• 2018 Dates: Session 1, June 24 - July 6; Session 2, July 8-27

  • Look here for the 2018 Student Application after January 1.

Introducing Sarah LaBrie, Fiction Faculty

Tell us the name of a book or text you’ve marked up and what a reader in 2089 would learn about you from reading your marginalia in that book/text. Kudos to this reader for browsing physical books in 2089!

I think a reader in 2089 might learn the most about me from my copies of the collected Paris Review Interviews, specifically Volume 2, which includes advice from writers I love like James Baldwin, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison and Stephen King. My hope would be that this future reader might find inspiration in some of the lines I’ve underlined like, “Try to be better than yourself.” – William Faulkner, “None of it comes easy.” – James Baldwin, and, another favorite, also Baldwin: “Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.”

I’m looking through my own marginalia now, and something else I think this reader might learn is that I tend to be pretty incredulous when it comes to Faulkner’s anecdotes (Do you think this is true? I’ve scribbled in multiple places throughout) but that I love them all the same (his interview is, by far, the one I’ve marked up the most, and it’s one of my favorites to teach). On the very first page, I also just found a note to myself that reads as follows: If you try to follow everyone’s advice you’ll go crazy. Look at interviews as a wonder cabinet. Pick what shines out at you—what applies to the stories you need to tell—and ignore the rest. So I suppose that’s one more thing a future reader might pick up on —that one of the most important things I’ve come to understand is that sometimes it makes sense to just step away for a while, to listen to yourself, or to the work you’re attempting to create, and to let it tell you where it wants to go.

This is all, of course, assuming that people still read books in 2089. But I have faith that we will. That’s only 72 years in the future, after all, and books have managed to hang on, somehow, for something like 3,000 years so far.

Sarah LaBrie is a librettist and writer. Her writing for the Industry’s opera HOPSCOTCH was featured in The New Yorker as well as The New York Times, LA Times and on NPR. DREAMS OF THE NEW WORLD, a choral piece commissioned by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and written with composer Ellen Reid will premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall next year. Her work has also been performed at Julliard. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies from Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and is the editor of The California Prose Directory 2016: New Writing From the Golden State (Outpost19). Her writing also appears in The Literary Review, Epoch, Lucky Peach, the LA Weekly, Lit Hub, the Millions and elsewhere.