Ron Carlson Writes A Story and The Governor’s Ball

My second semester at the University of Louisville is coming to end. In some ways, it was a better semester than my last. I got to write some more, and I actually got to participate in my first master class. Thank you, Michelle Latiolais! I also learned a lot about myself as a writer this semester. I learned that I really can and should take my time, to rewrite as many times as I need, and to not be afraid to change things. I owe a great deal of this semester to my encouraging professors and one of the books that one of them assigned, Ron Carlson Writes A Story. It was an interesting little epiphany of a book that goes through the writer’s process of writing “The Governor’s Ball”, a short story that appeared in the New Yorker around the same year I was born. Anyone interested in writing any kind of fiction will benefit from this book. The short story that the book is about is also a pretty good read. It’s about a man who loses the mattress in the back of his truck. I like the way that we learn about the narrator’s relationship issues through the context of the scenes that in no way really relate to them. It was a great model for my short story that I’ve been working on all semester.

Through my work and through my reading, I relearned that it’s the process of writing that I enjoy, whether my work is publishable or not. Seeing my work finished and feeling like it’s done even for a second makes me happy. At least for now, the feeling is worth the $20,000 in debt I’m in so far for quitting my job at Wal-Mart and going to college. That feeling will probably change when I have my degree and a giant student loan payment to make, but that zen feeling is the uplifting silver-lining that I needed to feel to make this past year worth the breakups and life altering decisions that I’ve made. Moving to Louisville was a risk. I knew coming in that the summer of 2015 would be difficult; my job on campus is only in the fall and spring. I had a second job, but I emo-quit after two weeks because, well, it really really sucked. I really want to stay in Louisville all summer. I was stressed out to the point that I was having to skip classes to job hunt for the last few months. After I quit my second job, I finally decided that it was probably a better idea all around for me to just go back to Danville, KY and visit family and friends for a month until I figure out where I’m going to be next in Louisville. It will be a nice little breather.

One of the things I’ll be doing while I recharge is taking the time to tinker with this blog. I’ll be thinking about the frequency of my posts. I’ll be exploring other platforms to help grow my blog. I’ll hopefully learn how to use Twitter to properly engage my audience. Of course, I’ll also be using this blog to practice more writing. Fiction is my focus, but I suppose this blog has been my venture into creative nonfiction for some time now, without me even realizing it. I’ve consciously avoided fancy layouts and custom designs for this blog because I’ve been trying to focus more on my content, a project that will continue throughout the summer I’m sure. However, I might see what all the fuss is about with this CSS styling thing and try to make myself a slightly more customized layout if the summer goes well.

I have two more weeks of regular classes. I’ve got a few reading assignments for my creative-writing class left. I’ll be reading The Pirate Story, also by Ron Carlson, for a final essay. I have a speech to give in one of my classes, and probably a test on a half a semester’s worth of literature in another. I’ve totally got this. I’ll post again when I post again.

You’ll see me around,

Eric Shay Howard

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Indianapolis. He's a teacher, a literary editor, and writer. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University. He also has MBA and BA degrees.


    1. We’ll be working every dry Saturday. You will probably not recognize the place, though. We have it just about cleaned down to the dirt all the way to the back property line, and a company is going to start grinding out all of the tree stumps soon. So we will really be able to keep it mowed nicely this summer. Also, the radar guys will hopefully be coming back to finish up the scanning in May or June. So I hope you get a chance to see that. It was very exciting to see the grave shafts show up on the radar screen! I also hope that you get enough time and space to do some writing this summer. Hope you get the leisure to concentrate on that. See you soon!

  1. Hope to see you around this summer, Eric! So glad you’ve had a successful year at U of L!

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