Defining and Writing the Lyric Essay

I spent my summer writing a book called Perfect Phrases for Writing the College Application Essay. My effort was to come up with sentences (sometimes questions, sometimes statements) to help those who have to write the application essay focus and draw specific details from their experience and then organize the details into compelling personal statements. … Continue reading

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Self-Publishing Books on Grief, Part Two

This week, as we continue our series of interviews with authors who have self-published, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam Turner about This Might Help, the book he and his wife Phyllis put together. Like author Janice Urie, who we interviewed last week, Sam and Phyllis have experience with the grief of losing a … Continue reading

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Self-Publishing Books on Grief, Part One

There are a lot of small-world stories in the writing world. Here’s one of mine: In 2000, I was asked by Writer’s Digest Books to judge personal essays. From over 3500 essays, for first place, I chose an essay by Janice Urie about the death of her 13-year-old son, Sean. For me, Janice’s writing was … Continue reading

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Writing from the Experience of a Career that Stumbled

This week, we have the second in our series of interviews with writers who have self-published. Each of these writers reports on the successful experience they have had. Adina Sara published her collection of poems and personal essays about being a legal secretary–her view into the work world and the world of those who work … Continue reading

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On Self-publishing

This week we begin a series on self-publishing, the outgrowth of interviews I’ve been doing with authors who have taken a variety of routes toward self-publishing. Cindy La Ferle and other authors have shared details from their publishing experiences in interviews as well as excerpts from their books, both of which I will be publishing … Continue reading

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Starting with Pieces Yields a Whole

Following my reading of and writing in response to Impassio Press’s anthology In Pieces, An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing, I began a book American philosopher Ken Wilber’s A Brief History of Everything. The rich effects of reading each continue to bounce together in my mind. Wilber’s book offers a stirring discussion of the view that … Continue reading

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On In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing

What definitions, thoughts and dreams I’ve snagged from In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing, edited by Olivia Dresher for Impassio Press. In her introduction, Dresher, a fragmentary writing enthusiast, introduces fragmentary writing this way:  “lack of a traditional beginning or end. Instead, the two are merged into a brief and concentrated middle, “a short … Continue reading

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Recognizing Fragmentary Writing as a Genre

  SheilaOlivia, I was introduced to your press when one of your authors, Sandi Sonnenfeld, asked me to write a blurb about her book, This Is How I Speak, which is a memoir in diary form. I have been intrigued ever since with your idea of committing your press to publishing what you call fragmentary … Continue reading

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An Excerpt from “Art is a Lie that Tells the Truth”

Art is a lie that tells the truth. — Picasso A fantasy: I want to write A Diary of Lies. Actually, it’s already in my head, written in invisible ink. But I could just as easily call it A Diary of Imagination. It pretends to be real in order to express the full flavor of … Continue reading

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An Interview with John Nemerovski

In this week’s article, we interview John Nemerovski, who writes about technological subjects for a non-technical audience. His online articles, and now podcasts, are filled with personal anecdotes, quirky observations and bits of his own life including activities with friends, family and his much-loved dog Butzie. John’s articles and reviews almost always take on aspects … Continue reading

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Research and Writers’ Advice Support Keeping a Journal

Lifetime journal keeper Ruth Folit combined her passion for journal keeping with her technological experience to create LifeJournal, a software program to help those who journal using their keyboards and computers. It wasn’t too long before she decided to create what she calls flavors to the product. One of them is LifeJournal for Writers, for … Continue reading

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Perfect Phrases for Writing About a Significant Experience

Writing about a significant experience or ethical dilemma: A part of our mind, the part that was trained in school, feels we should know what we have to say before we write it down. However, in writing the personal essay and poetry, we can’t know what we have to say; we must write in search … Continue reading

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What Keeps Us Writing?

Most of us writers collect quotes from writers on writing. Whether we hang them above our desks, write them in journals, put them in our email signatures, or use them as epigraphs for our own writing, they remind us of what we find most important about writing and encourage us to keep on writing, even … Continue reading

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Figuratively Speaking: A Perception of Resemblances

Last week we discussed poems in Rebecca McClanahan’s impressive collection, Deep Light. This week, we hear from her as a skillful user of figurative language and enjoy the exceptional opportunity to learn how to stretch our metaphor making muscles. The following work is an abridged version of Chapter 5 from Word Painting: A Guide to … Continue reading

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About the Three-Step Response

Reprinted with permission of Writer’s Digest Books from Writing Personal Essays: How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page by Sheila Bender, Writer’s Digest Books, 1995 About The Three-Step Response To help the writer understand what kind of contact his or her writing makes, my responsibility as a reader of the work is to: … Continue reading

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Tanka by Michael Dylan Welch

Editor’s Note — to learn more about Tanka poetry, click here to read Michael Dylan Welch’s accompanying article. Missing Poems this is but a moonless night, and my pillow has no tear stains— it is in the grocery aisle amid the frozen vegetables that I long for you my pen poised above the notepaper— no … Continue reading

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The Seed of the Human Heart: Writing Tanka

Editor’s Note — To read some of Michael Dylan Welch’s Tanka poetry, click here You’ve heard of haiku, but did you know that it’s a spring chicken compared with another genre of short Japanese poetry? The rich heritage of this poetry stretches back more than a thousand years longer than haiku. Indeed, the poetic grand … Continue reading

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Driving Robert Frost

Being tall is not all bad. Sure your hit your head a lot, and people are always asking you to get something breakable down from high places or rescue a cat. But my height has served me well a time or two. Once, during my senior year at the University of Arizona, one of my … Continue reading

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An Interview with Author and Law Professor Martha Grace Duncan

I met Martha Grace Duncan and became aware of her work when she made a research trip to Seattle for a personal essay she was writing about her stepmother. When I first learned she’d come to research for a personal essay, I immediately admired her commitment– many people believe only novels and other book length … Continue reading

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So Have I Been A Good Stepmother?

This week, we begin a series about the work of writer and Emory University law professor Martha Grace Duncan. In her essay and book writing, Martha combines her passions for law, teaching, and memoir. This memoir originally appeared in The Gettysburg Review, 19:3, Autumn, 2006. So Have I Been a Good Stepmother? By Martha Grace … Continue reading

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