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?

Platform Shmatform, I Said More Ham: Mysteries of the Traditional Publishing Path Revealed

Every morning, agents and editors wake up, get down on their knees, and pray, "God, please let me find a good manuscript on my desk today." Their livelihoods depend on good story, so our job as writers is to know good story and create one.

Self-Promotion, Platform and Online Presence: a crass, aggravating, infuriating necessary evil

I know a guy who's writing a book. His career goal is to be a speaker at this type of thing. He is already a subject matter expert with an advanced degree that starts with a P and ends with a D, and he has a solid, healthy career with a reliable customer base. The challenge, according to prevailing … Continue reading Self-Promotion, Platform and Online Presence: a crass, aggravating, infuriating necessary evil

Creative Nonfiction Writing Prompt: Empowerment

They say it takes 30 days to develop a habit, and J worked diligently to develop hers. She and I started our long distance writer/coach relationship around mid-January, and now she's ready for more focused instruction. Her first two assignments were throat-clearers, and now we're getting down to business. I turned to Poets & Writers for her next prompt and encountered this arresting poem by Ansel Elkins.

Feed the Lake: Write Your Teeny Weeny Little Trickle

The Paris Review can't get rights from the interviewer to print in its entirety the Jean Rhys interview, regrettably, so I'll just have to quote from dear Madeleine L'Engle Herself. "If the work comes to the artist and says, 'Here I am, serve me,' then the job of the artist, great or small, is to serve. The amount … Continue reading Feed the Lake: Write Your Teeny Weeny Little Trickle

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

Poetry, Official Palace Language of Wow: Another Gem from Thanks Help Wow

On an ice-glazed morning, today's reading thaws my cockles. Thanks again, Annie L: When all is said and done, spring is the main reason for Wow. Spring is crazy, being all hope and beauty and glory. She is the resurrection. Spring is Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The world is charged with the grandeur of God. / … Continue reading Poetry, Official Palace Language of Wow: Another Gem from Thanks Help Wow

Found in the Vault, a Weekend Writing Prompt: Paint Chip Memoir

Did you know the list is a legit narrative nonfiction form? Yep, and it's ancient. McSweeney's did not invent the list. Around the first day of the first month of Noah’s 601st year, as the ground was drying out, a writer in Sumeria (now southern Iraq) carved wedge-shaped letters into stone tablets, composing a work of wisdom scholars consider to be . . .

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

A Gem from Help, Thanks, Wow: A Word About Heart Armor

"Sin is not the adult bookstore on the corner. It is the hard heart, the lack of generosity, and all the isms, racism and sexism and so forth. But is there a crack where a ribbon of light might get in, might sneak past all the roadblocks and piles of stones, mental and emotional and … Continue reading A Gem from Help, Thanks, Wow: A Word About Heart Armor