time Archive

Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth Isn’t Just for Suburban Moms’ Book Clubs

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I am so into Ann Patchett right now. Is it hip to be into Ann Patchett? Is it edgy? No. It’s book clubby. It’s suburban mommy. My book club of suburban moms met last night and discussed Commonwealth. When we chose it, we laughed a little about what an

Time and Opening Chapters: Gaining Trust

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing, Writing Advice No comments
Lately I’ve been thinking about time in novels. How to manipulate it, whether it should be linear or nonlinear, and what that choice means for a story. I began to examine it more closely after a recent weekend novel workshop I took with Lauren Grodstein.

Waiting to Write

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
Like any writer I dream of being awarded a life-altering grant or winning the state lottery, or at the very least, the heart of some word-loving benefactor, a silver-haired sugar mama or daddy who’ll rescue me from hard labor, no strings attached, simply for the satisfaction of seeing my

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries IV and V

This is the third installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here and here. ** Query IV: A notice of its mountains Query V: Its cascades and caverns I walked into Queries IV and V thinking Jefferson

The Best Poem I Read This Month: Sade Murphy’s “Entry 098 &/or Monday Night Before Thanksgiving or//Venus & Mars in Libra”

Author: | Categories: Poetry, Reading, Series No comments
Sade Murphy pauses time in her prose piece(s) “Entry 098 &/or Monday Night Before Thanksgiving or//Venus & Mars in Libra” in DREGINALD. A series of moments—walking down Grand Street, pivoting on Putnam, taking the bus to Greenpoint—become infused with back-and-forth switches of vision, allowing Murphy to double her text. This doubling

Clever Girl, Boyhood, and the Importance of Blank Spaces

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
One of the greatest challenges of writing a novel is choosing where to begin it. Choosing where to end it is also important (or so I’ve been told). But even once a writer makes those big decisions, the novel is fraught with similar choices at the micro level. Where

The Art of Time(lessness) in Reading

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Pacing, suspense, and flashbacks are just a few of the topics covered in The Art of Time in Fiction, Joan Silber’s insightful reference for writers who wish to better understand the technique of arranging time to narrative effect. Yet I am just as interested in the art of time

Blitz Writing: Writing When There is No Time

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 2 Comments
This time of year, many of my friends start looking for summer shares, beach houses, and too-good-to-be-true getaways. While they litter Pinterest with snapshots of cozy cottages within walking distance of the ocean, I drift away on a different flight of fancy: writing retreats and residencies. I pour over

Eulogy for the Phoenix

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If you don’t live within spitting distance of Boston, maybe you missed the sad news that the Boston Phoenix abruptly quit publication last month. This alternative newsweekly began in the heyday of the sixties, and quickly became the go-to source for more than just the other side of the story,

Roundup: Writer’s Block

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In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. This week we have posts on writer’s block. There’s a