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February 21, 1997 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-21

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JP- The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 21, 1997

A2 writers to read at Shaman Drum

By Sarah Beldo
For the Daily
The Ann Arbor literary community is
often praised for its ability to attract top
writers to read at local bookstores and
at University events. Less often noted is
the number of talented writers who
emerge from the community itself, in
particular from the University's creative
writing MFA program. The MFA pro-
gram boasts writers with voices that are
fresh and challenging, writers not often

given a wide opportunity to be heard.
On Friday night, two of these emerg-
ing talents, Margaret Price and
Catherine Li-Ming Seto, will read their
Hopwood Award-winning stories at
Shaman Drum. Their pieces are fea-
tured in Scribner's new anthology "Best
of the Fiction Workshops 1997," which
highlights the best short stories gleaned
from close to 100 writing programs in
the U.S. and Canada.
Price's and Seto's stories were chosen

from a batch of nominated stories by
acclaimed writer Alice Hoffman, who
edits this year's edition.
Margaret Price's story "Jericho,"
which Hoffman describes as "a heart-
breaking story of
leave-taking p g
(where) it is the P
daughter who is the Mar
caretaker of the Ca
father," headlines
the anthology. An
Ann Arbor native,
Price has been writing her entire life but
hadn't considered writing as a vocation
until her undergraduate years at Amherst.
"I used to tell everyone I wanted to
be a brain surgeon because it sounded
good," Price told The Michigan Daily. It

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wasn't until her advisor encouraged her
to do a creative writing thesis that Price
decided to seriously pursue her talent.
At the University, Price was pleasant-
ly surprised to enter the MFA program
and find "40 people
E V I EWwho didn't think I
was weird for doing
aret Price and what I was."
lerine Li-Ming Price, who grad-
Tonight at 8 uated from the pro-
Shaman Drum, Free gram last year and
now lectures at the
University, looks forward to the experi-
ence of reading at Shaman Drum
because it is her first bookstore reading.
"Jericho" will also be featured in the
March/April edition of Ms. magazine.
Like Price, Catherine Li-Ming Seto
didn't always know that she was headed
toward an MFA in writing. Seto, origi-
nally from Troy, was an art major at the
University as an undergraduate. "I was
always very bad at English," she said.
"But after I started writing on my paint-
ings, my art teacher said I should take
some English classes."
Now a second-year MFA student,
Seto has had fellowships, and she has
been published in literary journals, but
this is her first major publication and
major reading.
Her story, "First Grade," was touted by
Hoffman as "an elegantly wrought
tragedy (that) shows us how a group of
children try to make sense out of the hand
of fate and the extreme brevity of life."
Her work tends to focus on the experi-
ences of Asian Americans in the U.S.
Both authors spoke highly of the
University's MFA program. Price said
there's a lot of debate about what pur-
pose a writing program should serve.
She said the best advice she received was
to treat the program as "two years just to
write. It provides the two things you
need more of - time and space."
Shaman Drum will provide both the
time and the space to hear these two
talented writers read their work.

XFILES
Continued from Page 5
night, for example, it was a raccoon that
had mutated into, um, a water buffalo,
and I had to exterminate it with a pair of
pliers." Oh. "Then again, stranger
things happened on the actual show."
The Villain
In the beginning, William B. Davis
didn't even have to speak. ic would
squint, scowl and vanish into thin air,
leaving in his wake a Morley cigarette
twisted into an ashtray.
The Cancer Man's progress will
remain one of the most fascinating
cases of gradual character develop-
ment. A figure once identified primari-
ly by a whiff of smoke (ironically, Davis
quit smoking years ago), who uttered
his first line on the fifth or sixth appear-
ance, has grown into the show's most
enigmatic and intriguing character --
with an extensive back story and a vari-
ety of unique traits.
In a telephone interview with The
Michigan Daily, Davis said the role of
Cancer Man presented him with an
unprecedented mix of pure evil and
human tragedy, enviable artistic show-
cases both. "I act villainous toward peo-
ple I feel villainous against, for

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Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny star in "The X-Files."

instance, A.D. Skinner. My relationship
with Mulder is much more complicat.
ed. First of all, there was definitely
thing with Mrs. Mulder that may affee
how I feel toward Fox."
Does this mean a "Lute-I'm-your,
father"-type revelation could be loam-
ing on the horizon? "I really can't say. I
just don't know, it hasn't been written
yet. But if you think about it, the timing
(of the supposed affair) is right."
Even the principal actors of "The Xs.
Files" have little or no idea of storylintes
forming in Carter's head until it's tiftte@
shoot - which is literally days before
the episode is broadcast on FOX. "The,
show is famous for running very close to
the airing date," Davis said. "It creates-
additional stimulation, though. At one
point, we were joking about just doing a
live feed on Friday nights."
Among the surprises Davis- had
recently encountered was an episodd
devoted entirely to his character. A bri
liantly oddball script imagined Cance
Man coming of age, getting recruited I
a sinister unnamed agency and, irn a
twisted "Forrest Gump" homage, conse-
quently taking part in every major con-
spiracy from the '60s to the present day.
Asked if he was amused to find out
that he now had to play the man- who
shot both Kennedy and Martin Luther
King Jr., Davis replied, "There are pur-
poseful inconsistencies in that episode.'
It's really a Lone Gunmen version
Cancer Man's life, told through 4 very
subjective narration. But yes, it was fun.'
What is in the character's immediate
future, then? "There will definitely be'
more of my back story with Mulder's'
mother. And right now it looks like I've
gotten quite a hook into Skinner." In
other words, human drama might pro-
pel the show from now on, but there's
still room for some high-quality vil-'
lainy.
It's Sunday, and "The X-Files" is *
Langly is in a sewer with his laptop,
helping Special Agent Mulder break
into a top-secret medical facility 'iii
search of a cure for Scully. Cancer Man
chain-smokes and makes his first bid
for Assistant Director Skinner's immor-
tal soul.
Twenty-two million people are
watching.

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"A terrific film. I recommend it highly."
-Roger Ebert, SISKEL & EBERT
"****. Brilliant. Don't miss it!
Jon Voight and Ving Rhames are superb."
-Paul Wunder, WBAI RADIO
"An unforgettable film. Superior performances."
-Pat Collins, WWOR-TV

= 11m I -

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