Kurt Vonnegut was my writing hero. Anyone who could illustrate an a _ _ hole in a literary novel with an artfully drawn asterisk won my heart and admiration. I read every book he wrote, so I was popping at the seams when in the mid-80’s I had a chance to actually talk to him. Not an interview, not research for an article. Just a friendly chat.
Vonnegut gave a talk at Bucknell University where I was working in the Writing Center, and he wanted to see this thing called a Writing Center. His tour guide had taken a class from me, and he brought my hero to my doorstep. Vonnegut and I smoked cigarettes together (and I saved his Pall Mall butt). We talked about the way I work with writers and how helpful it is to get useful feedback.
The … Read More »
I have spent years trying to find perfection so that I can write: the perfect place, the perfect pen, the perfect keyboard, music, coffee, you name it. It has been fun, but these distractions are just that. I had to adopt a more pragmatic approach to drafting, revising, refining, and editing.
Get ’er done. Set goals and deadlines and meet them. If I waited for someone to set them, I won’t get much done. Not that many people are clamoring for the next issue of whatever I am writing.
Get together with other writers. Share my ideas, drafts, and polished writing to get feedback. Also, saying I will bring a piece to read means that I will finish it. I dislike embarrassing myself!
Send it out. Like trying to find perfection, we can all mess around with a written piece until we … Read More »
The cursor on my screen is not sliding along, uncovering words gracefully expressing great ideas. No. It isn’t moving. Blink…Blink…Blink. The weather is lovely, so maybe a gardening adventure will rejuvenate me. Cutting back the roses and spotting crocus and daffodils, that would be fun!….. But I have agreed to stay right here and work on any of three projects. I have been at this writing thing long enough to know that sometimes, I have to grab the muse by her long flowing gown and sit ‘er down. I will stay here because I have prepared for such moments.
My writing space is full of memories of those who inspire me to keep at it. The cover photo my son took of a great man whose life I wrote down. Gifts from students who believe in me. … Read More »