Thought for the day

“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.” ~Vita Sackville-West

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The truth

I had to do something unpleasant yesterday: email an editor of a literary magazine where I’d had an essay accepted and tell her I had discovered a factual error in my piece. The journal is due out in only a few weeks, and the error was very minor (a timing issue–something that happened in 1962 instead of 1960 in my husband’s family) but I felt it was necessary to notify them. I was out for a walk when I sent the email. I was very nervous about it; what if they were angry? What if they decided to pull the piece? I didn’t really think that could happen, but I just wasn’t sure. Lucky for me, it all worked out fine; the editor emailed me back and told me, in a nutshell, that they didn’t really care. There’s a lot of flap right now in the writing community about what defines creative non-fiction and just where the line between truth and fiction lies. I adhere to the line that Lee Gutkind, founder of Creative Non-fiction, draws: you can’t make this stuff up. My integrity as a writer is very important to me. I want to be as honest as possible…

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Writing about the personal

I went to a recital given by my piano teacher and her students a few nights ago (I didn’t play…too many months off after having a baby) and got to chat with another adult student. She mentioned that her husband writes poetry and we got to chatting about writing; she asked me what I wrote, and I told her personal essays. She wanted to read what I’ve written, and this is the first time I’ve had someone I know (outside of my writing group and a couple friends) ask to read my work. She wanted to know what I wrote about, and I told her “intimate personal matters.” Writing personal essays that are honest (and sometimes painful) is a strange conundrum: I want my work to be published, yet I never think about who might read it when I’m writing or submitting to journals. It’s actually easy to forget I’m writing about real people. This past spring, I withdrew an essay from a journal after it had been accepted because I realized it would be devastating for the family member I’d written about to read. It revealed family secrets that this family member is unaware of and will likely never…

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Hello!

Hello everyone! Welcome to my new blog! I’m still sort of figuring this stuff out; trying to design one’s own website is not for the faint of heart. But I hope to have it all up and running by the end of the summer, and by then, I’ll start inviting people to read. Thank you for coming here, and I hope to have more soon!  

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