Excerpts from My Sisters Wedding by Hannah Goodman

My Sister’s Wedding by Hannah Goodman (iUniverse, 2004) is a young adult novel that addresses alcoholism among family members and high school students from the point of view of a younger sibling who realizes her family is denying her older sister’s alcohol abuse and she is doing the same thing in a relationship with a … Continue reading

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The Flowering of Rabbit Hash

Writing It Real is happy to post an article this week by editor and creative fiction writer Jack Heffron. “The Flowering of Rabbit Hash” originally appeared this fall in Cincinnati Magazine.  Jack lives in Cincinnati where he works with Emmis Books.  As a fiction and creative fiction writer, Jack was hooked on an article idea … Continue reading

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Servings Per Container

After creating an exercise from which her fiction writing students wrote stories, Meg did the exercise herself.  She says, “In my story, a woman is suddenly afraid to leave a grocery store. Why? As I began the story, I didn’t know. I had this scrap of paper that said ‘Fear of exiting a supermarket.’ So … Continue reading

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Revenge of the Chihuahua

These essays first appeared in “Off My Noodle“. Revenge of the Chihuahua by Judy Gruen I have always had a secret hankering to take bold and dramatic action to further the cause of liberty. Sadly, I have had few opportunities to foist my valuable opinions on the public. Heck, I haven’t even served on jury … Continue reading

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Two Essays by Judith Kitchen

Yellow by Judith Kitchen (Reprinted by permission of the author from Distance and Direction, Coffee House Press, 2001, this essay first appeared in the Great River Review.) Lately the rush hour traffic begins before you have to put your headlights on. The season’s turned. I’m thinking back to summer solstice, thirty-five years ago, in Denmark. … Continue reading

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Excerpt from Writing and Publishing Personal Essays by Sheila Bender

This week I am sharing an excerpt from my new book Writing and Publishing Personal Essays, just out from Silver Threads in San Diego. The excerpt demonstrates the power of extended metaphor for writing the essay. **** Telling It How It Never Was to Find Out How It Is One of the exercises you can … Continue reading

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Villanelles by Writing It Real Subscribers

It seemed to me that if we copied Thomas’ technique of speaking in paired commands, we might write well.  Although I didn’t expect readers to necessarily write tight villanelles as a result of the exercise (I actually suggested repeating the lines throughout an essay), two Writing It Real subscribers sent me the villanelles they’d created … Continue reading

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Jiggs

Excerpted by permission of the author from Helen’s Garden: What we learned about life and love in a small country school, by Helen Mitchell, Niche Press, 2003. One of many stories in Helen’s Garden, “Jiggs” reminds us that we are all learners and sharing the process of one’s learning fosters friendship. Jiggsby Helen Mitchell “Horses! … Continue reading

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The Lonely Voyage of Betty Mouat, Part II

In the latter half of Chapter III of Barbara Sjoholm’s The Pirate Queen:  In Search of Grace O’Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea, the author finds a woman who tells her the truth about women’s fishing history in Norway. “The Lonely Voyage of Betty Mouat” (c0ntinued) Excerpted by permission of the author from … Continue reading

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The Lonely Voyage of Betty Mouat

The Lonely Voyage of Betty Mouat We are pleased to present Chapter VIII of Barbara Sjoholm’s new book in two parts.  In this chapter, the author tracks down information on a woman who at age 59 was the sole survivor of a boating accident off the Shetland Islands in the winter of 1886.  Looking for … Continue reading

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Prose and Poetry from Northwest Poet, Naturalist and Nonfiction Writer Tim McNulty

In the few days he had between meeting his deadlines and leaving for a month at a remote fire lookout in the North Cascades National Park, naturalist, author and poet Tim McNulty took the time to answer some questions that I had posed to him about his career. In addition, he also graciously gave me … Continue reading

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Nancy Pearl’s Introduction to Book Lust

Copyright ©2003 by Nancy Pearl. Reprinted from Book Lust by Nancy Pearl with permission of Sasquatch Books. I love to read. And while I might not absolutely agree with the Anglo-American man of letters Logan Pearsall Smith, who said, “People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading,” I come awfully close to … Continue reading

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Ashes

This essay first appeared in Tiny Lights: A Journal of Personal Essay, Volume 9, Number 2. Feldman Brothers’ mortuary of Denver called two days after Seth’s death to say we could come to get his ashes.  My husband Kurt and I left for the mortuary with the idea of driving to scatter some of our … Continue reading

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After the Ball

After posting last week’s interview about Steven Winn’s ideas for finding contacts on the publishing scene, I am pleased to reprint his wonderful essay about a spring day during a most difficult passage in his life.  The essay originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Father’s Day 2002 under the headline “Good Day at … Continue reading

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From High Midnight

Meg Files enjoys researching and uses what she learns to set her stories and to inform her characters.  In the excerpt below, 19-year-old Hanna accompanies her father, who is researching for a magazine feature article, on a car trip to a Western rendezvous.  Using modern characters with an interest in traditions of the West, Meg … Continue reading

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In Passing

Last week you read an article by Susan Bono on the personal essay–writing them, teaching them, and starting a magazine for publishing them.  This week’s article is a personal essay by Susan Bono, which appears in the anthology Saltwater, Sweetwater–Women Write from California‘s North Coast, Floreant Press, 1997.  You will see why this essay, rich … Continue reading

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The Other Side of Silence

Personal essayists, poets and memoir writers face many questions about making personal truths public.  In the following essay, author Migael Scherer evokes the effects on her readers as well as on herself of her writing about painful truth. Even as she is about to accept a distinguished award, she must brace herself for the dissonance … Continue reading

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“Vito Loves Geraldine,” A Short Story

In our interview with her on 12/12/02, Janice Eidus says, “But there I was, years later, writing about a tough-cookie, teased-hair girl from the Bronx, modeled on the older Italian girls in my neighborhood who had seemed so exotic and fascinating to me, so far removed from my own Jewish, politically progressive household. And I … Continue reading

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Book Marks

Recently I interviewed poet and essayist Rebecca McClanahan for a book on essay writing that I am finishing for Writer’s Digest Books.  When I told her that I had reviewed her essay “Book Marks,” which I’d found in Best American Essays 2001 for Writing It Real subscribers, she offered to allow me to reprint the … Continue reading

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