One of my writing professors once said that every story was a coming of age story– that there was really no other story that could be told. I think she was right. Even if a story isn’t about coming of age in the traditional sense, it is about learning, developing, and adapting. A coming of … Continue reading 4 Books for 20-Somethings Who Are Trying to Figure Things Out
Dave Egger’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a frenetic, darkly humorous, and tragic memoir, is a story about rebuilding. After both of his parents die when he is twenty-one, Dave is charged with caring for Toph, his precocious 7-year-old brother. He and Toph move to Berkeley where Dave starts a magazine and auditions for … Continue reading Secrets as Tools of Connection: Thoughts on Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
“Butt in chair,” experts say. Be persistent. But maybe you’re starting to hate your novel. You have dark, escapist thoughts. You’re not feeling particularly pure of heart, nor steadfast of butt. From “Novelists, You’re Doing it Right” on the Ploughshares blog by Rebecca Meacham. Continue reading Butt in Chair
Do you ever get the feeling that someone who doesn’t even know you is speaking directly to you? That’s the feeling I got when I watched Meg Jay’s TED Talk called “Why 30 is Not the New 20.” What she says in her talk is valuable for all ages– not just 20-somethings. Her message is … Continue reading On Becoming a Writer– plus, Cheryl Strayed.
MARTIN: You write in the book that the job of an editor is much like that of a therapist. That struck me. Are writers that fragile? MENAKER: Well, I think when they’re writers – when they’re actually acting as writers – they tend to be pretty transferential to their editors. You put yourself out on … Continue reading Are Writers Fragile?
In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard writes about stalking muskrats. As she relates, muskrats are particularly elusive creatures. After seeing a muskrat for the first time, she waits and watches for a second one, even though she feels like the muskrat sighting might have just been a stroke of luck: I began to look for … Continue reading You Must Just Have to Be There
“Working out the structure is the hardest part, because there are a thousand ways to tell a story. It’s sort of like putting together an 8,000-piece puzzle and there are 6,000 extra pieces and you’re not sure what the puzzle is supposed to look like until you’re halfway there.” -Allie Brosh in an interview with … Continue reading 6,000 Extra Pieces
“Go where the pain is… Go where the pleasure is.” -Anne Rice Continue reading Go Where The Pain Is
“We’re all born with 200 bad poems in us. This is statistically proven… And middle school and high school is a good time to get rid of those.” -Billy Collins on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me Continue reading 200 Bad Poems
“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the … Continue reading Making Life More Bearable