Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Quiet Solitude of Writing Away

Last week I spent my time in Provincetown, Ma., at the Fine Arts Work Center. I was there to attend a workshop taught by Pam Houston. But I think I was also there to see what it was like to get away and write. I’m considering applying to some residencies and I thought my time […]

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A Rigid Structure Will Set You Free

I’m learning a ton from Pam Houston here in Provincetown at the Fine Arts Work Center workshops. One of the most important things is how adopting a form or structure for your writing can set it free. Let me give you an example. In Pam’s latest book, Contents May Have Shifted, she decided to write […]

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A Volcano in Provincetown

I arrived in Provincetown yesterday by ferry to attend a one-week fiction workshop with Pam Houston at the Fine Arts Work Center. We had orientation last night and a brief meeting with our workshop group, which is wonderfully small. She asked us to introduce ourselves, talk about a piece of writing we thought was success, […]

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Read Your Sentences Aloud

I read this post from a friend of mine and was reminded of something John Cheever wrote in the forward to his collection of stories. He said, “My favorite stories are those that were written in less than a week and that were often composed aloud.” At about the same time that a read that […]

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Embrace the Fiction of All Things

There was a wonderful essay in the New Yorker this past week, written by Keith Ridgway. Ridgway is a Dublin-born writer and author of six books, including one collection of short stories. He begins the essay, “Everything is Fiction,” by saying, “I don’t know how to write.”

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A Moment In An Hour

I’m a spare writer. I tend to write in scenes, moving the character forward through the action. But that kind of writing can go flat pretty quickly because I move too quickly past the details. Recently, I’ve come to love and admire Steven Milhauser’s writing. He has a gift for detail. In his short story, […]

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Fiction is Like Golf

Lately, writing has gotten annoying. I’ve been thinking about craft so much and covering it in blog posts that when it comes to write, I feel stuck. I feel like I’m playing golf. There are so many techniques to learn and apply when it comes to the game. There’s a way to hold the club, […]

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The Right Word

I’m always so impressed with writers who construct amazing sentences comprised of exactly the right words. I try to do this with my own writing, but know it’s a talent that needs much developed. I recently asked my writing friend Kim Davis, who writes beautiful poetry, for advice on polishing my word-choice skills. She had […]

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Every Bookshelf is Illuminated

I love libraries. If you’re a writer, no doubt you do, too. So it’s wonderful to see that these buildings still exist — especially in the age of digital books — and winning awards for their architectural design. The Castro Leal Library in Mexico City is one such place. It recently won first prize in […]

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