Tag Archives: The View from Below

Heart Openers

My friend (and former student) Callie Feyen is teaching the writing portion of a writing-and-yoga class in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She shared with me the worksheets for the first class—Enter, Discover, Journey.  The yoga teacher, she added, will be teaching poses to “open the heart” to complement the writing portion. Sounds like the kind of thing we’d do here in California, and for a lot more than $100 for seven classes.  (Maybe the price is a typo…)  Seriously, though, I love heart openers—the yoga poses, I mean.  Here’s one of the simplest:  Take a block, place it length-wise on its side … Continue reading

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Get A Job

I’ve worked as a stained-glass artist, a translator, a marine biologist, and an archeologist. Or, rather, my characters have.  One of the most direct ways into inhabiting character and discovering details that lift a story beyond “mere” narrative has always been, for me, what that character does with her day.  How she makes a living, and what kind of a living it is. Growing up, I felt little parental pressure about what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Oh, my dad used to tease me about becoming a dentist, so I could support him and my mother in … Continue reading

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Following the Bees

Two weeks ago—and it was a fabulous vacation, btw—I posted about Penelope Lively’s book Making It Up, with some observations about living out alternative lives in fiction.  What would have happened if…? Writers are often asked where we get our ideas for fiction, and (like most questions we’re asked), there are as many right answers as there are writers.  Still, I’m always fascinated by the variety of responses—even within my own experience. As sheepish as I feel admitting it, the genesis of the first story I wrote as an adult, the story that got me in the chair every morning … Continue reading

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The Many Faces of Mollie

When I was in junior high, I wrote stories about a girl named Kim Swanson.  I named her Kim because I wanted a name like “Kim”—popular, cute, perky.  I wanted to fit in, to belong.  “Lindsey” stuck out—I know, it’s a common name now, even a trendy one for a certain age group, but trust me, back then, I was the only Lindsey.  Well, Lindsay Wagner came along a few years later, but that just made for a lot of lame bionic jokes. Kim Swanson attended a girls’ school in New England: Furst’s Girls School, run by a thin gray-haired … Continue reading

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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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