Posts tagged "writing_life"

On Keeping a (Writing) Notebook (or Three)

In her essay “On Keeping a Notebook,” Joan Didion writes about the odd notes she has taken over the years – on conversations she has overheard (“That woman Estelle is partly the reason why George Sharp and I are separated today”), facts she has learned (“during 1964, 720 tons of soot fell on every square...

Becoming a Writer in Due Time

I recently found a line in my old journal that reads, “What I really want to do is get an MFA in creative writing.” I wrote this on April 25, 2000. More than fifteen years ago. At the time I had spent two exhausting years getting a single-subject credential to teach high school English, and...

What’s the Point? Five Writers Offer Lifelines for Post-MFA Despair

A weird thing happened the other day. A writer-friend contacted me to say that she felt lost and low and miserable about writing. What’s the point? she wrote. Why the hell am I doing this? In and of itself, the note wasn’t so strange. But consider this: I’ve gotten two other notes like it in the last month,...

Tipping the Whippers

A few years ago a story attributed to John Gardner found its way into the pages of the Writer’s Chronicle. It seems that a writer in New York City received a letter awarding him a free vacation in the Caribbean. All he had to do was show up at the pier to catch the ship...

The Necessity of Navel-Gazing

[Note: A concluding list, “The ABCs of Navel-Gazing,” is footnoted throughout the essay.] On January 6, 2009, I woke up with half a belly button.(1) That little scar from cutting the umbilical cord, a scar I usually don’t heed or notice or invoke, that cute little wrinkled indentation, was split right down the center on...