Category Archives: agents

All You Need Is Love

I’ve been thinking in terms of grand, declarative statements:  Writing fiction is an act of love.  Fiction depends upon empathy.  Writing fiction is a moral act.  Fiction is amoral.  Fiction is true.  Fiction depends on lies.  Beauty is truth, and truth, beauty. Etc. I’ve been thinking of short stories with clear, dramatized change: “Araby” by James Joyce; “How Far She Went” (Mary Hood); “Roman Fever” (Edith Wharton); “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner.  I’ve been remembering, and re-reading, stories with unsympathetic main characters and /or situations of rape, drug abuse, murder:  Denis Johnson’s “Work” and Grace Paley’s “The Little Girl”; Flannery … Continue reading

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Done Yet?

When people ask me what I’m working on these days, I tell them the truth: my novel.  And then I get cagey.  Questions inevitably follow, questions like, “How’s that going?” Or “the same one?”  Or “Must be about done by now, huh?” The fact is, I’ve thought it done a few times now.  First, about (gulp) ten years ago, when I wrote what seemed to me the most achingly beautiful ending I could imagine.  (When you start to think of your own sentences as achingly beautiful, watch out.)  My trusted readers didn’t get the imagery, and pointed out a few … Continue reading

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Some of My Best Friends Write Fiction

It’s true. It’s also true that some of the most difficult interactions I’ve had in recent years have been with fiction writers. Here’s an ugly little not-so-secret fact:  Fiction writers are competitive.  Fiction writers aren’t always straightforward, or sincere. We’re good at manipulation on the page, after all; what’s to keep it from spilling over into real life?  Someone once said to me, only half-kidding, that she prefers poets as friends because poets aren’t cut-throat. There’s no money in poetry, so they don’t have to be.  Anyone who has spent time in an MFA program or at a residency knows … Continue reading

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Back In the Saddle

My husband has a friend who falls in love every week.  Ed meets women at parties or around town, talks (or not) with them, and falls.  Sometimes hard, sometimes not so hard – but either way, regardless of what transpires, he’s a goner.  Until the woman lets him know she’s not interested, until a dud first date, until the relationship sours.  And then he’s out the next weekend, falling all over again. This resiliency in romanticism amazes my husband and me.  Ed gets back on the horse, but my husband and I, when disappointed in love, went off and nursed … Continue reading

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