Writing: it is a work of love. It may or may not result in riches, but the process in itself should be satisfying. Literally there is blood (oh those paper cuts), sweat, and tears as the words find their way into the public ether. So it’s natural to feel the drive to “give up the day job” when going down this path. This is my gentle nudge that it’s better to ease oneself into such a position vs. backing out at a breakneck speed. There’s a life beyond writing, and both are dependent on the other to ensure success.
The Vegetarian, by Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith), tells of an unexpected vegetarian in South Korea and the destruction of her life and family as she turns into a tree. It's told from the perspectives of Yeong-hye's husband, brother-in-law, and sister.
It also employs some exceptional techniques for portraying strong emotion. In particular, we can learn from the brother-in-law's reaction to Yeong-hye's suicide attempt.
The sign of a strong writer is the ability to listen to critiques. In addition to developing thick skin during the publishing process, it’s equally important to be able to discuss your book; to take the necessary critiques and general responses from editors/agents.
As a person who respects the role of any writer, and happily wants to stay in the role of agent, I often get to witness the general anxiety of writers in conference settings, let alone the inbox queries. I recognize it’s hard to put oneself on the line without a sea of emotions attached to one’s book.
While we often talk about the need to accept rejections—to learn from them—it’s equally harder to take the specific reasons (for those rejections) and to look at your manuscript with new lenses. How does one tackle this without sacrificing the spirit of the book?
Well folks, it’s been fun but every internship must come to an end. I’ve eaten copious baked goods, looked behind the curtain of the Twin Cities lit scene, and met dozens of amazing and inspiring artists and arts supporters along the way.
I’d like to thank the Loft for granting me this opportunity, the artists below for sharing their time and thoughts with me, and YOU for reading! Before I go, here’s one last look at some of the talented and passionate folks who are keeping the Twin Cities lit.
In Nnedi Okorafor's novella, Binti, a teenage girl leaves her planet for the first time. It's science fiction and imagines new technology, culture, and ways of thinking. I'm interested in how Okorafor makes us comprehend what is necessarily "beyond" the mental grasp of a contemporary reader.
First, it's not a matter of dumbing down the ideas or making them seem simple. Because if that happened, we would necessarily lose the wonder of it—it would become easy. When the unfathomable is fathomed, it's sort of not unfathomable any more, right?
Block out some time and circle your calendars, summer classes are here! Summer at the Loft is full of vital conversations, creative outlets, and opportunities to connect. Whether this is your first class at the Loft, or you're a regular returning for more, it can be hard to choose from the dozens of options available each season. Don’t worry: I’ve culled the depths of our catalog to create this condensed list of offerings. There really is something for everyone!
You’ve queried your favorite editor, maybe that agent you met at a conference. They indicate an interest to see your book. Once you’ve finished your happy dance, you immediately send off the book (electronically). Maybe hours, days, or even months tick by, and when the agent/editor tries to open the file, they can’t. Fingers crossed, they’ll ask for a new version (I do), but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The life of a book, from the moment of creation to the point of publication, will require constant pivoting. This includes being knowledgeable about the file format(s) of your book.
Water~Stone Review is a literary journal produced by the The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University and publishes work in creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry from both established and emerging writers. The journal is a collaborative project between faculty editors, MFA student editorial board members, and Minneapolis College of Art & Design student designers and photography curators. Beginning in 1998, Water~Stone is currently in the process of curating its 20th volume.
I recently sat down with Managing Editor Meghan Maloney-Vinz to talk about literary journals and the roles they play not only in the literary landscape, but in our cultural landscape as well.
Last month I got to have a wonderful, meandering conversation with creative non-fiction writer Jordan Thomas about his reading and writing, and we also covered the topics of Jayden Smith, Obama’s fatherhood, the school to prison pipeline, masculinity, religion and churches, the trajectories of black and brown artists, and much more. Thomas, possessing of a lively mind, a sharp sense of humor, and bounteous gifts as a writer, is someone who we definitely want to watch. He, lucky for us, moved to Minneapolis a few years ago to attend the MFA program at the University of Minnesota and is in the same cohort as previous LitChat interviewees D. Allen and Roy Guzmán. Thomas is hard at work finishing his thesis this semester, which will be a collection of essays on, among other things, his relationship to blackness.
Ottessa Moshfegh writes from another world. She wields human cruelty and hypocrisy with a kind of unapologetic swagger. Her newly published collection Homesick For Another World should leave little doubt about her talent and capabilities. The stories in this book feature ugly human behavior written in a deft and singular voice. It’s a gloomy triumph of hard truths. One of the major motifs is the relatable feeling of otherness; characters who are unsure of where they belong and how to exist in a world that doesn’t feel like home.