“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
I was ten when my librarian grandmother pulled from her suitcase a book called A Wrinkle in Time. It had a funny cover with silhouettes floating in circles. I’d seen it at school and it looked too science-fictiony for me.
» Read more about: Remembering Madeleine »
The taut ground of soothsayer
Who broods in caverns for a glimpse of light.
How have I lost the glinting stone
I kept so long in my fist?
I have thrown down despair
And taken Struggle
And now it prowls round me as I sleep.
The eyes of Struggle
Are amber and do not blink,
The eyes of Seer in the dark
Who pleads for just one breath of day.
» Read more about: Today I must retravel »
Perfectionism is a thief of time. I used to be plagued by this wily thief—I’d let it into my mind and give it full access. There it would scold and prod and criticize. And I would go slower and slower as my muse slogged toward mirages of excellence. After all, isn’t excellence what we are after?
It took me a long time to learn that excellence and perfection are not the same thing.
» Read more about: Go Where the Longing Is »
With the Full-Bodied Novelist Retreat coming up this weekend, I’ve been playing the violin again. There is a connection, so stay with me here.
I usually let months go by without my music. I play only to prepare for performance, thinking I need an “excuse” to play. But lately I have played for the sheer joy of playing with no audience but the Universe. I work on a piece that is hard for me,
» Read more about: The Violin Diet »
As a writer you know you must allow your characters to live through you as they unfold on the page. But what if the character feels unlike you? A character you can’t relate to is hard to, well, relate. But you WANT characters who are different from you–whether they are sympathetic, antagonistic, or simply “other” because they are outside of your community or life experience.
When you find the connection point with such a character you expand your empathy,
» Read more about: When It’s Hard to Relate »
I lost my father in July. Then in August, my husband underwent a high-risk surgery. And then last week, I had surgery to determine whether I have cancer. (It looks like I do not.) Now everything that has always felt certain is entirely up for grabs. We have been so well-loved and supported by friends and family that I am not frantic or filled with dread. In fact, the time feels distilled.
» Read more about: Wordless Times »
I love those “aha!” moments when a character sneaks up on me–and I suddenly realize I’m not writing the book I thought I was writing. It might mean big changes, but it invariably makes a deeper and more authentic story than the one I started with. This is just as true for memoir as it is for fiction
As I prepare for my fall writing classes, “Writing the Hidden Story”
» Read more about: Writing the Hidden Story »
Dancing on the Razor’s Edge
You speak in riddles because
You ache to speak.
You ache for space
To expand and contract.
You cast your words into the chasm,
To be caught by one
Whose breathing holds your breath.
When your foot finds the brink
You ask the air
» Read more about: Game of Poems »
I have not shared any of my work-in-progress here because it has felt too close to the bone. It’s a YA. It’s about art. And it’s about time-travel. It’s about a girl who feels responsible for keeping someone else alive, and how she goes back in time and thinks she wants to stay there. It’s a verse-novel, so it’s made up entirely of poems.
But it’s time for some mutual sharing. I’m looking for a small group of young people (high school/college) and some art.
» Read more about: Can We Talk? »
Those most beautiful
I couldn’t read for a crowd.
When Sexton, blind with love,
Saw her daughter’s life stretch out,
When Thomas sang in his chains like the sea,
And refused to mourn–
Once I was in that cold embrace
They carried me along and up and down the peaks of waves.
I was in thrall.
» Read more about: I Held Poems »