Well, it’s summertime again, which means yet another round of workouts designed to get you in shape for both the beach and the bookshelf! By following this regimen 3-5 times a week, you’re guaranteed to lose weight, feel great, and make your friend Brittany wish she read books at night instead of repinning lo-carb recipes onto her lo-carb Pinterest board. Satisfaction guaranteed! Unless you’re always dissatisfied, then only the Lord can save you.
"Writing is a lonely business" is something most writers know. Long hours at the keyboard, creating stories and characters that may never see the light of day by being published. And even if the stories are published, it can be years between the first word, the first sentence, and publication day.
For most writers, producing a book is a solitary process. For long periods of time, an author is not only the writer, but also the reader, reviewer, and reviser—time and time again. Writer’s block, time management, exhilaration, and depression are often all handled alone.
But there is a different way. Collaboration! Write with someone else. Share the highs and lows.
Today's roundup marvels at a book deal, finds writing lessons from a composer, explores the most popular books by state, and hears from Dani Shapiro.
I want to examine the way memories are elicited in Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life. The narrator, Doc Hata, does not think freely over the events of his life. Instead, his reflections are always provoked. It seems his memories can only happen if inspired by an outside source.
There are three time-lines running through the story. The first is the present day, when Doc Hata is retired and lonely. Events of this timeline include almost burning his house down and building a relationship with his grandson. The second timeline includes the narrator’s troubles with the young version of his daughter. The third strain relates his experiences in the war.
A writer’s real muscle is tested and proved in revision.
Whether your first draft is sucky or lucky, whether your poem/story/essay/novel ends up feted by New York, published in some indie zine no one has yet heard of, or entirely ignored, what matters to us as writers is the process…and that means primarily the muck and sweat of revision.
We all have one. A little voice that sits on our shoulder whispering Whatever you do, DON’T MESS UP! My own “shoulder monster” is sometimes so loud that I forget her voice is not my own. She says:
Don’t be corny
Don’t be sentimental
Every sentence should be perfect as you put it down
DON’T MESS UP!
It’s rare to meet someone who ends up in the Minnesota because they’ve always romanticized the Midwest, but that is exactly how Jen March came to our fair city. SoCal by birth but clearly Midwestern at heart, she’d been writing poems about snow long before she experienced her first parking restriction or had to shovel her walkway (and neither of those things sent her running for the hills!). The catalyst that brought her to Minneapolis came in the form of a friend with a predilection for storytelling, whose words about the city were grand and magical, and Jen became charmed by these tales. Storytelling is truly what brought Jen here, and in no small part is why she stays.
Today's roundup celebrates the Wodehouse prize recipient, learns some lessons from a daily blogger, finds a library for the birds, and hears from Nikki Giovanni.
While reading Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood in prep for my upcoming three-session class I found myself laughing. I was braced for gothic and spooky but was reminded of Flannery O’Connor’s sly dry humor ...“Going around the corner he ran into something heavy and pink; it gasped and muttered, “Clumsy!”
Last year, when Philip Bither announced Walker Art Center’s performing arts season, I realized that two of the shows were inspired by writers. I’d long been wanting the Loft to offer more classes for readers and thought it would be fun to have some short sessions where we discussed the books, saw the performance, and come together a week later with some of the performance creators to talk about the show.
Nineteen years is a long, long time to write and hope and dream and not reach one’s goal. I know, because that’s how long it took me to get a publishing contract for my first book.
Hope deferred does, indeed, make the heart sick. I knew this intimately. I knew it with every trip to the mailbox, and every rejection, and every struggling effort to drum up enough hope to send out a story yet again. It is a strange thing that writers, who of all people are perhaps the most sensitive to rejection, are the very ones who put their work out there, time and again, deliberately courting it.
Of course the answer to that is simple. The fear of rejection is strong, but the desire to write, to communicate our vision to the world, is stronger yet.