The Holiness of the Heart’s Affections

I recently came across the following quote from German philosopher Karl Jaspers whose work influenced theology and psychology: Truth, he wrote,  “only appears in time as a reality-through-communication. Abstracted from communication, truth hardens into an unreality.” For those of us who write from personal experience this means that our words supply the necessary blood, tissues, … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Private Writing as Playroom

This week’s article is an excerpt from Rebecca McClanahan’s instructional book Write Your Heart Out: Exploring & Expressing What Matters To You, published by Walking Stick Press.  This season, as we watch children in an environment where everything seems transformed, we re-experience the magic of childhood.  Rebecca McClanahan’s thoughts and advice help us retrieve the … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Sow More Seeds for Personal Essay Writing

I enjoy dipping into a collection of short fiction entitled You’ve Got To Read This as much for the pleasure of the fiction itself as for gathering new ideas about how to organize writing.  There is something about the way short fiction writers tell stories that inspires the essay writer in me.  When I opened … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

On the Development of the Poem “Under Cover of Green”

Shortly after I posted the September 11, 2003 instructional exercise for Writing It Real, subscriber Christine Robinson sent me some writing of hers that resulted from using the exercise.  In this week’s article, I want to show you what she wrote and how she developed the draft, which she thought resembled a prose poem, into … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Study a Scene from David Beckman’s Novel-in-Progress

Here is a sample scene from the novel-in-progress that David Beckman refers to in last week’s interview about being mentored in his writing.  You will notice that he has made stylistic decisions in using sentence fragments to evoke the little boy Addison’s point of view.  He also uses terminology of the time period he is … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Working with a Writing Mentor

As a writing instructor, it is always interesting to me to talk with other writers who teach.  I enjoy hearing about the parts of the teaching process that excite them.  This past June, I had the opportunity to talk over breakfast with New York writer Janice Eidus.  She said: When I guide writers in their … Continue reading

Continue reading

Useful Writing Strategies from The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters

Not scheduled for release until January 2004, The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters, an epistolary novel by Elisabeth Robinson, has already received excellent reviews.  If you are developing a wish list for holiday gifts, I recommend putting this book on that list.  It is a pleasurable read, by turns hilarious and poignant, … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Interview with Joni Cole, an Editor of the This Day: Diaries from American Women Project

At the May 2003 Book Expo America in Los Angeles, Joni Cole handed out advance copies of an exciting book, eventually released this September. Joni is a freelance writer with a Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College with a focus on fiction.  It is second nature for her to imagine and create … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

An Exercise for Finding Starts in Personal Essay Writing

Although it might not be obvious, those of us who write personal essays can benefit greatly from not knowing what we have to write about.  That is surprising to people who think of the essay as researched knowledge with a professorial, didactic tone.  But to write an essay is really to “assay” or test out … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Jerome Gold of Black Heron Press on Independent Publishing

Every Labor Day Weekend at the Bumbershoot Arts Festival held at Seattle Center, Jerome (Jerry to his friends) Gold mans a Black Heron Press booth at the festival’s book fair.  In April of each year, he mans the booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and also at the May Book Expo America … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

A Look at Four Writers Who Inhabit the Moment

Lately, I’ve read a book of Buddhist wisdom by Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, poetry by the Northwest’s James Bertolino, essays by the Northeast’s Philip Simmons and memoirs by the Southwest’s Laurence Shames and by Timothy Doyle, who has lived in India for years.  In each of the author’s performances, I am reminded that when … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Memoirist Joelle Fraser Talks About Her Process

I met Joelle Fraser at the 2003 Whidbey Island Writer’s Conference, where we both presented.  Her book The Territory of Men intrigued me.  Sherman Alexie (author of The Toughest Indian in the World), and Beverly Donofrio (author of Riding in Cars with Boys) both blurbed the book saying it is written with honesty and is … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Advice from the Book Doctor

Robyn Conley and I met at a time when we both had books on journaling newly out from Walking Stick Press.  Robyn’s role at the Society of Southwestern Authors‘ conference we taught at involved individual editing sessions with conference participants.  Her skills as a book doctor involve sentence editing for grammar and punctuation as well … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

A Strategy for Creating Insight in a Personal Essay

On this September 11, two years after the tragedy at the World Trade Centers in NY, many of us who write believe more whole heartedly than ever that getting our words on the page makes a difference in our lives and in the lives of those who read our words. The World Trade Centers tragedy … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Writing Children’s Books: Not as Easy as A B C

Those of us who write from personal experience often think that we’d like to share life lessons and delights in the form of literature for children.  Excited by our desire to write, we also feel in touch with the child in ourselves who loves learning and has a need to know.   But when it comes … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Australian Poet Doris Leadbetter tells us about Mrs. Arthur P. Craven

I have been in correspondence with a grand dame of Australian Poetry.  I met Doris Leadbetter in 2002, when she and her husband Richard spent their winter holiday (our summertime) away from Melbourne attending writers’ conferences in the US and visiting Richard’s home state of Montana.  All of us at the Colorado Mt. Writers’ Workshop … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Subscriber Response to Instructional Exercises

“Poetry is a form of necessary speech,” Edward Hirsch writes in How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, and “poems strike something deeper than thought itself…experience that takes us to the very heart of being.” Over the months, subscribers have sent results from exercises in Writing It Real, exercises meant to … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

After the Ball

After posting last week’s interview about Steven Winn’s ideas for finding contacts on the publishing scene, I am pleased to reprint his wonderful essay about a spring day during a most difficult passage in his life.  The essay originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Father’s Day 2002 under the headline “Good Day at … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

Make the Stretch to Get Your Foot in the Door

The Sunday July 20, 2003 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle was proud to report that its journalists are serving the Bay Area community well.  Arts and culture critic Steven Winn was among four Chronicle writers who placed in the 15th annual American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors’ Excellence in Writing contest.  This marks … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading

A Prompt for Finding Essay Topic Ideas

At Yourdictionary.com, linguists maintain a page about word definitions and histories. I signed up on the web to have these words and stories about their usage emailed to me each day. Some of the words are ones that I’ve never heard or even read. Others are words I use everyday and never think about.  After … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.
Continue reading