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

Introducing Maud Streep, Fiction Faculty

When do you feel compelled to make a note in the margins of a text?

I mark up a text when I’m tickled, moved, lost, irritated, jealous of or appalled by the prose, etc. But the true answer is that my marginalia depend on what I’m reading and for what purpose. If I’m reading for pleasure, I rarely mark a book. Marking something up anchors me in my mind instead of the world of the book. I’m reacting, evaluating, analyzing, making connections—all of this builds a wall between me and the other world. Plus, I’m a repeat reader, and over the years I’ve learned that I don’t love finding too much of me on the page: I get distracted by my younger self popping up all over the place. It’s like reading an old diary when I’m supposed to be immersed in Austen.

When I’m reading to learn something specific from an author or to teach a text, however, anyone looking over my shoulder would see a series of wavering lines running alongside paragraphs or sentences of interest, lots of ha’s and !!!!!’s, cramped notes to “see page 79” or “see Title of Author’s Other Book” and what have you. I often start notes in the margins and then move to a notebook. Though, to be honest, I’m more comfortable marking a Xeroxed copy of a text than the book itself, and I sometimes still erase pencil markings when I finish what I’m working on: old library-borrowing habits die hard.

Maud Streep is from Nyack, New York, and lives in Brooklyn. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana. Her writing has been supported by scholarships and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Lighthouse Works, and VCCA. She is a 2017 NYC Emerging Writers Fellow at the Center for Fiction.