or break a window--maybe rearrange all the furniture. But at intervals a sweetness appears and, given a chance prevails. But now I hate her guts. How do you explain that? What happened to that love?

What happened to it, is what I'd like to know. I wish someone could tell me. I don't know what's going to happen to me or to anyone else in the world. Everything is dirt now. Fought against it for a minute. Then looked out the window at the rain. Put myself entirely in the keep of this rainy morning. Would I live my life over again? Carver was an alcoholic, stopped drinking in with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous and remained sober until he died from lung cancer 11 years later.

He contributed to the revitalization of the American short story during the s. Carver's mother worked on and off as a waitress and a retail clerk. His brother, James Franklin Carver, was born in Carver was educated at local schools in Yakima, Washington. In his spare time, he read mostly novels by Mickey Spillane or publications such as Sports Afield and Outdoor Life , and hunted and fished with friends and family.

After graduating from Yakima High School in , Carver worked with his father at a sawmill in California. In June , at age 19, he married year-old Maryann Burk, who had just graduated from a private Episcopal school for girls.

Their daughter, Christine La Rae, was born in December Their second child, a boy named Vance Lindsay, was born a year later. He supported the family by working as a delivery man, janitor, library assistant, and sawmill laborer, while Maryann supported the family as administrative assistant and high school English teacher, salesperson, and waitress.

Carver moved to Paradise, California with his family to be close to his mother-in-law. In , Carver's first published story, "The Furious Seasons", appeared.

More florid than his later work, the story strongly bore the influence of William Faulkner. Carver continued his studies [ when? He chose not to take the foreign language courses required by the English program, and received his B.

During this period he was first published and served as editor for Toyon, the university's literary magazine, in which he published several of his own pieces under his own name as well as the pseudonym John Vale. Homesick for California and unable to fully acclimate to the program's upper middle class milieu, he only completed 12 credits out of the 30 required for a M. Although program director Paul Engle awarded him a fellowship for a second year of study after Maryann Carver personally interceded and compared her husband's plight to Tennessee Williams ' deleterious experience in the program three decades earlier, Carver decided to leave the University of Iowa at the end of the semester.

According to biographer Carol Sklenicka , Carver falsely claimed to have received an M. After completing graduate work at Stanford, she briefly enrolled in the University of California, Santa Barbara 's English doctoral program when Carver taught at the institution as a visiting lecturer in In the mids, Carver and his family resided in Sacramento, California , where he briefly worked at a bookstore before taking a position as a night custodian at Mercy Hospital.

He audited classes at what was then Sacramento State College , including workshops with poet Dennis Schmitz. Carver and Schmitz soon became friends, and Carver wrote and published his first book of poems, Near Klamath , under Schmitz's guidance.

He briefly enrolled in the library science graduate program at the University of Iowa that summer but returned to California following the death of his father. Shortly thereafter, the Carvers relocated to Palo Alto, California , so he could take his first white-collar job at Science Research Associates a subsidiary of IBM in nearby Menlo Park, California , where he worked intermittently as a textbook editor and public relations director through Following a sojourn to Israel , the Carvers relocated to San Jose, California ; as Maryann finished her undergraduate degree, he continued his graduate studies in library science at San Jose State through the end of before failing once again to take a degree.

After the publication of "Neighbors" in the June issue of Esquire at the instigation of Lish by now ensconced as the magazine's fiction editor, Carver began to teach at the University of California, Santa Cruz at the behest of provost James B. Hall, an Iowa alumnus and early mentor to Ken Kesey at the University of Oregon , commuting from his new home in Sunnyvale, California. The fellowship enabled the Carvers to buy a house in Cupertino, California.

During his years of working at miscellaneous jobs, rearing children, and trying to write, Carver started abusing alcohol. In the fall semester of , Carver was a visiting lecturer in the Iowa Writers' Workshop with John Cheever , but Carver stated that they did less teaching than drinking and almost no writing. With the assistance of Kinder and Kittredge, he attempted to simultaneously commute to Berkeley and maintain his lectureship at Santa Cruz; after missing all but a handful of classes due to the inherent logistical hurdles of this arrangement and various alcohol-related illnesses, Hall gently enjoined Carver to resign his position.

The next year, after leaving Iowa City, Carver went to a treatment center to attempt to overcome his alcoholism , but continued drinking for another three years. The collection itself was shortlisted for the National Book Award , though it sold fewer than 5, copies that year.

The following excerpt from Scott Driscoll's review [7] of Maryann Burk Carver's memoir [8] describes the decline of Maryann's and Raymond's marriage. Somebody had read it besides my mother, or so I hoped anyway. It was a photograph of a man, a successful author, obviously, testifying to something called the Palmer Institute of Authorship. That seemed like just the thing for me. There was a monthly payment plan involved. Twenty dollars down, ten or fifteen dollars a month for three years or thirty years, one of those things.

There were weekly assignments with personal responses to the assignments. I stayed with it for a few months. Then, maybe I got bored; I stopped doing the work. My folks stopped making the payments. Pretty soon a letter arrived from the Palmer Institute telling me that if I paid them up in full, I could still get the certificate of completion.

This seemed more than fair. Somehow I talked my folks into paying the rest of the money, and in due time I got the certificate and hung it up on my bedroom wall. But all through high school it was assumed that I'd graduate and go to work at the sawmill. For a long time I wanted to do the kind of work my dad did. He was going to ask his foreman at the mill to put me on after I graduated. So I worked at the mill for about six months. But I hated the work and knew from the first day I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life.

I worked long enough to save the money for a car, buy some clothes, and so I could move out and get married. Somehow, for whatever reasons, you went to college. Was it your wife who wanted you to go on to college? Did she encourage you in this respect? Did she want to go to college and that made you want to go? How old were you at this point? She must have been pretty young, too. She was sixteen and pregnant and had just graduated from an Episcopalian private school for girls in Walla Walla, Washington.

At school she'd learned the right way to hold a teacup; she'd had religious instruction and gym and such, but she also learned about physics and literature and foreign languages. I was terrifically impressed that she knew Latin. She tried off and on to go to college during those first years, but it was too hard to do that; it was impossible to do that and raise a family and be broke all the time, too.

Her family didn't have any money. She was going to that school on a scholarship. Her mother hated me and still does. My wife was supposed to graduate and go on to the University of Washington to study law on a fellowship. Instead, I made her pregnant, and we got married and began our life together. She was seventeen when the first child was born, eighteen when the second was born. What shall I say at this point?

We didn't have any youth. We found ourselves in roles we didn't know how to play. But we did the best we could. Better than that, I want to think.

She did finish college finally. She got her B. I worked nights and went to school days. We were always working. She was working and trying to raise the kids and manage a household.

She worked for the telephone company.

Reading, writing, living by Phil Greaney

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"On Writing" is Carver's vision for fiction; his blue-collar blueprint. It's a fine and persuasive piece, full of insight into the creative process and the obligations of the writer. There are moments of personal confession, coupled with elegantly quotable sentences – "Get in, get out.

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Oct 29,  · Read On Writing by Carver if you harbor ambitions, then print the good lines and stick it on your wall. I came by this piece via an article in Guardian by Stuart Evers. I am going to skip what Stuart said and point you to what interested me most in Carver’s essay. Ambition and a little luck are good things for a writer to have going for him.

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“On Writing” by Raymond Carver. from The Story and its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. 6th Edition. Ed. Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, Raymond Carver is the author of two collections of short stories, ''Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?'' and the forthcoming ''What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.'' He is a professor of English in the writing program of Syracuse University.

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quotes from Raymond Carver: 'Woke up this morning with a terrific urge to lie in bed all day and read.', 'I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone's heart. But extremely clever chi-chi writing, or just plain tomfoolery writing, puts me to sleep. Writers don't need tricks or gimmicks or even necessarily need to be the. Carver was born into a poverty-stricken family at the tail-end of the Depression. He married at 19, started a series of menial jobs and his own career of 'full-time drinking as a serious pursuit', a career that would eventually kill him/5.