About Sheila Bender

Sheila Bender has worked with people who write personal essays, poetry, nonfiction books, stories, writer’s journals, and application essays since 1980, helping them acknowledge a place for writing in their lives. Learn about her instructional books, memoir and poetry at About Sheila.

Correspondence with Fiction Writer Janice Eidus

This fall I corresponded with novelist and short fiction writer Janice Eidus to investigate how fiction writers use personal experience in their writing.  I have admired Eidus’ fiction and her teaching for many years now and in 1997, I invited her to contribute to my book, The Writer’s Journal: 40 Writers and Their Journals, published … Continue reading

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Using Quotes to Spur Your Writing

I like to keep quotes in an 8 by 5 inch blue-cloth covered three-ring binder. I write down or tear out quotes that strike my fancy.  They come from books and magazines, affirmations I wish to repeat to myself, fortunes from cookies, remarks during a lecture, writings in a program, overheard dialog or something a … Continue reading

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More Than Your English Teacher Ever Told You – Part II

I’ve been editing essays this fall for professionals who are applying to graduate school programs. As always, I am pointing out passive voice constructions and instructing the applicants on how to make them active constructions, and I’m also pointing out dangling modifiers and suggesting alternative wording. I know from looking at my own drafts and … Continue reading

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Bringing Dear Mom: Remembering Our Mothers Into the World

When her mother’s Parkinson’s had progressed, Patricia Hassler quit her job and became her mother’s caretaker.  Realizing she needed a creative outlet, she answered an ad in a local paper for a columnist to write about a nearby suburb where her husband was teaching. The newspaper editor also wanted features about what was going on … Continue reading

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Learning Words by Heart

A few years ago, I invented a way of coming to writing during times when I felt overwhelmed by my need to write, yet stuck in my ability to get anything of value on the page.  The exercise I invented ultimately helped me to create vignettes, essays, and poems from life experience when I had … Continue reading

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Resources for Poetry – A Feast for the Soul

Poetry is a kind of food, shelter, and clothing for which I am thankful.  It nourishes my being, builds a dwelling for my ecstasy and my awe, and keeps me warm when I grieve.  Books on my shelves and on the shelves of libraries and booksellers, poetry sites on the Internet, movies about poetry and … Continue reading

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Must Reads for Essay Writers

“Learning to Drive” by Katha Pollitt in The New Yorker Magazine, July 22, 2002: Click for more information on the columnist  “Learning to Drive” is an engrossing and humble piece of writing from a leftist writer of renown, who refused to shy away from using very personal material. Her essay narrates her driving lessons with … Continue reading

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