Showing posts from September, 2020

Thinking and Re-Thinking

I don't really like the colour orange. As an athlete and fan, I wore orange t-shirts and accessories, mostly without thinking. They were accepted and expected parts of my life. I don't mind coral, especially as Spring takes its own sweet time showing up and I'm tired of winter's browns, blues, and silvers. Peach, too. Back in the pre-pandemic days, coral toenail polish or a peachy scarf brightened April right up. But I can look sallow in orange. And I have such mixed feelings about many sports (athletes and head injuries, mostly) that I've ditched all but one of my orange t-shirts.  And then this time of year happens. Look! Turns out, I like orange. I really do. I surprised myself! I don't like it in all its versions. I'd still be careful about choosing to wear it. ( Orange Shirt Day is September 30 this year; I'll wear mine then! ) It got me thinking: what else about myself (or the world--but let's start small) could I wonder about? I've said I

Surprisingly Helpful: Prompts

What is it about writers, that they can be sooooo ooooooover the things that are good for them?  Just me? Oh.  Back in early August,  I wrote about #1000wordsofsummer , which I found surprisingly helpful in getting words down for a couple of projects and thinking through problems therein.  Today, let's talk prompts in a more general way. Last June, at the conference for the Creative Nonfiction Collective (insert standard "back when conferences/travel/gatherings were things" poignant aside here), I took a workshop with S. Lesley Buxton.* She gave the room full of writers a couple of writing exercises to do, and I found them extremely helpful, even with the performance anxiety of "freewriting in a room with other people." I thought, "Yes, people should do these things." Then I thought, "Hey. I'm a person. I should do stuff like this more often." Here's another example. In February, I wrote a Writer's Block column at All Lit Up , an

On Reverberations, Messes, and Running away to Join the Circus

An interview with me is live over at the blog for the Creative Nonfiction Collective , a Canadian organization supporting those writing creative nonfiction.  In it, I talk about many things. For example,   the whole enterprise of writing about Mom’s dementia felt like kind of a mess. I took manuscripts to a couple of workshops. Nobody knew what to say about the work, except that it wasn’t fun to read. It wasn’t much fun to live through, either.     Writing. Living. Waiting. Coffee shops. The inexpressibly high value of mentors. The differences, for me, between writing fiction and nonfiction. Many thanks to S. Lesley Buxton, an excellent writer and teacher, for her thoughtful and fun questions. And to the CNFC for supporting my growth as a writer. 

Worth Doing, Worth Reading

Recently, during the probably-too-much time I spend on Instagram, I've been looking at the kinds of things people read. It's interesting. Sort of like lurking in the bookstore watching what people pick up off the shelf.  Sometimes people post covers of books they just bought. Sometimes they're books they're just starting. Occasionally, they're books they've just read, and they Have Thoughts. Or they don't--they don't know what to make of the book. One phrase I've seen often, not only on Instgram but on blogs and even Goodreads: "an easy read." Sometimes "a quick read." This is apparently a Good Thing.  So I am of course going to talk about something else: the "read" that's "worth doing."  For example, the two books below. SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE, by Ijeoma Oluo, and THE OVERSTORY, by Richard Powers. Nonfiction and fiction. SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE is more immediately useful, in that it helps me