Trying to Write the Southern Accent

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman Confession: I used to hate forms that asked for your place of birth, because I had to write Gaffney, South Carolina–a city best known for its stucco outlet malls and peach-shaped water tower that some refer to as “the ass in the sky.”

Why I Fish Is Why I Write

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Guest post by Greg Schutz Because I enjoy fishing and have several tech-savvy friends who do as well, Google will every so often sift through the contents of my GMail inbox and offer me a targeted advertisement from PETA. “You wouldn’t impale a dog in the mouth,” the text

The Art of the Author Photograph

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman Every now and then, someone in the writing world wants to know what I look like, and put a picture of me next to my work. This is kind, and probably a great design principle, but it propels me into a spiral of

Of Stone Tools and Stargazing

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Guest post by Greg Schutz “Take control of your writing process,” I tell my students. “Be aware of the ways in which how you write affects what you write–and how well you write.”   And as my students look up at me–we’re in Composition I, Argumentative Writing, or Developmental

Being Published, and Then…

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Guest post by Fan Wu We’re all familiar with Anna Karenina’s famous opening: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It applies to authorship, too. All unpublished writers are alike–wanting to be published; each published writer is unhappy in his or her

The Lure of Nostalgia

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman “You can’t go […] back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time — back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” –

Your Misery, Your Morphia: Thoughts on Charles Baxter and “Spiritual” Fiction

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Guest post by Greg Schutz In “Gershwin’s Second Prelude,” the first story in Charles Baxter‘s first book, the 1984 collection Harmony of the World, the elderly piano instructor Madame Gutowski leans back to admonish Kate, her pupil. “Now listen,” she says. “You children think you are so new with

E-books? E-books!

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Guest post by Fan Wu Larry, a retired history professor and a friend, emailed me recently to recommend a book he was reading. “It’s a must-read. I’ll lend it to you after I finish it,” he wrote. Fifteen minutes later, he emailed again. “Sorry, cannot lend it. I forgot

Learning the Taste of Stone

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman Donald Hall is a thing of beauty. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak–seeing him speak–twice at Bennington. The second was in June 2009–six weeks after my first child was born, a week after attending my beloved mother-in-law, Anna’s, memorial service, and

Of Grape Gum and Glass Pens: Practicing Gratitude

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Guest post by Aimee Nezhukumatathil   And so we have come to the end of summer, Dear Reader. As Fall starts a slow creep here through Western New York, my stint as a blogger for Ploughshares is at its end. I’m so grateful you’ve checked in on me here