Maximum Capacity for the Writer

As I prepare to teach my first, full-length college-level fiction writing class, I think back on the writing advice that resonated with me over the years. I remember Mary Oliver’s advice: “Writing is like a date. Nothing happens if you don’t show up.” I remember the Willamette Writers Conference session where I grasped the subtleties […]

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10 Reasons to Win NaNoWriMo

“I’m doing National Novel Writing Month,” I tell my writing students. “It’s fun.” They give me the look I give my trainer when he talks about a “really fun triathlon.” It’s like that really fun diet where you eat nothing but chard. But it is fun, and thousands of people participate every year. The goal is to write […]

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On Writing the Serial Novel

I would never be so reductive as to say there were two kinds of writers. But there are two kinds of writers. Every agent website warms against the first kind. “Don’t,” they plead, “scribble out 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo, type ‘the end’ and send us your work without editing.” Today, however, I am interested in […]

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How Summer Rains

Aly For two years, this was what we had. I grew in my job. Diane studied and took classes. One night a week, we had each other. Whatever night it would be depended on my schedule, of course, because Diane always made time for me. That’s not to say that she was cloying or needy […]

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Any Given Sunday Dinner

Monroe, Illinois When Charlie Gehringer finally got married, he had long retired from the Major Leagues and had moved from the stronghold of the Tigers to Monroe, the garden of the uninterested. This lowly town in the crook of Illinois where the Ohio merged with the Mississippi was one he’d passed through a good deal […]

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Recently, my reading shelf has almost entirely included books that comment upon the duality of love and pain. The morning after my boyfriend left from visiting me in New York to return to Portland, I read this passage from Anne Carson’s Eros the Bittersweet on my morning commute at the very moment my train crested […]

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The Living Room

If I have any non-writer friends left by the end of November, I’ll be extra post-Thanksgiving grateful. As NaNoWriMo winds down, I find myself talking increasingly about the novel I’m writing this month, and its characters. I love a few of these characters more than any other ones I’ve written. I love the world that […]

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Bad Writing is Bad

Like just about every other artsy-fartsy, Millennial-generation dweeb in America, I’m currently participating in National Novel Writing Month – or NaNoWriMo.  For those unfamiliar with the concept, it’s pretty simple: participants spend the month of November writing a 50,000-word novel (which averages out to about 1,667 words per day).  The novel can be about whatever […]

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My Love for Lists

We PDXXers are besotted with writing and this preoccupation takes its hours and notebook pages (or, more likely, computer memory), and butt soreness from sitting so long (I’ve never quite mastered the art of biking and writing). Kait, Sarah, and I have especially lost our minds this month, for a little event called NaNoWriMo. I […]

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