Tag Archives: fiction writing

Crossing the Bridge

Bridge-crossing is a metaphor, of course, and a clichéd one at that.  It’s also an action grounded in regular habit for anyone who lives near water:  to get to work, to school, to home, we cross a bridge. Growing up, I crossed one bridge most often:  a world-famous landmark, its International Orange towers looming on movie posters, picture-book covers, and tourist postcards.  As a girl, I knew it as the slightly eerie, almost ghostly passage home from my grandfather’s house.  Miles of highway, city boulevard, and then, the fog-swirling bridge itself, huge lights casting the air outside the back window … Continue reading

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How Much Is Too Much, Part II

Last week, I blogged about the quandary of how to respond to student work. Here, a few writing teachers I admire share their approaches. Laurie Ann Doyle teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley Extension. Her story “Restraint” will be published in Midway Journal  this summer. Constance Hale, author of Sin and Syntax and the forthcoming Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch, has taught narrative nonfiction writing at UC Berkeley Extension, Boston University, and Harvard University. Wendy Tokunaga teaches fiction at University of San Francisco and Stanford Continuing Ed.  The author of three published novels, she has work in two new anthologies, Madonna … Continue reading

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Let It Shine

There will be no post next week, January 13.  I’ll be back January 20. Epiphany.  That’s what today is, on the church calendar:  the Feast of the Epiphany.  Twelfth night.  The magi—three wise men—showed up to pay homage to the babe in the manger and, the story goes, recognized him as the son of God.  That’s what, to practicing Christians, “epiphany” marks:  the manifestation of the divine. James Joyce used the word to refer to a literary technique, most famously in Dubliners (“a series of fifteen epiphanies,” he called the stories). Joyce’s epiphanies mark those moments where a story transcends … Continue reading

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Don’t ask, don’t tell

Note: there will be no post next Friday, 12/30.  Check back 1/6/12. Happy New Year! The question comes up at parties, over dinner with new friends, next to a chatty traveler on an airplane. The inevitable ice-breaker— What do you do?—has made me want to say “Taxidermy” or “marine research,” to make up an alternate identity and avoid the question that always follows when I say that I write.  Write about what? I once made the mistake, at a luncheon of academic types, of saying “childhood” and “loss.”  I cringe now, remembering.  Not that fiction can’t be about big themes, … 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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