16 responses

  1. Adam
    September 14, 2022

    I find my own writing moving through these kinds of encounters. At first it was observational, and that was its own kind of thrill. Now, when I have the third kind, it feels transformational. It keeps me going!

    Reply

    • Rebecca McClanahan
      September 23, 2022

      Adam, it sounds like your subjects have abducted you. That’s wonderful!

      Reply

  2. Sarah Hollister
    September 16, 2022

    What a great essay. Scary in some way, especially the encounter of the 3rd kind but also inspiring.

    Reply

    • Rebecca McClanahan
      September 23, 2022

      Thanks so much, Sarah!

      Reply

  3. Elizabeth Jones
    September 16, 2022

    Thank you Rebecca for this amazing piece. You have articulated my encounters so well. I had never thought of my research and the absolute push of wanting to share my story in this light – but after taking in all you have shared, I realize I am aligned with the final encounter – of the third kind.

    I was lured by your title as the actual movie ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, has held a special place for me. I don’t actually feel there are aliens, but that movie displayed a driving force, a passion and I watched as Richard Dreyfuss, driven by this push that “refused to go away” fought on to reach his goal. Boy, and what a goal that was! I want to add, the culmination of that story was beautifully executed – in hope, warmth and pure magic.

    Thank you for your wonderful insight Rebecca x

    Reply

    • Rebecca McClanahan
      September 23, 2022

      I really appreciate your response, Elizbeth. Yes, research is part of these encounters!

      Reply

  4. Vandana
    September 19, 2022

    From the first tentative dating of an idea to its patient wooing and to deepening it into a meaningful piece of life, there are astonishing insights in this essay. I can read this piece again and again. Thank you, Rebecca.

    Reply

    • Rebecca McClanahan
      September 23, 2022

      Thank you so much, Vandana. I love your metaphor, too!

      Reply

  5. jessica handler
    September 21, 2022

    This, right here… “I keep checking the rear view mirror, and yes, there they are, asleep but still alive, still breathing.”

    Reply

    • Rebecca McClanahan
      September 23, 2022

      Thanks so much, Jessica. You know all about those living, breathing presences in our work!

      Reply

  6. Rebecca McClanahan
    September 23, 2022

    Thanks so much, all of you, for reading and responding.

    Reply

  7. Leslie Stainton
    September 25, 2022

    I almost want to take these three levels and paste them to my wall as a litmus test for the strength of any idea–how deep can I go with it? How much deeper? This is so beautifully conceived and structured–and so insightful a guide to reading, too. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Rebecca McClanahan
      December 26, 2022

      Thank you, Leslie. I’m so sorry to be late in responding. For some reason, I did not see your lovely note when it first came out! I hope your 2022 writing life goes deeper and deeper!

      Reply

  8. Bill Harrison
    December 21, 2022

    Rebecca, I just finished reading In the Key of New York City. As both a CNF writer and a born & bred New Yorker, I loved the book. I’m working on a book about my father, and, not wishing to fall into the standard “bad dad” trope, am searching for ways to get closer to some of the emotional truths I experienced in my relationship with him. Your framework of types of encounters is a great metaphor and one that I feel will help me get closer to the heart of my material. Thank you so very much.

    Reply

  9. Sanaz Bayat
    January 24, 2023

    Thank you so much for this thought-provoking essay. I’ve recently finished writing a story and reading this essay, I could see how my writing often moves through these encounters. I’m delighted to find something like a clear map of what happens with me and with my work during a writing process.

    Reply

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