First Words

Do you have a memory of an early piece of writing you did? A memory that has with it the feeling of enjoyment–that you really liked being able to articulate your experience and thoughts in words? I remember sitting down to my little desk in third grade to write the Chanukah scene for our class’ … Continue reading

Continue reading

2007 Bedell Nonfiction Now

On November 1-4, I attended the Bedell Nonfiction Now Conference at the University of Iowa. The conference’s mission is to explore the history, present, and future of nonfiction in its myriad forms, and, as you might expect, the conference was packed with excellent panels, speakers, and readings focused on personal experience writing. Thursday November 1, … Continue reading

Continue reading

Baking Powder Biscuits

I thought Ma was my own birth mother until I was about twelve years old. And why wouldn’t I? When in one of her buoyant moods, she boasted that my good looks, smarts, generosity, even my willfulness were owing to her side of the family. When she said that, my heart raced and my face … Continue reading

Continue reading

Interview with Rodney L. Merrill

Rodney L. Merrill contacted me for an interview about writing from personal experience. He explained that for his doctoral thesis, he is conducting a “research study on how skilled personal essay writers go about writing personal essays and how this process might be applied to improve the teaching of writing and writerly practice in the … Continue reading

Continue reading

Writing With Sense of Place

Writing that rivets its readers requires evocation of place, situation, and at least one person to inhabit the place and deal with the situation. This is true for all writing, even the most lyrical, imagistic or self-reflective. In her novel Veil of Roses, author Laura Fitzgerald makes use of opportunities to describe Tucson, AZ, where … Continue reading

Continue reading