Rejections for Children

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Guest post by Bridget Lowe When I was nine years old I received, as unceremoniously as I’d come to expect later in life, my very first rejection: The magazine was Highlights for Children, the one you see in the waiting room of every dentist and pediatrician, stacked next to

What Is Your Ideal Space to Create?

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Guest post by Aimee Nezhukumatathil This is the first year since I started teaching at SUNY-Fredonia–nine years ago now–that I didn’t leave my house to go on a writing retreat (awarded or self-imposed). I have an office at home painted my favorite shade of robin’s-egg blue with red accents

Tigerella Needs a Home

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Guest post by Carol Keeley   In an email exchange with David Gates, Jonathan Lethem writes: Hey, David. As I was saying to my 2,472 friends the other day, these certainly are strange times in the history of the boundary between the human persons and the written words. He

Writing Underwater: Notes from a Mermaid/Mer-mom

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This week, we welcome our new Get Behind the Plough blogger, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, who contributed poetry to the Winter 2008-9 Ploughshares and is the author of two poetry collections published by Tupelo Press, At the Drive-In Volcano (2007) and Miracle Fruit (2003). Aimee, blogging on Mondays through August, replaces

Solvitur Ambulando

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Solvitur ambulando–a phrase that dates to Diogenes: “it is solved by walking.” If writers had a flag, this could be its inscription. Feeling stuck or distracted? Stressed, uninspired, rageful, confused? Go for a walk. For more than a quarter-century, Schopenhauer kept the same daily

Ernest Trova World

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Guest post by Bridget Lowe I have always lived in relationship to the objects around me, sharing an intimacy with inert matter that can yield both exhilarating and excruciating results–plastic and primary colors make me feel physically ill (especially in combination), while natural wood or perfectly faded paint can

Laughing into the Abyss

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson My parents went out of their way to warn me about A Serious Man, the most recent film by Joel and Ethan Coen. They’d seen it a week before I did, with several friends from their gated golf community in West Palm Beach, and

In the Spirit of Catherine of Siena

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Guest post by Carol Keeley I grew up in small town in Michigan with thick-armed trees and noble Victorians, lush farm produce, a turn of the century Opera House. It’s leafy, kind, conservative, and typically Midwestern but for the blessed Adrian Dominicans–a tribe of women I sorely wish were

The Art of Half-Hearted Hobbying

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson   A good friend of mine has a theory about the fundamental difference between poets and fiction writers: Poets have hobbies and fiction writers don’t. He happens to be a fiction writer and of course has no hobbies. As further evidence, he names another

The Conceit of Wisdom

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Garrison Keillor kicked the beehive with his recent death-of-publishing op-ed. The reaction was vigorously optimistic, with a little messenger-mocking. The backdrop to this volley was BookExpo America, widely described as funereal. As usual, I agree with everyone. Keillor is right that the era of