Mason fever continues into the weekend, as the team advances into the Final Four. With parades planned and media events slated, everyone around here has caught a little bit of March madness at Mason. Including the writers:
Dallas Hudgens, writer and Mason alum, from an essay in Fanzine:
"As for those of us who either graduated from or still attend the school, it’s like somebody put a boot to the baseboard and released an army of cockroaches. We’re damn near delirious and don’t know what to do with ourselves. And nobody had a clue that there were this many of us hidden in the walls. "
Read the entire essay here.
Scott Berg, another alum who has been underground finishing Grand Avenues (Pantheon), his book on Pierre L'Enfant, took a break from writing to send us this wonderful note about Mason madness. Berg would like to point out that Mason is known for a few other things...
The other side of Mason, Scott Berg
This past Monday night I was discussing upcoming assignments in the undergraduate creative nonfiction writing course I teach here at George Mason University when one of my students raised her hand. "Will we have class next week if we're in the national championship game?" she asked.
I was completely unprepared for the question, not so much because I don't believe that my George Mason Patriots can take care of the big bad Florida Gators on Saturday -- and not because I'd force my students to come to class if such drama comes to pass -- but because of the larger weirdness in play, the elephantine improbability of our plucky little basketball team a) receiving an invitation to the NCAA tournament without winning its conference championship, AND b) defeating Michigan State despite our point guard serving a one-game suspension for punching an opponent in the groin, AND c) defeating defending champion North Carolina, AND d) defeating Wichita State, AND e) well, if you don't know e) then, well, bless you for living so far off of the mainstream media grid.
As the George Mason campus goes deliciously bananas over its newfound fame (Good Morning America broadcast live from our student union this morning -- take THAT, um, Harvard?) the observation I just can't stop making has to do with the awesome cultural power of the underdog narrative in America. George Mason's success in reaching the Final Four is not our story -- it is an old and revered story with very specific narrative requirements, and our only task this week has been to meet those requirements.
To wit: Twice this past week attractive young women with small microphones accompanied by somewhat less attractive men with large cameras tried to interview me. Twice I begged off, pointing at my watch and saying "Day care." (Aren't kids great?) I told myself that I avoided the interviews because I really did have to pick up the children and because as a fairly frequent contributor to the Washington Post I didn't want to mix the streams, but really it was because I knew I'd say something stupid, like "You know, we produce a lot of good writers, too." Which they of course wouldn't use, running off instead to find another sophomore willing to say "Now I feel like I go to a real school!"
But now here at The Happy Booker, I've decided to say this: You know, we produce a lot of good writers, too.
This list of books and magazine publications in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by George Mason alumni doesn't remotely pretend to be all-inclusive. And I'm really not making much of a point. Just putting these names where someone, even this week, might still care.
Steve Amick, The Lake, the River, and the Other Lake (Pantheon)
Jessica Anthony, An Excerpt from The Convalescent and "The Death of Mustango Salvaje" in McSweeney's
Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas (Delacorte)
Mark Craver, The Problem of Grace (Lost Roads) Seven Crowns for the White Lady of the Other World and Blood Poems, (Orchises) and They Come for What You Love (Orchises)
Barbara Esstman, The Other Anna (Harper Perennial) and Night Ride Home (Harcourt)
Graham Foust, As in Every Deafness (Flood Editions) and Leave The Room to Itself (Ahsahta Press)
Heather Fuller, perhaps this is a rescue fantasy and Dovecote(Edge Books)
Dallas Hudgens, Drive Like Hell (Scribner)
Wendi Kaufman, "Helen on Eighty-Sixth Street" in the the New Yorker
Caroline Kettlewell, Skin Game (St. Martin's Press) and Electric Dreams (Carroll & Graf)
Jeffrey McDaniel , Splinter Factory, Alibi School, and Forgiveness Parade (Manic D)
Nicole Louise Reid, In the Breeze of Passing Things (MacAdam/Cage)
Bret Schulte, U.S. News and World Report
Sally Shivnan, "The Confectioner" and "Something, Anything" in Glimmer Train
Peter Streckfus, The Cuckoo (Yale University, Yale Series of Younger Poets)
Lynna Williams, "Afghanistan" and "Sole Custody" in The Atlantic, Things Not Seen (Little Brown)
Mark Winegardner, The Veracruz Blues,(Viking) Crooked River Burning, (Harcourt) That's True of Everybody, (Harcourt) The Godfather Returns, (Random House) The Godfather's Revenge, (Putnam) and The Godfather: The Lost Years (Arrow Books)