Category Archives: writing

Adventus

It’s the season of waiting at church, the Christian season of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas.  For those of us who put up our trees on the 23rd or 24th and leave them through Twelfth Night, waiting has about it a sweet, welcome reprieve from the hustle of the season.  In face of the lights and the piped-in carols (which I can get into as much as anyone, in the right mood), we tell ourselves that we’re marking the season right.  We’re waiting. But not for too long. This is active waiting, after all.  We don’t want … Continue reading

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How Revision Brings Us Closer

This first Friday in July, I’m thrilled to offer a guest post by my friend and colleague Monica Wesolowska. Her memoir, Holding Silvan, will blow you away.  And she’s got some nifty insights here, too.  Thank you, Monica! At a recent reading from my memoir Holding Silvan, a friendly young man in the audience asked how I’d managed not to be angry or bitter in the book about the people who’d failed me while Silvan was alive. I had to laugh. I could have said the memoir just came out like that because I’m naturally a lovely person, but catching … Continue reading

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Formula One?

Before beginning the post itself, I’m happy to report that my piece on agreeing to disagree on matters of faith is in the July/August issue of Spirituality & Health, hot off the presses!  As I write this, the piece isn’t yet online, but I hope it shows up there soon.  Otherwise, you can look for it the old-fashioned print way. Here’s the post: Saved cats. Two pillars. Four themes. Three juggling balls. Eight points. A snowflake. No, it’s not a found poem, though it could be.  What these six items have in common? They’re all formulas for story structure.  I … Continue reading

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Coming Out of Traction

First, a few announcements this first Friday in June: Summer writing classes at the Grotto are now open for enrollment.  I’m excited about teaching a weekend workshop in August, on using existing models to craft short fiction.  Check out all upcoming classes here. I’ve started planning on another new class, Developing the Memoir, at  UC Berkeley Extension this fall.  Watch for details. We’ve extended the deadline for the Summer Fiction Intensive at UC Berkeley Extension!  Get that writing sample out this weekend to make the 6/10 cut-off! (Yes, the online catalog says 6/3, but it’s really 6/10 .) What a … Continue reading

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Will Write for Food

A guy I knew in grad school used to wear a T-shirt with those four words on the front.  Every time he wore it, the rest of us gave knowing chuckles.  The statement aptly captured two assumptions of student life:  meager grocery budget; desperation for payment, any payment, for one’s words. I’ve been thinking a lot about that shirt.  The spirit behind it seems both sincere—a willingness to do what it takes—and ironic.  Food?  You kidding me? What about free?  You kidding me? The debate sprouts up on Facebook, professional writers’ list servs, and heated email chains: when is it … Continue reading

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