image via fourwindsapps.com One of the problems writers have, once they feel they have something to write about, is how to shape a story. The muse perched on one's shoulder will often flood the writer with insights, and the writer often feels the urge to cram all of those insights into one piece of writing. […]Read More Negotiating with the Muse
image via hollywoodreporter.com Salvage The Bones, by Jesmyn Ward I don’t remember why I bought this book. It probably wasn’t that it won the National Book Award for 2011; more likely that it’s about the Mississippi coast in the time prior to Hurricane Katrina. I have family living on that coastline, and […]Read More Listening to Life
image via awpwriter.org The Writer's Chronicle magazine has become my "go-to" source for finding out how other writers think about the process and craft of writing. A few pithy quotes in that regard from the February 2012 issue: "What does literature do for me? I think I solve problems in my writing. They may be […]Read More A Few Wise Words
I can't seem to quit writing about Harper's Magazine, especially since my old tried and true, NEWSWEEK, has corroded to crap right before my eyes. It's perhaps unfair to compare a weekly with a monthly, but Harper's always gives its readers something topical, but in a depth that NEWSWEEK has long since discarded. In the […]Read More Another Harper’s Moment
The featured article in the latest issue of Writer's Chronicle magazine – and here I resist a digression – makes a statement, in the context of creative writing programs, with which a heartily agree: "Whatever shortcomings may arise when creative activity is institutionalized…creative writing programs at their best have promoted the public good by sharpening […]Read More Why Write Fiction?
These finalists all seem fine books. My problem with the fiction is that from what I read in reviews, they all seem somewhat narcissistic – except for this one – my choice, if not a predicted winner: Of the nonfiction I have to go with this one – as fine a look at modern culture […]Read More The Millions : 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalists Announced
The finalists for the annual National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Award have been announced. The fiction list includes one of the biggest fiction releases of last year, but all five of the finalists got a fair amount of ink. No huge surprises. In fact, as we’ve noted in the past, the NBCC seems to do […]Read More The Millions : 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalists Announced