Monthly Archives: August 2011

Only 27

I’m breaking my order here to post a piece not directly about writing, or teaching, or craft.  Next week, I’ll return with some of the helpful things I learned from the UC Berkeley Extension Summer Fiction Intensive, but this week, I’m taking a more personal tone. It’s the first thing most people have said. She was so young. Amy Winehouse was so young. I’ve had only a handful of conversations about Winehouse since her death last month– over dinner with movie group, at the hair salon – but they’ve followed a pattern. A brief bit about the cause of death … Continue reading

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Voices in Our Heads

This week’s post follows up on last week’s discussion of Jane Anne Staw’s talk on the five components of a writing practice, given at the Fiction Writing Intensive this past July at UC Berkeley Extension.  Last week, I wrote about her tips on creating a safe place – both external and internal – for writing.  Today, we’ll look at the next component:  No Uninvited Guests. Some years ago, in grad school, as a T.A. preparing to teach my first class, I went a little nuts.  I spent months reading every book I could find on craft, scouring anthologies for the … Continue reading

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A Safe Place

A few  weeks ago, at the Fiction Writing Intensive offered by UC Berkeley Extension, writer Jane Anne Staw spoke of the five components of a writing practice. The first thing you need, she said, is a place.  A real, physical location where you feel the most relaxed, the least anxious.  She asked the students where they wrote. A home office. A chair in the kitchen, as the morning light moves across the table. At night, after dinner, when the house is quiet. A parked car. “Good.”  Jane Anne nodded.  “Whatever works for you.  It’s important not to judge.” I thought … Continue reading

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