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Showing posts from March, 2011

Creator and creations

It's one of those family stories.
My father, with two girls but no boys, being kidded by his brother-in-law, with four sons (and a daughter) in his family.
He answered, I'm told, that "it takes more skill to create what you don't know than to duplicate yourself."
That remark has stayed with me as a writer, because as parents to our fictional children, we both replicate our own experiences and pull in threads of all we have seen, known, encountered, read, remembered, overheard, and imagined. I've worked all along the spectrum, from newspaper reporter to writer of fantasy, and know how tough it is to thread the needle of plausibility, whether in trying to faithfully recreate the scene at a fatal traffic accident, or imagine the lives of people in the worlds of never-has-been.
In an argument about the nature of the novel today, David Shields writes, “There is the commonsensical assertion that while the novelist is engaged on a work of the creative imagination, the …

Trifecta

Image
What a St. Patrick's Day...
My senior seminar class for creative writing is held in a small library, and today a student asked to be allowed to stay there and read during the session. At the end, he asked, "What is this class," and we told him. Then he asked, "Can I come back and attend the class? It's so interesting!"
Yes, of course, we said. He won't get any course credit, but that didn't seem to matter.
Bless you, Andre - a moment like that can keep a teacher going for years. Better energy than uranium.
Then...
The first shipment of Blood Clay arrived....
Then...
I saw a flock of cedar waxwings down the street, wonderful to run into these nomads, so quickly present and gone, so quiet in their discussions as they fed.

Two weeks left for Sanchez/Baraka Poetry entries

The deadline date has been extended to April 1 (postmark) for the inaugural Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka Prize in Poetry at the North Carolina A&T State University Creative Writing Program. Packets must be received in-house no later than April 4.

On the anniversary of the A&T Four Greensboro Sit-in Movement and the onset of Black History Month, we celebrate the courageous legacy of African-American literary achievement by
honoring the legacies of two literary giants. Their literary works and personal life energies have
been spent in service to the uplifting of black people worldwide and to the struggle for freedom, justice and equality for all oppressed peoples. Their scholarship, activism, and poetry have reminded the world about the sacredness of human dignity and the need to preserve it. We
are looking for poetry that seeks to honor the spirit of this tradition.

The competition is open to writers without regard to geographical region or previous publication
background. Winners …

Writing and Art

A dozen writers - dozens of images, figurative and otherwise.
Add a couple of hours on a Thursday night and some inspiration from poets past - Rilke, Auden - and voila!
The Art After Dark program that I presented a couple of weeks ago at the Weatherspoon Gallery yielded a stunning crop of poems, early drafts that sparkled and glowed even before put to the polish.
Now three of those writers have posted their work here for others to enjoy.
I'll be looking forward to seeing more.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/03/06/1030135/wasps-inspire-stick-sculpture.html

This was amazing - if you're in the Greensboro area, visit the wasp nest-inspired installation on the Guilford College campus. Amazingly sturdy - with doors, windows, passages wide enough for a child - and the tops twisted into spires.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/03/06/1030135/wasps-inspire-stick-sculpture.html

Celestial navigation

The AWP Conference in Washington, D.C., last month (was it really a month ago?) gave me the opportunity to meet up with John Cochran, a fellow staffer at the News & Record during my time there, later reporter at the Congressional Quarterly.

We chatted about our novels-in-progress - not one but two for him! - over breakfast in the wonderful Omni Shoreham. A good bit of the conversation concerned that eternal problem for the writer: Is this any good?

Today he posted this great comment on Facebook: "I was talking to a friend and former boss not long ago about the difference between news writing and fiction writing. Here's how he put it: Daily journalism is like sailing around a harbor or a bay, within sight of land; fiction writing is like navigating in open waters with nothing but the stars and wind to guide you."

Such an apt analogy! News writing nearly always provides you with buoys and lighthouses and channel markers in abundance. We have information, know how to …

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