Tag Archives: writing

Welcome to the Literary Jungle

Several times a year I am the recipient of emails or phone calls from friends, colleagues, parents, or complete strangers in search of writing guidance. Often the messages begins, “Hello, my name is Barbra. My daughter wants to be a … Continue reading

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The Power of An Author Who Can Share Her Insides

At least sixteen years ago, maybe more, I read Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation and saw myself. These days, it’s de rigueur to dismiss Wurtzel as a chaotic, self-involved mess. But back then, after receiving a diagnosis of chronic depression with bipolar tendencies, I ate … Continue reading

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Back to School Special: Thoughtful Imitation

I didn’t study creative writing as an undergraduate; it wasn’t an option. When I enrolled in the MFA program at University of Washington, what I craved more than workshop (which I’d experienced a few times in continuing education settings) was … Continue reading

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Writers Do It Best: Robin McCarthy

In the ‘Writers Do It Best’ series, contributors reflect on how their education and experiences as writers have uniquely prepared them for their lives outside the writing world. Today, we hear from Robin McCarthy, an MFA student studying fiction at … Continue reading

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An MFA for the Rest of Us

I’m in that small and shrinking group of writers who don’t have MFAs. Which I think makes me uniquely qualified to start my own MFA program. Haven’t most education reformers come from outside the system? My program will, for starters, … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round Down: 10 Times in Life When Writers Have the Upper Hand

I’ve interviewed a lot of entry level job candidates. I’ve had plenty of recent college graduates sent to a conference room to meet me with a strong thumbs-up from Human Resources. Bright, well-dressed, great resumes, and eager. This impresses the … Continue reading

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The New Generation of Gay Latino Poets

Some scholars say that Queer Latina/o writing is fast becoming a major core of the Latina/o literary canon. I say it’s the future of the canon altogether, with some of the most exciting, intelligent, and provocative American writing coming from … Continue reading

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No Shoes, No Shirt, No Fiction: Let’s Get Out of the Restaurant

“I need to tell you something,” he said. He twirled his spaghetti around his fork. She sipped her wine. “What is it?” “Well.” He shoved the tangle of spaghetti in his mouth and chewed. She fiddled with her spoon. Suddenly, … Continue reading

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Retelling Tales: A Writer’s Guide

So much of modern cinema and fiction revolves around the anti-hero and the sympathetic villain. Our culture seems to need our protagonists to be damaged or troubled in some way. It’s as if in some grand pursuit of Nietzsche’s rejection … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Labels, Action, and Confidence

A couple weeks ago, author and marketer Ryan Holiday wrote a piece for Thought Catalog titled, “Can You Call Yourself a Writer?” In it, he argues that “[j]ust because you have done something, doesn’t mean you are something.” In other words, calling yourself … Continue reading

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