“Draft” at the New York Times

Posted on May 28, 2013 in Blog entry, Resource

“Draft” is part of an exclusive online commentary series from The New York Times, and features essays by grammarians, historians, linguists, journalists, novelists and others on the art of writing. There have been some interesting posts here lately. You may need an online subscription to read these, but when you consider all the paper’s literary coverage, not to mention all the other coverage, it’s a deal. Dig...

Read More

KCRW’s Bookworm

Posted on May 14, 2013 in Blog entry, Resource, Uncategorized

If you’ve never listened to the public radio program Bookworm, run out of KCRW in Santa Monica and hosted by the brilliant and ethereally cerebral Michael Silverblatt, you’re in for a treat. For over 20 years, Bookworm has been recording intelligent, serious interviews with creative writers of all kinds, mostly fiction writers and poets, and the discussions are always fascinating. Talk usually turns quickly to craft and the creative process, and if you’re writer you’ll come away inspired and enlightened. Plus, it’s always fun to hear how any given writer will react when confronted with Michael Silverblatt’s deep-drilling, confoundingly well-articulated, sweeping encapsulations of their work. The archive is searchable, and just about everyone’s here. Maybe someday, you!...

Read More

“One Teen Story” fiction contest

Posted on May 14, 2013 in Blog entry, News, Resource, Uncategorized

If you’re 14-19 years old, consider entering your original, unpublished fiction in the “One Teen Story” contest. The deadline is June 30, 2013, and the winning story will be published in the May 2014 issue of “One Teen Story.” It’s a great magazine, as is its older sibling, “One Story.” Check them both...

Read More

Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet”

Posted on May 7, 2013 in Blog entry, Resource

It’s possible, if you’re a high school-aged writer, that no one has yet recommended Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet,” but you really should read it sofort–immediately–to use Rilke’s native German. Rilke (left) wrote the letters between 1902 and 1908 to a 19 year-old man named Franz Kappus who was trying to decide between pursuing a literary career and enlisting in the Austro-Hungarian army. The correspondence began when Kappus sent some of his poems to Rilke, then 27, for critique. Rilke offered very little in the way of critique–if only Kappus could have attended an MFA program!–but a great deal of profound advice on how to cultivate one’s inner life and grow one’s art. A few examples to whet your appetite: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue”; “Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple I must, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.” Sagely, no? We can’t leave out this bold declaration about the writer’s relationship with time: “There is here no measuring with time, no year matters, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree that does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything!”  ...

Read More

Indispensable: The Paris Review interviews!

Posted on Apr 24, 2013 in Blog entry, Resource

The Paris Review interviews are without question one of the greatest resources available to aspiring writers. Beginning in the 1950’s, The Paris Review began interviewing creative writers of all kinds — mostly poets, fiction writers, playwrights — about their work and their writing processes. There’s so much here, and so much inspiration and validation and inside perspective. The interviews are sortable by decade or by name, so you can venture in any way you like and sit down to a conversation with Faulkner, Eliot, Hemingway, Forster, Dinesen, Parker, Bellow, Borges, de Beauvoir, Kerouac, Lowell, Didion, Drabble, Sexton, Welty, Vonnegut, Ashbery, Bishop, Garcia Marquez, Fox, Carson, Munro, Eisenberg, Franzen, Eugenides…they’re all here, under a bright light, and they’re all...

Read More

Figment: a great place to share your writing

Posted on Apr 20, 2013 in Blog entry, Resource

Want to share your writing, connect with other writers and readers, and discover new writers and books? Figment is a great place to do it all!

Read More