Filed under On Writing

Letting my junk hang out

So I’m at this retirement party for these two guys my husband used to work with and I’m talking to this woman–another former co-worker of my husband, but also a friend of mine–who mentions she read (at least started to read) the original story I tried drafting in real-time on this blog. That story was … Continue reading

Oh, Vermont. Oh!

So it’s my last day at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, and I’m already sad. And sappy. I’ve met the most amazing artists from all over the world, and I hate leaving them. Did I get a ton of writing done, not really. But, oh! What an experience. I met Ron Carlson, who … Continue reading

The end is near

Summer, my thirties, the pears I canned last year…so many cool things on the verge of being gone forever. Stupid finite human reality. I hate it. Now I have regrets…like  I should have blogged during August (I’m a slacker). Should’ve made more of myself during the decade of my thirties. I should have savored those pears a … Continue reading

My first time getting paid for it.

Usually I give it up for free. Now I feel used and I haven’t even held the check in my hand, just a contract promising me $250. (I hear that’s good money for what I just did.) Yeah, that’s right. I sold a piece of myself…A piece of writing. I thought it would feel better, but … Continue reading

Crashing the Tin House Writer’s Workshop

Of course I couldn’t officially attend Tin House’s writing extravaganza this past week—it’s like $1,100. And of course I’ve been plotting for months to go anyway. The thing is, I’ve been to enough of these writing confabs to know they’re a bit like weddings. Everybody’s slightly drunk and blissed-out and wouldn’t know if you’re a cousin of the groom … Continue reading

Haircuts and other acts of bravery

I need to cut my hair off. It’s long and heavy and ridiculous. But I don’t want to. Maybe long hair reminds me of being young… That’s the problem, see? I’m NOT young. I’m on the verge of forty, and the locks need to go before I “cross over.” So today I went back to … Continue reading

The fine art of a Party Cat battle

I’m not sure why I love this mural. It’s painted on a building along Seattle’s busway in the SoDo Urban Art Corridor. Maybe it’s the absurdity or the tension or the cat’s pink party hat or the red star on the girl’s pocket. There’s something about the look in that Girlie’s wild cartoon eyes that draws … Continue reading

One ticket, please, for that other Earth.

Offline. What a weird concept. It didn’t even exist back in the eighties when the most we could do to “disconnect” was take the phone off the hook. Which I never did. That was back when I was the social version of myself. Now I’m more a hermit version, but I still can’t totally hang … Continue reading

The Best Bad Book Titles EVER!

My friend Carrie Mesrobian is getting ready to have her first novel published. With a real publisher and everything. The book is YA and is going to be rad and she’s gonna be famous and all that. So yesterday, Carrie mentioned that she still doesn’t have a title for said forthcoming novel, which she’s just been calling … Continue reading

What I do when I’m depressed about writing

I just read my last post about creating quirky characters and groaned. Out loud. And made that hideous pig-snorting face reserved for people who have just done something stupid. What kind of an idiot makes herself into a cutsie fake character on a blog? To make matters worse, I read this passage by Charles Baxter … Continue reading

THOSE kind of people.

This week I’m reading  Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and, of course, now I’m thinking about how I like quirky, distinct characters in writing. Also I’m wondering how best to create my own characters like Charlie, the book’s first-person narrator. If you haven’t read the book, it’s worth the read. Unless you hated Catcher … Continue reading

A cat pee kind of day.

I got home late last night from a super rad evening of music and spoken word (thanks Gray Skies Reading Series) and noticed a sour, gross smell in my office as I was checking my email. I thought maybe it was my own sweat I was smelling, which has a disgusting cat pee aroma when … Continue reading

Why I heart my MFA Program

My last post was about my choice to pursue on MFA in creative writing. This one’s about which MFA program I chose and how I chose it. But first I’d like to echo the article Poets & Writers wrote on the topic this past fall and say that my decision to attend a program and … Continue reading

Why I Decided to Get an MFA

Two more months and I’ll have completed my first year in Pacific Lutheran University’s low-res MFA program in Creative Writing (fiction). Super excited. I often get asked about the program–What’s it like? Why’d you choose it? Why low-residency?–all the questions I asked when I was trying to decide 1.) if I should pursue an MFA, … Continue reading

Writing A Magical Story

This week I’ve been obsessively searching for the magical ingredients of successful story writing. Not like the obvious stuff that we always talk about–character, theme, plot, blah, blah. And please don’t suggest I go read Joseph Campbell. I’m talking about the magic! Secret somethings that pull you in and keep you reading (or watching or listening), … Continue reading

Extremely Incredibly Peculiar Child Narrators

As a rule I like kid narrators.  I read a lot of them. An embarrassingly high percentage of the books I read are YA and most young adult novels feature a first-person narrator between the ages of 14 and 17. This week, I met sixteen-year-old Jacob whom I accompanied on a quest to solve the mystery of … Continue reading

Who needs writing groups?!

I made the transition from working 40+ hours a week as an executive manager in a public agency to becoming a full-time writer and graduate student over a period of several years. At one point during this transition, I was participating in three separate writing groups. Now I am frequently asked, “Were all those writing … Continue reading