Too Old to Write Your First Novel?

Think again. Consider, from Rivka Galchen's rundown in Harper's of twentieth century author family life and age demographics, among them: Alice Munro: Two husbands. Raised three children. First book of stories at age thirty-seven. Toni Morrison: Two children. First novel at age thirty-nine. Penelope Fitzgerald: Three children. First novel at age sixty. Then eight more.   Rock … Continue reading Too Old to Write Your First Novel?

My Creativity IV Drip: Madeleine L’Engle Herself

While recovering from my summer vacation heart attack last July in the small Colorado western slope town where I lived when my children were small, I stumbled upon hidden treasure on the bookshelf of my dear friend's guest room. Like an IV drip of creativity energy, leafing through the pages of Madeleine L'Engle Herself pinked up my cheeks … Continue reading My Creativity IV Drip: Madeleine L’Engle Herself

Wrangling An Elusive Essay Form: Mosaic

1. Collage, fragmented, montage, segmented, lyric, sectioned: a mosaic by any other name was still a thorn in my flesh. The first mosaic I ever tried to write amounted to little more than a clumsy knockoff of a Richard Rodriguez essay assigned in my first MFA nonfiction workshop. 2. Three years later, I tried again. … Continue reading Wrangling An Elusive Essay Form: Mosaic

Inspired by Koreanish, My Year in Review: 2014

I'm no Alexander Chee, and by comparison my brushes with achievement are mere crayon self-portraits on the fridge. Chee's are more Matisse in the MoMA, with categories such as "Best of Me on NPR" and "Best idea I had in public where people could hear it." You know that whole Amtrak residency thing? Yeah, that was Alexander Chee's idea. My big … Continue reading Inspired by Koreanish, My Year in Review: 2014

Creative Nonfiction, Gumby of Literary Genres

"Creative nonfiction is a gloriously flexible genre. What we don't know or can't know doesn't have to wreck our writing. Instead, what seemed at first to be only an empty space can be an opportunity to shape and expand a narrative, exploring the gaps and writing our way through the myths."  -Jessica Handler, author of … Continue reading Creative Nonfiction, Gumby of Literary Genres

The Traditional Publishing Path: a Midwest Writer’s Workshop agented author shares her wisdom, from how to find a literary agent to what to expect while you’re out on submission

As you emerge from your food coma I present the lovely and talented Annie Sullivan as my first guest blogger since Eliza Tudor shared her wisdom on navigating a writer's life after the MFA. [Thanks, Annie!]

Which Way to the Vomitorium?

As I've mentioned before, being a mom to this particular son* is a gas—and always educational. This morning I decided to visit him in his room before he fully woke up and remembered his mother irritates him to no end. He rewarded me by reading aloud, in Latin and then English, selections from "Which Way to … Continue reading Which Way to the Vomitorium?

Guest Post From The Tolkien Scholar In My House: English to Orc (Orkish?) and Back

For those of you who wish to learn Orkish, a less-pretty language spoken by Orcs, Trolls, and some Men in Middle-Earth in the Third Age. Orkish dialects were usually vulgar forms of the Black Speech of Mordor, the language written on the Ring. These words are scrounged from what little Tolkien wrote of the Orkish language as well as some reconstructions by Tolkien linguist David Salo.

Adventures in Parenting Jack: Translating Halldór Laxness (Say HUH?)

I was working on a meditative essay to post on this here writey blog, but the following Facebook status update by my dear son, pictured below (in what I think should be his online dating profile picture, should he ever online-date in his twenties), derailed me. You'll understand why. Oh, and as any good anglophile, he punctuates the UK way. Also, why do I even try to write? OY, this kid: