Category Archives: craft

Excitement, please

It’s that time of year for making resolutions or—as some prefer—setting intentions. Don’t worry.  I’m not leading into a list of what I hope to achieve in 2013, at least not in terms of pages written, pieces published, books read, or pounds lost.  I am, however, going to write about what I want more of in 2013: Enthusiasm. I have a complicated relationship with the emotion, dating to an early humiliation on the schoolyard involving bunny ears.  Every since Halloween 1967, I’ve had to be careful, lest I show too much enthusiasm and wind up scarred by ridicule.  I’ll spare … Continue reading

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The Next Big Thing: Her Current Project

Today I’m happy to host my friend and colleague Monica Wesolowska on this blog.  Her answers show her gift for startling imagery, emotional acuity, and just darned good writing. Her book, Holding Silvan (publication March 2013), is gorgeous. Also, today, I have some good news to share.  I have two short stories—“The Ruins” and “Moles”—that will be out in 2013 between the covers of Arroyo Literary Review and Pisgah Review. (No firm dates yet.)  After a dry spell of not writing (or publishing) much (or any) fiction, I’m thrilled to see these two stories find a home in print. And, … Continue reading

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Writing Under the Influence

I’ve blogged about Jane before, and I’m doing it again. Jane Eyre, that is.  I’ve been thinking about her because I’ve just finished The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livesey’s take on  Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel.  (Livesey herself calls it a “continued conversation.”) Beginning with the first sentence, Livesey sprinkles similarities to the original throughout her novel, weaving in her own autobiographical details.  In both, we have an orphaned girl, a cruel aunt, a book on birds, a mysterious landowner, a sickly boarding school friend who dies in Jane’s/Gemma’s arms, etc.  In Brontë, of course, what comes between Jane & … Continue reading

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Cleansing the Palate

Last night, at a reading in Sausalito at the wonderful Why There Are Words series curated by Peg Alford Pursell, I ran into a former student.  We chatted during the break, and she told me that since taking my class, she’d applied for and been accepted to three MFA programs in creative writing.  This made me happy.  I asked what she was working on, and she mentioned writing flash fiction. Flash fiction has always made me nervous.  Not because I don’t like it, but because it intimidates me.  Maybe it’s the word “flash,” which makes me think of Flash Gordon, … 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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