Caitlin O’Neil Archive

Reading Aloud: It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore

Author: | Categories: Writing 4 Comments
As I wrote in my last post, I’ve been reading a lot of children’s books lately, out loud to my daughter. (She doesn’t seem to hear them when I read silently.) It’s made me more conscious of how words and sentences flow together and has helped me streamline my

What You Can Learn About Writing from Children’s Books

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I’ve spent the last year and a half brushing up on reading that for the last three decades or so I’ve been neglecting. Since my daughter was born, I’ve been diving deep into the literary canon, paging through tens or hundreds (well, some days it feels like hundreds) of

Writing is Like Mixing a Drink

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Mixing a drink is seductive in a way writing will never be. The ice sweating in the glass. The chucka, chucka of the metal shaker growing cold in your hands. The invisible melding going on inside that shaker, alcohols blending to become something all together new. The nifty garnishes:

Riding In Cars With Words

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On long car rides with my father, you could count on hearing three questions: What kind of cow is that? What kind of roof is that? Is the moon waxing or waning? My answers were always as follows: a Holstein, a mansard, and waxing? (I never did work out which was which.)

Writing Is Like Baseball

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Every March my eyes turn south toward spring training. The sunburned announcers report from director’s chairs on games that don’t count. The players work on their autographs and perfect their sunflower seed spits. Teenagers called up from the lowercase “a” team —hardly more than little leaguers—pitch, bat, and field,

Writing is Like Cooking

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Today I decided to make roasted carrot soup, which got me thinking that writing and cooking are particularly ripe for comparison. At first glance, both seem easy. Buy these ingredients and prepare them, and voila, dinner.  Come up with a plot, write it out, and voila, novel. Both cooking

Writing is Like Walking

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Writing is a mysterious task. Unlike changing a tire or tying your shoelaces, there is no prescribed list of steps that must be undertaken to succeed. Which is why I often find myself comparing the act of writing to different daily activities. Writing is like cooking, cleaning, sleeping, vacuuming,

In-Flight Entertainment

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
In-Flight Entertainment Helen Simpson Alfred A. Knopf, February 2012 176 pages $24 This post was written by Caitlin O’Neil. Waiting for a Helen Simpson short story collection is like waiting for a teenager to open up; it’s going to be a while. Yet even though she puts out a