Notes on chixLIT: the Literary Zine for Chicks Ages 7 to 17

When I was a girl of 10 and already a writer in my own mind, I was frustrated that no one took my writing seriously. I nevertheless decided that I would be a Rhodes Scholar and a winner of a Pulitzer and a Nobel by the time I was 30, at which point I would … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

Three Days and Three Nights

In The Heart Aroused:  Poetry and Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, poet David Whyte writes: The core of difficulty at the heart of modern work life is its abstraction from many of the ancient cycles of life that allow the silence and time in which true appreciation and experience can take place.  The … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

On Poetry Collaboration

Editor’s Note: All the poems printed in this article are a collaboration of the two authors, James Bertolino and Anita K. Boyle. “Hard Candy” first appeared in the print journal Cranky, No. 1, 2004 as did James Bertolino’s instructional essay on poetic collaboration;  “One Day” appeared in StringTown, No.6, 2003 and “On Edge” appeared in … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

The Debris of Abstraction and Sentimentality

Feeling overwhelmed by data, random information, the flotsam and jetsam of mass culture, we relish the spectacle of a single consciousness making sense of a portion of the chaos…” — Scott Russell Sanders As readers of essays and poems, we understand what Sanders means, and we are grateful to writers who provide the spectacle of … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

A Review of Tell It Slant

Meg Files is a novelist, short fiction writer, creative nonfiction writer, poet and writing instructor extraordinaire.  She has helped hundreds of students write and publish their writing, and she always takes their concerns seriously.  Recently, when one student’s problem with writing lingered, Meg wrote a letter in which she imagines herself offering this student standard, … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

A Review of Tell It Slant

Two professors from the Creative Writing Program at Western Washington State University in Bellingham, Washington have put together Tell It Slant, an enlightening, comprehensive and very satisfying text on writing and shaping creative nonfiction.  The book includes a 237-page bonus anthology of 32 essays by notable writers Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

Letter to a Young Perfectionist

Meg Files is a novelist, short fiction writer, creative nonfiction writer, poet and writing instructor extraordinaire.  She has helped hundreds of students write and publish their writing, and she always takes their concerns seriously.  Recently, when one student’s problem with writing lingered, Meg wrote a letter in which she imagines herself offering this student standard, … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

Put Your Ear To Work In Writing Your Essays

When essayists learn to listen closely to the music they are making on the page and examine what the changes in the music mean, they learn to make the sounds of exactly what they have experienced and of exactly what they have learned. That is when essays reach true depth and speak most clearly — … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

Reporting the Earthquakes in Life

In Daughter’s Keeper, a novel by Ayelet Waldman, the main characters are Elaine and her daughter Olivia. The novel succeeds as a portrayal of love redeemed between a mother and daughter against the backdrop of the United States’ drug enforcement system. Currently a Berkeley resident, author Ayelet Waldman is a graduate of Harvard Law School … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

The Development of a Poem by Betty Shafer

When Betty Shafer sent me the following poem for help in revising it, I read it and found something haunting stayed with me after I read the lines. Look Again We return to find our land barren Weeds choking walls and fences And silent rotting houses. But when we look again we see Ruby red … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

One Author’s Road to Creating Intimate Non-Fiction

This week’s article is an interview with author Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.  Her latest book is Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get & Stay That Way.  Susan makes good use of her personal experience in a second marriage as well as the experience of other couples to help her readers understand how they … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

There’s Help Out There for Building a Writing Life You Love

While I was living in Los Angeles these past several years, I was lucky enough to meet Barbara Caplan-Bennett, a fellow member of the Independent Writers of Southern California.  A novelist and trained action coach, Barbara is a person who helps writers redesign their approach to life so they can write. Here’s how she writes … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

The Story of One Poem’s Evolution

About 10 years ago, I wrote this poem, which was distributed on a lovely poster illustrated with a picture of a rocking chair with wings on its back and a moon on its seat.  The chair was poised on the roof of a house, amidst a block of other houses without winged rocking chairs atop … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

Delivering Your Personal Essays to Market, Part 2

Continuing from last week’s article, which included resources for publishing markets as well as six stories from writers on how they got into print, this week we share six more stories by writers of essays, children’s books, short fiction, nonfiction books, magazine articles and radio commentary.  These writers discuss the way they made connections with … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

Delivering Your Personal Essays to Market, Part 1

To publish your work, you must consider many markets and match your material to them:  literary small press publications, national large circulation publications, local newspapers, regional and national newspapers, radio, industry publications and online sites and publications.  It is rare for a writer to start at the “top” with national publications before publishing locally and … Continue reading

This post is only available to members.

Continue reading

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