A Pen Name Unmasked, A Contest, A Literary Bonanza

Listen, we've got a lot to do here, it's a hectic post, lots of links, so stay awake, put down your cell phone, and keep those new windows open and visible in new tabs.

i-f4aafe580a4674f1195fe1767b46b8e6-realchurm_medium.jpg World's Fair guest contributor Oronte Churm uses a pen name -- if it wasn't obvious. But he reveals his identity today in two spots. Check out the great interview with him at Litpark.com. It's good reading on its own. Go look real quick, I can wait.

Now you're back. So then check out the new volume of Dispatches from Adjunct Faculty at a Large State University over at McSweeneys. This is your must-read of the day. I say so with great sincerity. It is an evocative, thoughtful, charismatic essay.

By clicking all of the above, such questions as, "Where does that name, Oronte Churm, come from?", "Why use a pseudonym, what's the value?", "What is this academic world that relies upon Adjuncts?", and "Which Large State University is it anyway?", will all be answered. Such revelations these are.

When you're finished there go back over to "The Education of Oronte Churm" at Inside Higher Ed and follow along at his own blog at this entry called "Pen Names in the Digital Age."

But wait, there's more! And here is the second main reason you should be reading this post (John's McSwny column was the first)...

...Litpark.com is also having a contest and the contest is somewhat in keeping with all of this six-word story stuff buzzing around. It doesn't appear that the scienceblog crowd took too eagerly to the six-word story idea - though the ones who did were pretty sharp - but here you get the chance to write a 75 word story that reveals something, a story about, as they say, "little truths."


Write a creative nonfiction story or essay, 75 (seventy-five!) words or less, in which someone reveals something, is unmasked, or comes to a new understanding. (This is most of literature, by the way.) We call these "little truths."

I'll paste here the example they use, written by W. Somerset Maugham:

We were sitting in a wine shop in Capri when Norman came in and told us T. was about to shoot himself. We were startled. Norman said that when T. told him what he was going to do he could think of no reason to dissuade him. "Are you going to do anything about it?" I asked. "No." He ordered a bottle of wine and sat down to await the sound of the shot.

As Litpark says, "Mr. Maugham is currently dead and therefore ineligible to win this contest, so send your own little truth along."

The submissions are already piling up at the site so you an get your own taste of brevity. Go check out their links, contribute an entry, and win big! That's two exclamations in one post, for those keeping score! Oops, now three. Where are my manners?

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Pretty great, huh? Yeah, I suppose you're right. I was going to try and come up with something to top that, but pretty great just about nails it.