Rather than mere mental detachment, constructive mind wandering is an act of expansion, a celebration of the incredible elasticity of imagination. Yet like any effort to stretch our personal boundaries, it can take a bit of training. In this sense, mind wandering is a form of calisthenics for when a writer is later called to produce self-generated imagery, dialogue, and detail in order to capture intended emotion or build a believable setting.
Of the many crude metaphors used to visualize the struggle to create story I like to imagine the writer in a castle surrounded by statues (characters), staring into high-ceiling rooms (scenes), listening to voices (dialogue) echoing off stone walls. It’s the writer’s loaded dreamworld. The full story is there, in that castle, and all the writer must do is simply bring it out and into our existence. But always, waiting on the other side of the door, hovering above the draw bridge is the dragon. The dragon represents many barriers for the writer (fear, procrastination), but mostly the beast guards against execution. Can the writer slip their story past the dragon without it getting severely singed, or worse, having draft after draft consumed, turned to ashes? How does the writer re-create their story as clearly as they see and feel it for their readers?
Literary Roundup: Gabriel García Márquez, Editing Techniques from Film, a Writerly Board Game, and the Bookternet
Here is today's roundup: An appreciation for Gabriel García Márquez, literary counterparts to film editing techniques, a writerly board game, and how online tools enable collaboration in the literary community.
In the past weeks, the Loft and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) have rolled out several collaborative events surrounding the MIA exhibit on the Sacred. From the first I heard of this Loft-MIA partnership, I knew I wanted in. I knew because these are the questions that I return to in my writing, day after day and year after year: What is sacred? How can I best define, describe and honor the sacred in the words I put to the page?
Amelia Gray's Threats chronicles the horrific reaction that David, an eccentric ex-dentist, has to the sudden, mysterious death of his wife. The entire novel is peculiar and fantastic. But it's David's first experience of shock that I want to examine.
April is National Poetry Month, and just as the temperatures are warming up, so too are the opportunities to celebrate spoken word. Whether you’re a practicing poet or someone who harbors a budding interest in line breaks, now is the perfect time to explore the art. The Loft's own Lewis Mundt agreed to share his insight as a spoken word artist and producer of the Minneapolis New Sh!t Show, in which all new work is perfomed on stage for the first time.
One of my favorite things every school year, from 1st through 5th grade, was the annual "Read In." Instead of classes, our only responsibility was to bring books, snacks, a sleeping bag and pillow, and a willingness to read with our peers all day at school. No tests, no essays, and no homework at the end of the day. The only things that mattered were books.
As you can probably imagine, this made students more excited about books. Reading = empowerment.
This is how I feel about a writers' conference. It's a fun and intense "Write In" for any wordsmith.
You may have first encountered Janet Burroway in a college writing class, studying her text Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. But Janet's expertise doesn't stop at fiction—she is the author of plays, poetry, essays, children’s books, and eight gorgeous novels. A woman of letters, she has cast her literary net wide. So naturally, we were thrilled when Janet agreed to chat with us about craft, writing habits, and her new memoir.
All participants in Minnesota Poetry Out Loud this year ushered us into National Poetry Month with a renewed love of the craft and a thirst to hear more poetry aloud. That is why the Loft, in partnership with the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), has invited local poets and select metro area Poetry Out Loud participants to come together for an event on April 16 celebrating National Poetry Month and a great season of poetry recitation competition in Minnesota.
In a career that has spanned many decades and as many different specialties, Carolyn Holbrook’s contributions to the literary vitality of the Twin Cities are too numerous to name. A lifelong advocate for the arts and, more importantly, equal access to art and artistic opportunities for all, Carolyn has been an arts administrator, teacher, and writer, often all at once.