Tag Archives: Samuel Beckett

Caveat Lector

Yesterday the carpet cleaners came.  In our household, this means picking up the piles of books, laundry too dirty to put back in the drawer but not dirty enough for the laundry basket, and various not-yet-read magazines in order to clear space from said carpet.  In so doing, I faced the fact of all those issues of AWP Writer’s Chronicle and Poets & Writers. I started reading Poets and Writers back in its black-and-white newsprint cover days. When I left New York to start a graduate program in creative writing in the wilderness of California’s Sacramento Valley, my publishing colleagues … Continue reading

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Try, Try Again

Whatever works for you, I tell my students.  There’s no one way to write, no hard-and-fast rule that guarantees success, as much as we want one.  And yet, certain koan-like statements have made it onto my bulletin board or refrigerator.  My current favorite, from Samuel Beckett quoted by Colum McCann a year or so ago in the New York Times:  “Try. Fail.  Try again.  Fail better.” In my writing classes at UC Berkeley Extension, I emphasize process, the messy trajectory of moving a piece from first draft to polished prose.  So, last July, when Jane Anne Staw mentioned “process” as … Continue reading

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