self-help Archive

Lying as survival: the literary pep talk

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Has a young child ever asked you to watch him run? Are you ready? he asks, and then the same intense eyes that one tries to remember a dream with. Then his arms start pumping at a speed that must seem lightning-fast to his own mind but really looks

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Stop Chasing “Childlike Creativity”

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Earlier this month I got to spend a week leading creative writing workshops with children in the foster system, some of them as young as six-years-old. And while many of you work with six-year-olds all the time, I usually teach college students or teenagers in jail. This was challenging, hilarious, and loud. My friends

Book Recommendations for All You Budding Freelance Writer Entrepreneur-Types

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This past winter has been a hellishly bleak and frigid ice-scape, filled with dark mornings, dark nights, burst steam pipes, and broken furnaces. And frankly, it’s been hard to get myself motivated to do the work people are paying me for, let alone the personal projects that will someday

Book Recommendations for Those Looking to Transform Their Lives

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It’s late February, the time by which most New Year’s resolutions slowly fizzle out and die—assuming they didn’t already crash and burn weeks ago. What!? Me, cynical? Heck no! In fact, I used to be so addicted to the idea of self-transformation that I actually ran a blog called

Self-Help Seduction

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There are certain books we all hide. You know them. The ones purchased late at night when no one we know is in the bookstore. Or better yet, ordered from Amazon for further anonymity. These are books we don’t want anyone to know we read, certainly not our literary

Feminism In An Old-school Marriage Manual

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Bless her heart. That’s what people say in my southern neck of the woods to be half genuine, half patronizing. And that’s exactly what I want to say about Blanche Ebbutt, author of Don’ts for Husbands and Don’ts for Wives, pocket-sized self-help books originally published in England in 1913.