Tag Archives: The Art of FIction

No Trees Felled, But a Terrific Evening

If you read this blog last week, you know that my story “The Art of Fiction” was read last Friday at Stories on Stage in Sacramento.  What a wonderful evening–and I’m not saying that just because my story was featured.  Of course that was a treat.  But what really made the evening special? Interesting, friendly people gathered in a room on a warm valley night to be read aloud to.  Valerie Fioravanti welcoming us all as if to her own living room.  Terrific performances by Pam Metzger and Benjamin Ismail.  Meeting Julia Halprin Jackson, soon to graduate from the UC … Continue reading

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If I Gave a Reading in the Forest, and No Tree Fell, Would Anyone Buy a Copy of My Book?*

While in grad school, some seventeen years ago, I taught my first class and gave my first public reading.  Both were nerve-wracking—I practiced for days, reading aloud  from pages marked up with little arrows and accent marks.  You know, slow down, look up, even take a sip.  I’ve always been one for preparation. When the time came, though, once I’d quelled the butterflies and got through it live, I discovered my inner exhibitionist.  After years of being the shy girl, the quiet bookworm, guess what? I loved to talk to a room of people, loved to hear myself read my … Continue reading

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Statement of Planned Work (one page only, please)

Some years ago, I applied to Ragdale, an artists’ and writers’ residency outside Chicago.  I was accepted.  In many ways, the timing was perfect.  I had 300 pages of a novel to fix, I wasn’t sure yet how, but the generous folks at Ragdale were giving me four weeks of food and space to figure that out.  It was January, and I’d get to wear the cozy parka and cozy boots I never needed in San Francisco while on long walks in fluffy snow (no ice or blackened slush in my fantasies).  I had my own studio facing acres of … Continue reading

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Sounds of Silence

A little over a year ago, I picked up A Book of Silence.  The title intrigued me, as did the premise: writer Sara Maitland traveled into silence of the most extreme kind.  She leased a remote cottage on the isle of Skye and lived there alone.  In the tradition of the early desert fathers, she traveled into the Sinai desert to sit in solitude for days (and a few nights).  She forced herself alone into scary dark forests.  She found moments of fear and anxiety as well as great joy and elation.  She encountered a kind of porousness of self … Continue reading

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