Tag Archives: writer’s block

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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Voices in Our Heads

This week’s post follows up on last week’s discussion of Jane Anne Staw’s talk on the five components of a writing practice, given at the Fiction Writing Intensive this past July at UC Berkeley Extension.  Last week, I wrote about her tips on creating a safe place – both external and internal – for writing.  Today, we’ll look at the next component:  No Uninvited Guests. Some years ago, in grad school, as a T.A. preparing to teach my first class, I went a little nuts.  I spent months reading every book I could find on craft, scouring anthologies for the … 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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