About Brenda Miller

Brenda Miller is the author of five essay collections, including An Earlier Life (Ovenbird Books, 2016), which received the Washington State Book Award for Memoir. She also co-authored Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining and Publishing Creative Nonfiction (Third Edition published 2019) and The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Tupelo Quarterly, Sweet, Bellevue Literary Review, Fusion, and Psaltery and Lyre. Her work has received six Pushcart Prizes. She is a Professor of English at Western Washington University and associate faculty at the Rainier Writing Workshop. Her website is www.brendamillerwriter.com.

Tell It Slant: Author Brenda Miller on Writing Creative Nonfiction and a Generous Excerpt from the Book

Introduction to an Excerpt from Tell it Slant (Available from Powell’s and Amazon as well as your favorite bookseller). By Brenda Miller In 2001, when Suzanne Paola and I began talking about writing a textbook for creative nonfiction, no such book existed. We had been cobbling together our own instructional materials for years, and together … Continue reading

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The Yoga of Writing

Personal essayist Brenda Miller is keeping a blog entitled Spa of the Mind, a phrase she borrowed from a chapter in William Powers’ book Hamlet’s Blackberry. By keeping this blog, Brenda is dedicating herself  to exploring “the ways we find respite for our weary minds in a connected world.” She wonders how “we find and cultivate inner space … Continue reading

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The Pen and The Bell: Making Room to Write in a Crowded World

Brenda Miller and Holly J. Hughes, two skillful writers and past contributors to Writing It Real (be sure to click on their names to read their distinguished bios), have written a manuscript aimed at helping writers encourage and pay attention to their writing in the midst of commitments that squelch the meditative state required to … Continue reading

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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

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Decoys

This week, we offer a third essay by Brenda Miller, in which she skillfully uses an chance meeting to draw a metaphor that allows her to more deeply reflect upon herself as a writer. Again, the weaving of the outer world with the inner world yields a rich essay and a transformative experience. The other … Continue reading

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On Thermostats

Last week, we posted Brenda Miller’s essay about how making metaphor both removes us from the moment we are in and sets us more deeply into meditation, helping us know ourselves and our inner worlds. In “On Thermostats,” she once again weaves the outer world of a writing retreat with her inner world as a … Continue reading

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The Case Against Metaphor: An Apologia

“Writing it all down,” is the phrase that ends Brenda Miller’s essay. That’s what we strive to do as writers. It is an ambitious striving, a striving that forces us to question our experiences and ourselves–can we possibly write it all down? Can we possibly get it down right? What would it feel like if … Continue reading

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