Tag Archives: fiction

In Another Life

My next post will appear Friday, September 7.  If you’re in the neighborhood, mark your calendar for Sept. 13, 7 p.m.:  Why There Are Words, 333 Caledonia, Sausalito.  I’d love to see some of you there! A few months ago, I stumbled upon Penelope Lively’s novel The Photograph.  I loved its sharp psychological portraits, its elegant and economic sentences, its going on for pages and pages in the minds of its characters (something I’m always trying to do without making my readers scream, “Action, please!”). When I returned to the library to pick up another Lively novel, I chose—from the … Continue reading

Posted in craft, reading, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in agents, craft, faith, teaching, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

Posted in craft, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Read Anything Good Lately?

I own many books. I have piles of magazines going back I don’t want to say how many months. Reading material covers every surface in every room I live in.  I belong to the Mechanics’ Institute, whose wonderful library has a terrific Fiction selection, and every time I visit the second floor, I pick up a hardcover or two. So why, when asked who my favorite authors are or what I’ve enjoyed reading lately, do I draw a blank? Oh, I can come up the usual suspects.  I wrote my senior thesis on Nathaniel Hawthorne and – yes, it’s true … Continue reading

Posted in craft, reading, writing, writing groups | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s been a good couple weeks on the fiction front. First, though, a confession:  I haven’t written in months – written written, that is.  My work has taken a backseat to wedding planning, helping organize two major moves (fiancé in; nephew out), teaching.  Posting to this blog, as well as to “Good Letters,” helps me from feeling like a writer fake. But still.  Turning out 700 relatively coherent words in an hour or two isn’t the same as immersing myself in a world of my own creation.  In Rincon. That’s the name of the fictionalized town in my novel.  It’s … Continue reading

Posted in community, craft, reading, teaching, writing, writing groups | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment