I don’t tell my students about my doubts. I don’t say I think school is inferior to what we can learn through following our own curiosity, cultivating our own interests and developing our own course of study. I don’t say I’m convinced that the best way to learn to write isn’t found in the classroom. … More Man Ray and teaching
The night before the term begins, I dream of trying to get to my classroom. I dream of obstacles. Instead of the community college where I work, I drive to a high school My car turns into a child’s tiny toy car and must sometimes be carried The first classroom I go into is … More I Dream of Obstacles
Dear Mrs. Gist, I remember when you were my English teacher and encouraged me to read poetry. I remember you took me to a reading competition, and I read a poem by Ferlinghetti. I remember once you assigned us to give show and tells, and I showed how to make a Molotov cocktail, which was an intentionally … More to my high school English teacher
Am I including the subplot of Larry Love, the phony modeling agent, in my novel because the scenes I’ve written about it are my darlings? Do those scenes belong in the novel? My eugenics mystery. Or maybe eugenics thriller. I spent last week talking to my students about the narrative thesis. Get rid of everything … More Larry Love
(the official) NORTHWEST BLOG TOUR in which writers answer four questions and then post those answers to their blog What am I working on? So many things! Last week I finished a young adult novel, The 5 ½ Senses of Sophie LaVelle, based on the Tarot cards, a family curse and the 19th century secret … More The Northwest Blog Tour
Man Ray once said if you don’t like something, then turn away from it. Just shut up and go to the next thing. I’m paraphrasing. Maybe it wasn’t even Man Ray. The last week of term. Impossible for me to critique one more thing. I read my workshop stories and don’t have one single useful … More Man Ray
I’ve been thinking about this one story since I was 22 years old, but I never wrote it before. Okay, I wrote a nonfiction version. I wrote a fictional third person version, told as a report. I gave it up. And then Kerry showed us the short story, Axolotl, by Julio Cortázar. And Margery said … More Axolotl and the defiance of thought
I write fiction, but decided instead of doing what I’ve been doing for the past few decades and sort of know how to do, I’d write a screenplay for my MFA thesis. I wanted to do something new, I said, pretending I don’t realize that every piece of writing requires something new. I wanted to … More they don’t think at all
I didn’t spend my Julia Child week sipping mint juleps, but I did have fun. Last month writer Karen Karbo made a request. Karen’s book Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life has just come out. She was looking for bloggers to choose one of Julia Child’s axioms, to apply it for a week and … More My Julia Child Week, not all mint juleps, but still.
I’ve hardly looked at my current novel since I’ve been in school. Today I got it out and now I remember why. Suddenly most of the day is gone, and I don’t want to do anything else but write the story. I don’t want to grade papers, I don’t to do homework, I don’t want … More I don’t want to.