In early June, I hiked through the Tennessee woods at a national recreation area called The Land Between the Lakes. The woman at the visitor’s center handed me a trail map and, peering over the desk at my shorts, warned me about ticks. “I’m from South Dakota. I know a little something about ticks,” I […]
When a writer chooses to take her work seriously, she will no doubt engage with the question that writers have been debating for decades: to MFA or not to MFA. By the time I was finally ready to take writing seriously, I was a new mother, living in my first house. With a family, a […]
Half a dozen years ago, the high school where I teach was given an arts magnet. We had meetings. There were thick packets that outlined programs. I flipped through: Visual art. Drama. Music. Journalism. Graphic Arts. I flipped through again. Nope. No creative writing. And that’s normal. Creative writing has long been no more than […]
When I was in high school, I hated poetry. “How,” you might be asking yourself, “does someone who hates poetry come to be a poet?” A large part of it has to do with discovering performance-based poetry. As a 17-year-old, seeing people my age perform their own writing with verve, passion, wit – well, I was transfixed. […]
Until recently, I believed that narcissism was as essential a tool as language for poets and writers — that the grandiose level of confidence narcissism requires was the secret to writing beautifully, honestly, and without fear. Now, however, I’m changing the terms.
May your writing style be congruent with your self. The seeker of good prose—who is quiet, who watches and listens, who remembers, who remains present—is quite often superstitious, but their superstitions are their own.
The very best of these podcasts not only offer dramatic, intimate narratives, but also new ideas on how to approach the construction of those narratives. Prose writers should take note.
My old proficiencies, the things I felt had made me me, were stirring around in there somewhere, making me a little dissatisfied and urgent in the sort of neurotic way a zoo animal might be (I know there is something else I am supposed to be doing, but what is it?). I couldn’t figure out how to get to them.
I have friends who are true beasts of business, inciting much wonder from me for years. Some of these friends went to school with me, and some are former-teachers-turned-friends. I have learned from various publications about the necessity of making the time to submit work, apply to residencies and conferences, solicit readings, write reviews, and […]
I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For a long time, I avoided home. At least in my writing. I wrote about the segregated South. Raven-haunted New England woods. Afghanistan in the 1980s. Faraway worlds unseen by mortal eyes. For me, writing was about letting the imagination soar, which seemed impossible if my stories were about […]