The Impossible Dream: A group of Orange Coast College writing students who plan to publish the work of an unpublished novelist received 40 manuscripts from throughout the state before the July 1 submission deadline.
Vernon Pitsker, a member of the steering committee in charge of selecting the manuscript, says the group has chosen six finalists and expects to select the winner by Aug. 13.
The student-run publishing house, now officially called Quixote Press of Costa Mesa, is a class project for those enrolled in writing instructor Ray Obstfeld's new fall OCC course called "How to Publish."
Obstfeld, the author of 28 published novels, is adviser to the fledgling concern, which plans to have the first manuscript in print by the end of class in December. At that point, Obstfeld says, the students "plan to get behind this book and push, push, push until we sell every damn copy." How well they do on this book will determine whether the class publishes another.
The manuscripts came from as far as Davis, Pitsker said, but most came from writers in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
Pitsker said the committee was pleased with the number and variety of submissions. "We were a little bit anxious about not getting enough to where we could make a good choice--and we thought if we got 20, we'd be really happy. The submissions were pretty much across the board: mysteries, romance, mainstream and one science fiction."
Pitsker says the quality of the writing is "good, although some of it was unstructured and some of it kind of stereotypical. The quality was good, but you looked at it and said, 'Gee, I've seen this before.' "
New Translation: Julian Palley a UC Irvine Spanish professor, has edited and translated a volume of poetry by the late Rosario Castellanos, one of Mexico's leading feminists.
"Rosario Castellanos, Meditation on the Threshold: A Bilingual Anthology of Poetry" has been published by Bilingual Press/Prensa Bilingue of Tempe, Ariz. Castellanos, who died in 1974, wrote novels, plays and essays, but she was best known for her powerful poetry. Palley's translation is the first major collection of her poetry to appear in English.
Palley, who has been at UCI since 1969, is also the author of "The Ambiguous Mirror: Dreams in Spanish Literature," a book that traces the representation and function of dreams in Spanish literature.
Stan and Ollie: For those who wouldn't mind the drive: Randy Skretvedt of Buena Park will sign copies of his "Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies" (Moonstone Press) from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at the B. Dalton bookshop in Hollywood, 6743 Hollywood Blvd. The event will include Laurel and Hardy videos, a Laurel and Hardy memorabilia display and Skretvedt himself as Stan and Paul Krank of Orange as Ollie.