Category: Writing

Dani Shapiro on how the market is letting us down

In today’s LA Times, author Dani Shapiro laments the failure of the midlist. The emphasis is on publishing, not on creating. On being a writer, not on writing itself. The publishing industry — always the nerdy distant cousin of the rest of media — has the same blockbuster-or-bust mentality of television networks and movie studios. … Read More »

On backing off

This Christmas Santa brought a heart rate monitor. Putting the pointy-headed intricacies of heart-rate training aside for a moment, what the numbers showed me was that my normal workout pace is a hair’s breadth away from my normal quitting pace. Ask E, who trained with me most of last summer. Many of those workouts were … Read More »

A week of one’s own

The writing retreat was productive. Lots of people asked me about it, too. But from their questions, though, the meaning of “writing retreat” is cloudy. It’s not a conference. It’s not a communal affair at all. It was a learning experience–every foray into silence is–but there were no workshops, students, teachers, or classrooms. Here’s what … Read More »

Toni Morrison on post-Obama writing

We sometimes think of novels … as mere entertainment. The good ones are bodies of knowledge. From GalleyCat. By “post-Obama,” I think she means the age in which Internet has come into its own as a vehicle for social transformation. Thoughts?

When pathetic is good

At the conference, writers attended a two-minutes, two-pages workshop in which we read our first two pages aloud to a panel of agents. The agents listened as though they were reading the pages on submission, and would say, “Stop,” whenever they would normally have lost interest in the writing. Then they explained why. The number-one … Read More »