Did you know the list is a legit narrative nonfiction form? Yep, and it's ancient. McSweeney's did not invent the list. Around the first day of the first month of Noah’s 601st year, as the ground was drying out, a writer in Sumeria (now southern Iraq) carved wedge-shaped letters into stone tablets, composing a work of wisdom scholars consider to be . . .
1. Collage, fragmented, montage, segmented, lyric, sectioned: a mosaic by any other name was still a thorn in my flesh. The first mosaic I ever tried to write amounted to little more than a clumsy knockoff of a Richard Rodriguez essay assigned in my first MFA nonfiction workshop. 2. Three years later, I tried again. … Continue reading Wrangling An Elusive Essay Form: Mosaic
"Sin is not the adult bookstore on the corner. It is the hard heart, the lack of generosity, and all the isms, racism and sexism and so forth. But is there a crack where a ribbon of light might get in, might sneak past all the roadblocks and piles of stones, mental and emotional and … Continue reading A Gem from Help, Thanks, Wow: A Word About Heart Armor
I'm no Alexander Chee, and by comparison my brushes with achievement are mere crayon self-portraits on the fridge. Chee's are more Matisse in the MoMA, with categories such as "Best of Me on NPR" and "Best idea I had in public where people could hear it." You know that whole Amtrak residency thing? Yeah, that was Alexander Chee's idea. My big … Continue reading Inspired by Koreanish, My Year in Review: 2014
"Creative nonfiction is a gloriously flexible genre. What we don't know or can't know doesn't have to wreck our writing. Instead, what seemed at first to be only an empty space can be an opportunity to shape and expand a narrative, exploring the gaps and writing our way through the myths." -Jessica Handler, author of … Continue reading Creative Nonfiction, Gumby of Literary Genres
"...resist the temptation to post those 'gotcha' comments online, pouncing on every its for it's. While you're busy fussing, you're failing to read for knowledge, inspiration, or pleasure."
When a blockage or spasm in one or more of your coronary arteries stops allowing freshly oxygenated blood to feed your heart muscle, a heart attack can happen. The faster that you can access emergency treatment to address that culprit artery, the better your chance of survival. The period of time between your first symptoms and actively getting the help you need can be divided into three phases:
- decision time – the period from the first onset of acute symptoms to the decision to seek care (for example, calling 911)
- transport time – the period from the decision to seek care to arrival at the Emergency Department
- therapy time – the period from arrival at the Emergency Department to the start of medical treatment
Only the first phase is the one you have complete control over. So don’t blow it.
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As you emerge from your food coma I present the lovely and talented Annie Sullivan as my first guest blogger since Eliza Tudor shared her wisdom on navigating a writer's life after the MFA. [Thanks, Annie!]
Living on pins, needles these past months since Surviving a second heart attack in eleven years I'm finally Beginning to relax, Feeling better, better than back to normal, lighter, back to Working at my Marketing job for a Publishing company, which isn't all that creative but freed me to reserve my creative energies for Digging into deep thesis revisions, finally … Continue reading Be Thanking
As I've mentioned before, being a mom to this particular son* is a gas—and always educational. This morning I decided to visit him in his room before he fully woke up and remembered his mother irritates him to no end. He rewarded me by reading aloud, in Latin and then English, selections from "Which Way to … Continue reading Which Way to the Vomitorium?
I’m re-blogging this wisdom list as a reaction to the commenter who called it “atrocious advice,” whom I would redirect to Sara Finnerty’s point #2. xo
A guest post from Sara Finnerty:
In the years after I got my MFA I was a miserable mess. I felt like a failure as a writer and a human being. I still feel that way sometimes, but now I try and fail and try again and I know that does not mean I am a failure, it only means I am a person like everyone else. If I could, here are some things I would tell my self six years ago when I was finishing graduate school.
1) Don’t even try to get published. There are some people in your class who will stop writing altogether. There are some who will only tangentially write. You will never stop writing, but don’t try to publish right now because your writing is still borderline terrible. Yes, you have an MFA but an MFA does not give you the heart, the will, the…
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