Monthly Archives: June 2011

The little things

When I’m in a writing slump, the littlest thing can make me doubt myself.  After a week of moving words around on the screen to little avail, or – more recently – a week of not opening a single writing file, I start to wonder.  Maybe it’s not too late to go to law school?  I get an email announcing a prize given to someone I met once at a conference, and I think uncharitable thoughts about that someone.  I read about someone doing amazing work teaching writing to prisoners or illiterate adults or underprivileged kids and I think I’m … Continue reading

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Listening Anew

In found pockets of spare time – the five minutes before needing to leave to make an appointment; the fifteen minutes between emails – I’ve been updating my list of books on this blog.  I’m not sure too many readers want to know what I was reading back in 1998, but for me, going back and typing in my notes from that year brings pleasure.  Sort of looking through a photo album from a vacation taken a decade ago:  Oh, yeah, there’s that woman I sat with on the bus!  Or, Huh, I’d forgotten about that blouse.  Except that with … Continue reading

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Sit for a While

I came home from my writing group feeling jazzed.  After struggling with a story revision, I’d decided to show the group twenty-five pages of new nonfiction. They loved it and told me, “This is what you should be writing.” Questions, too, but in general a big thumbs-up. I wanted to read everyone’s comments, but it was late, and I decided I’d look at the comments in the morning. I woke early, started oatmeal, prayed, drank a cup of coffee. I pulled out the marked-up pages, placed them on the table.  Then, back in the kitchen, while slicing a banana onto … Continue reading

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Lucky Thirteen?

I just came home from an eight-grade graduation, that of the oldest daughter of one of my best friends.  Caroline is a poised thirteen-year-old, funny and wry and down-to-earth, studious and good-humored.  She presents light years away from how I remember feeling at her age – awkward, self-conscious, exposed.  Every moment of adolescence, as I recall it, seemed a moment of skin-crawling exposure to harsh and glaring light.  A photo, taken of my mother and me on the day of my middle-school graduation, captures this perfectly.  I’m wearing a Gunne Sax peasant dress with bell sleeves, my hair straight and … Continue reading

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